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Recent Policy Studies
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Paul Bachman, Beacon Hill InstitutePolicy Study, 10/29/2010
Massachusetts joins many other states in the dash to achieve a green energy future. The state has laid out a roadmap to achieve this goal that is filled with aggressive renewable energy and efficiency mandates, programs and incentives. However, renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and biomass are much more expensive to electricity ratepayers than conventional sources of energy derived from fossil fuels. The costs of the mandates, programs and incentives are already embedded in our monthly electric bills. In the next ten years, as the mandates begin increasing, these costs will soar. Electric utilities will have no choice but to pass costs onto their customers, the citizens and businesses of the Commonwealth.
Budget & TaxationBy Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, Wisconsin Policy Research InstituteRefocus Wisconsin, 10/29/2010
At a time when Wisconsin families are enduring financial uncertainty and we are reconciling ourselves to a new, more austere reality, Wisconsin’s public pension system seems extravagant and more than a little unfair. The public is ready for change. At a minimum, employees should begin to pay for part of the cost of their own pensions like everyone else. This would yield real savings—as much as $619 million per year—for state and local governments. Beyond that, our next governor has to take a serious look under the hood of Wisconsin’s pension system and address some fundamental questions about benefit levels and retirement age.
Economic GrowthBy Stephen Goldsmith, Jayson White, Ryan Streeter, Wisconsin Policy Research InstituteRefocus Wisconsin, 10/29/2010
We have entered a new era of big, muscular government. Political leaders believe that no problem is too complex or too costly for government to address. Citizens, now more accepting of government’s rapidly expanding mission, have come to expect far more from the state than they are willing to pay. As a result, the ability of government to execute its core tasks efficiently, alongside the size of public debt, threatens to compromise the quality of life and America’s future prosperity in a fundamental way. An opportunity exists for state and local governments to take the lead in constructing a comprehensive approach to government innovation.
Budget & TaxationBy Brian Riedl, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 10/28/2010
Federal spending is on an unsustainable path that risks disaster for America. Runaway spending has increased annual federal budget deficits to unprecedented levels, adding $2.7 trillion to the national debt in the past two years alone. Each year’s huge federal deficit increases the mountain of national debt borrowed from future generations of Americans. Congress needs to cut federal spending sharply and quickly. Governing involves difficult choices, and Congress simply cannot continue to court long-term disaster for all merely to avoid short-term difficulties for some.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy John R. Bolton, American Enterprise InstituteNational Security Outlook, 10/28/2010
In recent years, there has perhaps been more commentary in the United States that is critical of the United Nations than ever before. Criticism has grown for many reasons: the Security Council’s failure to take its own resolutions seriously, especially in the face of Saddam Hussein’s defiance; the Oil-for-Food scandal; the endless efforts to “norm” the United States into compliance with a liberal agenda that could not achieve a majority within our own democratic system; and international officials who seem to think that UN member governments work for them instead of the other way around. Whatever the reasons, and they are many, the growing criticism has raised the attendant question: what do we plan to do about it?
Budget & TaxationBy Scott Niederjohn, Wisconsin Policy Research InstituteRefocus Wisconsin, 10/28/2010
Wisconsin’s public school districts are trapped in a dated system of providing health insurance benefits for their teachers. The health insurance market for Wisconsin school districts is dominated by the Wisconsin Education Association Insurance Corporation. WEAIC writes the insurance plans for over 64 percent of Wisconsin school districts. This paper shows that it charges more for health insurance coverage than alternative carriers. Reform that would foster competition in the market for teachers’ health insurance would serve the interests of Wisconsin’s taxpayers and teachers.
Budget & TaxationBy Christian Schneider, George Lightbourn, Wisconsin Policy Research InstituteRefocus Wisconsin, 10/28/2010
In an almost macabre sense, there is likely to be resistance to changing the way budgets are constructed. Yet, now is the moment to change the system, to bring more predictability and certainty into the process, to make the state budget something on which all Wisconsinites can depend. It will require a good deal of innovative thinking, flexibility and statesmanship to develop the long-range fiscal plan that will spell an end to budgets riddled with debt, deficits and uncertainty. No changes of this magnitude have been made for several decades. The opportunity for reform is clear. The peril to Wisconsin comes if these issues are not addressed.
Budget & TaxationBy Richard G. Chandler, Wisconsin Policy Research InstituteRefocus Wisconsin, 10/28/2010
Wisconsin policymakers should be considering every possible option to improve the state’s business climate, create jobs, and accelerate economic growth. One component of this should be a review of our tax mix, with reductions in the overall tax burden when possible, and adjustments to our tax mix to optimize growth. At whatever level of tax collections Wisconsin chooses, a tax mix that would collect less from personal income and property taxes and more from sales taxes would simply be better. It makes sound policy sense because it reduces taxes on earnings and savings. It would help in marketing the state to workers and businesses, who strongly dislike high personal income and property taxes, and would help combat Wisconsin’s “tax hell” reputation.
Retirement/Social SecurityBy Andrew G. Biggs, American Enterprise InstituteRetirement Policy Outlook, 10/28/2010
Increasing the Social Security Earliest Eligibility Age, while of small importance to Social Security’s finances, could significantly increase retirement incomes while boosting the economy and federal tax revenues. Some individuals could not work longer due to poor health, but the health status of older Americans has improved significantly while the physical demands of work have declined. The evidence indicates that most Americans could work longer and would benefit from doing so.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Christopher Horner, Capital Research CenterGreen Watch, 10/28/2010
Thanks to the Sierra Club and its allies, during the last three years the U.S. has constructed fewer facilities that expand the capacity of proven energy sources—coal, natural gas, and nuclear power—than we have facilities for unreliable “renewable” energy sources like wind and solar that require coal, gas or nuclear plants to back them up. In the meantime major U.S. competitors like China are busy installing coal, gas, oil and nuclear power plants to produce the energy resources they need.
LaborBy F. Vincent Vernuccio, Capital Research CenterLabor Watch, 10/28/2010
Get ready to give some of your hard-earned cash – again – to the cronies of Congress who are pushing for yet another bailout. Two bills in Congress propose using taxpayer dollars to bailout private union pension funds. If either one becomes law, Congress for the first time will allow the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation to use public funds – the money you earn and pay to the government – to shore up horribly mismanaged union pension plans.
Regulation & DeregulationBy James Gattuso, Diane Katz, Stephen Keen, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 10/28/2010
The burden of regulation on Americans increased at an alarming rate in fiscal year 2010. Based on data from the Government Accountability Office, an unprecedented 43 major new regulations were imposed by Washington. And based on reports from government regulators themselves, the total cost of these rules topped $26.5 billion, far more than any other year for which records are available. These costs will affect Americans in many ways, raising the price of the cars they buy and the food they eat, while destroying an untold number of jobs.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Jeff Rowes, Institute for JusticeCity Studies, 10/28/2010
Newark faces enormous challenges in good times, but the need to promote economic liberty is even more urgent in today’s economic climate. The fundamental problem with the culture of Newark is that it is government-oriented, top-down and hostile to most grassroots entrepreneurs who are just trying to make it. Mayor Booker should use his innovative approach in education and fighting crime and corruption to unleash the creativity and prosperity of Newark entrepreneurs. Strip away the bureaucracy, make city government responsive to ordinary entrepreneurs, and allow people to make decisions for themselves.
Regulation & Deregulation
Unhappy Days for Milwaukee Entrepreneurs: Brew City Regulations Make it Hard for Businesses to Achieve the High LifeBy Jason Adkins, Institute for JusticeCity Studies, 10/28/2010
Milwaukee, nicknamed the Cream City, is the commercial center of Wisconsin, the Dairy State. But layers of red tape are making it difficult for the cream of Milwaukee’s entrepreneurs to rise to the top. The city government imposes a complex maze of regulations that prevent many businesses from ever getting started. Even failed businesses cannot escape the regulatory grip of city officials. At anytime—but especially in tough economic times—the government must get out of the way so that businesses can succeed.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Michael Bindas, Institute for JusticeCity Studies, 10/27/2010
Los Angeles has a reputation as a city where big dreams can come true—where you can not only get ahead, but make your fortune, as well. Although that reputation maybe deserved with respect to actors, athletes and celebutantes, it holds little truth for the overwhelming majority of folks who are just trying to earn an honest living and support their families as entrepreneurs. Transforming Los Angeles into a city that truly respects and encourages entrepreneurship will take a lot of reforming—of the laws on the books, the procedures followed by government agencies and the culture of the local bureaucracy.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Paul Sherman, Institute for JusticeCity Studies, 10/27/2010
To the millions of tourists who flock there each year, Miami is a tropical paradise. But, for thousands of entrepreneurs, life in Miami is anything but sunny. Although these are difficult economic times for entrepreneurs everywhere, times are especially tough in the Magic City. One survey of the 50 most populous cities in the United States recently placed Miami dead last in terms of job prospects, with nine people unemployed for every job posting. In times like these, the governments should not be standing in the way of people who just want to earn an honest living. But that is exactly what it is doing with the complex web of regulations, red tape and bureaucracy faced by Miami entrepreneurs.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Wesley Hottot, Institute for JusticeCity Studies, 10/27/2010
Houston has a proud history of fostering entrepreneurship. As the city has taken its place as one of America’s great cities, however, it has adopted some of the worst traditions of American municipal government—erecting barriers to entrepreneurship based on vague notions of “beautification” and protection of existing industries. With a new mayoral administration, Houston now has an opportunity to reaffirm its commitment to being an opportunity city.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Elizabeth Milnikel, Emily Satterthwaite, Institute for JusticeCity Studies, 10/27/2010
Especially in such tough economic times, people may be shocked to discover the lengths to which the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois go to discourage entrepreneurs who seek to create jobs for themselves and others. This report examines government-created barriers in industries that have traditionally provided a better way of life for the economically disenfranchised. Economic liberty—the right to pursue an honest living without arbitrary government interference—must be respected by governments at every level.
Health CareBy Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Analysis, Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy AlternativesPolicy Points, 10/27/2010
Before enacting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said Congress had to pass the bill before we’d find out what’s in it. States are moving reform measures to mitigate the negative effects of Obamacare. Sadly, it’s worse than even we thought. States are moving reform measures to mitigate the negative effects of Obamacare. The constitutionality of the individual mandate is being challenged by 20 states filing lawsuits, and 37 states have introduced or enacted resolutions to advance “health care freedom.” And many members of Congress have pledged to repeal the new law.
EducationBy Herbert J. Walberg, Marc Oestreich, Heartland InstitutePolicy Study, 10/27/2010
A Nation at Risk pointed out more than 25 years ago that the poor quality of public schools in the United States is a threat to the continuing prosperity of the country. Despite substantially increased spending and many reforms, the failure of today’s school system to provide a quality education for all students poses an even greater threat to the nation. This report brings the information together and uses it to grade the states according to learning progress, progress in relation to spending, and state standards.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Jay Lehr, Heartland InstitutePolicy Study, 10/27/2010
It is clear that with the deep roots of the global warming scare it is not about to go away. It has the added advantage of not being able to be proven false in our life time. In the mean time the sanest course for us would be to gain what limited perspective we can (remembering the global cooling alarm of a generation ago) and proceed cautiously. We are going through a scare with many causes, and we need to step back from it, take a long second look at the scientific evidence, and not do anything rash.
Regulation & Deregulation
Costs and Consequences: Rate-of-Return Biases, Rate Suppression, and Market Incentives for Quality in Property/Casualty Insurance RegulationBy Benjamin Zycher, Pacific Research InstitutePRI Study, 10/27/2010
The imposition of legal and regulatory constraints on market prices–price controls, or rate suppression in the case of the property/casualty insurance market–is an important tool with which public officials can effect wealth transfers among groups and economic sectors. At the same time, regulatory efforts to suppress rates and otherwise to constrain the operation of competitive market forces in the insurance sector are likely to yield consequences increasing costs and reducing consumer welfare. Such regulatory policies are analogous to a tax imposed upon the market, which must be borne by someone.
EducationBy Allegheny Institute, Allegheny Institute for Public PolicyPolicy Brief, 10/27/2010
Pittsburgh Public Schools have seen yet another enrollment decline continuing a trend dating back over a decade. As enrollment continues its downward slide, costs per student remain very high. For the current year, the District’s 2010 general fund budget of $525.4 million translates to $20,745 per pupil for the 25,326 students who remain in the District’s schools. That is a tremendous amount of taxpayer money for an underachieving system that is hemorrhaging students despite the promise of college funding.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy William Yeatman, Amy Oliver Cooke, Competitive Enterprise InstituteOn Point, 10/27/2010
The Colorado Public Utilities Commission, Xcel Energy, and Governor Bill Ritter colluded to fast track the misnamed Clean Air Clean Jobs Act, which effectively mandates coal-fired power plants to switch to natural gas. The trio essentially duped law makers into hasty passage of this bill. They warned legislators that the federal Environmental Protection Agency would crack down on Colorado coal power with the Clean Air Act. But that was really a bogeyman meant to frighten lawmakers. While it is true that President Barack Obama’s EPA is hostile to coal-generated energy, the governor and the PUC grossly exaggerated the regulatory threat in order to advance their agenda, and Xcel went along with the ruse.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Nicolas Loris, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 10/27/2010
Recent revelations of erroneous and misleading data in the report have led many to question the wisdom of government-mandated emissions caps and costly energy-efficiency regulations. Instead of basing policy on a “scientific consensus” that is neither scientific nor agreed-upon, Congress should eliminate subsidies and reduce regulatory red tape—and let all energy technologies succeed or fail on their own merits. Artificially propping up a select few distorts the market and hurts American businesses—which means that the final bearers of the costs are, as usual, the taxpayers.
Competitive Grant Making and Education Reform: Assessing Race to the Top’s Current Impact and Future ProspectsBy Paul Manna, American Enterprise InstituteEducation Stimulus Watch, 10/27/2010
Race to the Top has been widely praised across the political spectrum and remains one of the administration’s most lauded policy initiatives. At the same time, it has been criticized for the design and scoring of the competition, the quality and results of the judging, and its ultimate impact on the shape of schooling. Despite all this, there is remarkably little analysis to date that spells out what we have learned from this program. Indeed, while RTT was exceptional in the annals of K–12 schooling, it is far less exceptional when considered alongside other federal competitive grant programs. Seen in that light, it clearly has both strengths and weaknesses.
Budget & TaxationBy Nile Gardiner, Theodore Bromund, J.D. Foster, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 10/27/2010
The British government’s spending review offers important lessons for the United States, both good and bad. The United Kingdom’s aggressive plan, which calls for cuts to many government programs, offers a strong model for America to follow. Indeed, Washington will need to be equally aggressive and even more comprehensive to get federal spending under control, with one exception—defense spending. Defense spending is true mandatory spending as it is driven by each country’s respective need to address existing and emerging security threats, none of which are abating.
Economic GrowthBy Kim Eric Bettcher, et al., Center for International Private EnterprisePolitical Report, 10/27/2010
Getting governance right means reforming public policy systems to support freedom and participation in government and markets alike. In democratic and entrepreneurial societies, governance mechanisms encourage citizen initiative and healthful dialogue on policy. Giving the private sector a voice in democratic dialogue promotes the emergence of internationally competitive economies as well as access to opportunity for all citizens. This is the essence of democracy that delivers.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy Matthew Vadum, Capital Research CenterOrganization Trends, 10/26/2010
Like a zombie in a horror movie, ACORN is alive! The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now staged an elaborate prank on April Fool’s Day by pretending to die. That’s when chief organizer Bertha Lewis said the group planned to dissolve its national structure. But ACORN remains in business and Lewis continues to send out direct mail solicitations for funds. While ACORN currently operates below the radar, it plans to resurface under a new name after the upcoming elections.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy Scott W. Gaylord, Federalist SocietyWhite Paper, 10/26/2010
North Carolina courts, like state courts across the country, decide hundreds of cases each year that affect the lives, property, and businesses of its citizens in myriad ways—criminal cases, domestic violence actions, contract claims, business disputes, challenges to education funding, violations of the free speech and religion clauses, and everything in between. Since 1868, North Carolina has relied on the people to oblige the judiciary to control itself, and before amending our constitution to change that system, North Carolinians should have a thoughtful and informed dialogue that examines whether the alleged problems with campaign expenditures would be replaced by the problems that may flow from political patronage.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Richard A. Epstein, Manhattan InstituteReport, 10/26/2010
For very long periods of time, an insistent set of social norms supplied the main incentive for persons in positions of trust to discharge their duties. The body of law dealing with these issues was never small; but it was never all-pervasive. In the areas of medicine and drug development, for example, the law books always contained scattered judicial decisions and administrative regulations that tackled the conflict-of-interest problem. But it is only in the last generation or so that the regulation of conflicts of interest has turned into a regulatory growth area.
Health CareBy John E. Calfee, American Enterprise InstituteHealth Policy Outlook, 10/26/2010
Instead of grandstanding on drug prices, American Association of Retired Persons should help legislators and others maintain a sound understanding of true price dynamics. The easiest way to do that would be for future AARP reports to accurately state what has happened to drug prices in recent years. Those reports should factor in generic prices where applicable so that the average prices reported reflect the realities of the marketplace. The result would be drug price reports that make sense instead of causing mischief.
Budget & TaxationBy Kail Padgitt, Tax FoundationBackgrounder, 10/26/2010
The purpose of the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index is to aid business leaders and government policymakers in their determination of whether a state’s tax system enhances or harms the competitiveness of the state’s business environment. States that score poorly can use the Index to pinpoint the improvements that would enhance their competitiveness the most. In a highly competitive global market, states need to make their tax systems friendly to business in order to facilitate the expansion and growth of business. A simple tax system that is fair to all businesses is the best way for states to have a competitive business tax climate.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Alex J. Pollock, Reason FoundationReason, 10/26/2010
The ongoing, unlimited bailout of the government sponsored entities will hit the taxpayers for much more than the $150 billion cost of the notorious savings and loan collapse of the 1980s. It is obviously difficult for Fannie and Freddie’s longtime political supporters to admit that the government sponsored entities were a massive blunder. But that is now undeniable. The failure of Fannie and Freddie creates a perfect opportunity to restructure these hybrids, leaving no government-sponsored enterprise behind.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Steven Horwitz, William Luther, Mercatus CenterWorking Paper, 10/26/2010
Modern macroeconomists in the Austrian tradition can be divided into two groups: Rothbardians and monetary equilibrium theorists. It is from this latter perspective that we consider the events of the last few years. We argue that the primary source of business fluctuation is monetary disequilibrium. Additionally, we claim that unnecessary intervention in the banking sector distorted incentives, nearly resulting in the collapse of the financial system, and that policies enacted to remedy the recession and financial instability have likely made things worse.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Ben Lieberman, Competitive Enterprise InstituteOn Point, 10/26/2010
Much of the Obama administration’s “clean energy economy” and “energy independence” agenda is a virtual repeat of the follies of the 1970s. Back then, failed attempts by Washington to pick winners and losers among alternative energy sources and energy-using technologies led to taxes, regulations, and subsidies that exacerbated the very concerns they were supposed to address. This decades-old lesson may be lost on younger politicians, bureaucrats, and activists who may be unaware that their energy policy ideas are proven failures from the age of disco.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Ariel Cohen, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 10/26/2010
The Obama Administration’s Russia policy will inevitably produce a massive loss of American influence in Eurasia and jeopardize the security of the U.S. and its friends and allies east of the Oder. Jeopardizing allies while empowering strategic competitors does not equal safety. The Obama Administration should recognize that the U.S.–Russia reset is happening only in the areas where Russia sees clear national interests or where the U.S. is offering big paybacks, such as in the post-Soviet republics. The U.S. should review its policies concerning Russia and the post-Soviet republics based on a realistic assessment of Russia’s intention and actions while giving top priority to American national interests.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Anthony Randazzo, Reason FoundationPolicy Brief, 10/26/2010
The government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were significant contributors to the build-up of the housing bubble. Yet, virtually no substantive action has been taken to reform them. This delay, continuing a model that has been proven to be both bad business and problematic for the broader housing sector, is distorting the market and preventing a real recovery in housing. The government sponsored entities must be reformed as soon as possible, as a part of a sweeping overhaul of the housing finance system.
Budget & TaxationBy Joseph Henchman, Tax FoundationSpecial Report, 10/26/2010
Washington State is currently one of seven states with no state income tax, but that may change on November 2 when voters decide Iniatiative 1098. That measure would introduce an income tax on high-earners at a rate of 5% on income over $200,000 ($400,000 for couples) and 9% on income over $500,000 ($1 million for couples). If Initiative 1098 passes, it is likely to face serious constitutional challenge.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy J.D. Foster, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 10/26/2010
Quantitative easing is a largely experimental tool employed by the Federal Reserve to address a continuing sluggish economy and the renewed potential of deflation. That the Fed faces this prospect is final proof positive that President Barack Obama’s Keynesian stimulus policies have failed, leaving monetary policy as the sole remaining major stimulus tool. The risks associated with quantitative easing are substantial, including that it will fail, or will trigger a resurgence of inflation with or without a pickup in output growth.
Budget & TaxationBy Russell Sobel, George R. Crowle, Mercatus CenterMercatus on Policy, 10/25/2010
Nobel laureate economist Milton Freidman once quipped, “Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.” Indeed, once created, government programs remain long after the precipitating event has passed. State programs created by federal grants like the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are no exception. Even when the federal funding runs out, the programs remain—states simply fund them through increased state taxes. In fact, state and local taxes increase roughly 40 cents for every dollar in federal grant money received in prior years.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy Ernest Istook, Michael Franc, Matthew Spalding, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 10/25/2010
Immediately after the congressional elections of November 2, new Members and re-elected Members of both parties will gather to meet (caucus) and vote on new leaders and enact internal party rules. Long before the House adopts its formal rules in January, these internal party rules will determine the allocation of power within Congress between leadership, committee and subcommittee chairmen, and rank-and-file Members. We recommend reforms of both parties’ internal caucus rules in order to reverse the decades-long trend whereby House leaders have acquired enormous power at the expense of rank-and-file Members.
ImmigrationBy Jon Feere, Center for Immigration StudiesBackgrounder, 10/25/2010
Because the legislative history is not decisive and there is no Supreme Court precedent, serious legal scholars and eminent jurists have argued that Congress should uses its inherent authority to define the scope of birthright citizenship. Congress can use the hearing process to promote a calm, informed, and serious discussion on the wisdom and legality of granting automatic U.S. citizenship to the children of “birth tourists,” illegal aliens, and other categories of foreign visitors who are taking advantage of a clause in the 14th Amendment that was primarily aimed at helping an entirely different class of persons.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Lee Duffield, Centre for Independent StudiesPamphlet, 10/25/2010
The fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 brought the Cold War to an end. It also ended a decades-long division of Europe. At an event hosted by The Centre for Independent Studies, four academics shared their recollections of the historic events and analysed their long term impacts. They show how the change originated in Poland; how fast the revolution spread to East Germany; how Germany mishandled the process of national reunification; and the lessons for the Chinese leadership from the collapse of the communist East German government.
Information TechnologyBy Seth L. Cooper, Free State FoundationPerspectives from FSF Scholars, 10/25/2010
On October 14, the FCC issued yet another report and order adopting yet another revised set of rules governing cable set-top boxes. The Commission made a handful of changes to its rules for CableCARDs. Some of those rule changes were prompted by prior failed attempts by the FCC to artificially create or prop up certain segments of the set-top box market. Overall, however, the Commission preserved its basic regulatory restrictions on set-top box functionalities. In short, the report continues the Commission’s unnecessary and costly plan for expanded technocratic control of the video navigation device market.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Jacques deLisle, Foreign Policy Research InstituteOrbis: A Journal of World Affairs, 10/25/2010
Soft power, like so much else in relations between the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan, is asymmetrical and freighted with implications for U.S. policy and U.S.-China relations. For China, soft power largely serves—or strives—to reduce alarm (or at least reaction) among other states concerned about China’s new-found hard power or, perhaps more realistically, the hard power that China’s economic rise can underwrite. Much of the value for Beijing of soft power is—and is likely to remain for quite some time—its potential contribution to reducing the likelihood that other states will react to China’s rising hard power in ways that could threaten China’s interests.
Budget & TaxationBy Mary McCleary, Buckeye Institute for Public Policy SolutionsPolicy Study, 10/25/2010
Of all our civilian government workers, none are more critical to our safety than the men and women who serve as police officers and firefighters. On a daily basis, they risk their lives to protect us. Therefore, we must make sure our police officers and firefighters are paid decent wages and, when injured or killed in the line of duty, done right by. Honoring that commitment, however, does not mean that upper management employees should be made millionaires.
Health CareBy Devon Herrick, National Center for Policy AnalysisBrief Analysis, 10/25/2010
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is expected to add up to 16 million more Medicaid enrollees and will significantly expand eligibility for families with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level. The PPACA requires states to streamline their enrollment process—making it easier for eligible populations to enroll and retain Medicaid coverage. Although the federal government will pay much of the costs, states will still find their share unaffordable.