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Recent Policy Studies
National SecurityBy Seth Cropsey, Jaime Daremblum , Hudson InstituteBriefing Paper, 05/10/2011
The U.S. Air Force is considering bids for aircraft to serve as counterinsurgency fighters and trainers for foreign partners. One major competitor for the Air Force contract is the Brazilian company Embraer. As the United States considers increasing its military imports from Brazil, it is important to examine the risks that come with developing the bilateral defense trade relationship. The U.S. will need to assess how its interests could be jeopardized by Brazil’s longstanding anti-Americanism, its overall foreign policy, and its practice of subsidizing its defense industry. This paper examines each of these issues and suggests that they will continue to pose problems as Brazil gains military and economic power in a more complex global environment. The direction of Brazil’s economic and foreign policy raises questions as to whether Brazil can currently be a reliable procurement partner for the U.S.
National SecurityBy Matt Mayer, Jena Baker McNeill, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 05/10/2011
Bin Laden is dead. His death represents a good marker to ascertain what the nation has accomplished so far and what remains to be done. In locations across the globe, many men are plotting how they might become the next bin Laden by attacking America and causing great death and destruction. America must be prepared for that attack. Congressional oversight must be streamlined, and federalism should guide the domestic homeland security enterprise. Funding should be directed to key capabilities in high-risk jurisdictions, and interagency squabbles must end. Ultimately, the U.S. needs more effective oversight, less federal-centric action, smarter spending, and less friction among the entities involved in securing the homeland.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy William Damon, Hoover InstitutionBook, 05/10/2011
The most serious danger that the United States now faces, says William Damon, is that our country’s future may end up in the hands of a citizenry incapable of sustaining the liberty that has been America’s most precious legacy. In Failing Liberty 101, he argues that we are failing to prepare today’s young people to be responsible American citizens. He identifies the problems—the declines in civic purpose and patriotism, crises of faith, cynicism, self-absorption, ignorance, indifference to the common good—and shows that our disregard of civic and moral virtue as an educational priority is having a tangible effect on the attitudes, understanding, and behavior of large portions of the youth in our country today. The author places the blame squarely on today’s grown-up generation of parents, educators, opinion leaders, and public officials for failing to prepare young Americans properly for futures as citizens in a free society.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Mark Blitz, Hoover InstitutionBook, 05/10/2011
Conserving Liberty defends the principles of American conservatism. Author Mark Blitz first sketches the elements of conservatism that appeal to individuals. He then shows that we need certain virtues to secure our rights and use them successfully. The author also explains how institutional authority works, why it is necessary, and where it supports the intellectually and morally excellent. He clarifies how natural rights and their associated virtues can be a base from which to secure and preserve necessary institutions. Ultimately, Blitz asserts that individual liberty is the most powerful, reliable, and true standpoint from which to clarify and secure conservatism—but that individual freedom alone cannot produce happiness. He shows that, to fully grasp conservatism’s merits, we must we also understand the substance of responsibility, toleration and other virtues, traditional institutions, individual excellence, and self-government.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy Reuel Marc Gerecht, Hoover InstitutionBook, 05/10/2011
In The Wave, Middle East expert Reuel Marc Gerecht argues that the Middle East may actually be at the beginning of a momentous democratic wave whose convulsions could become the region’s defining theme during Obama’s presidency. He describes the powerful Middle Eastern democratic movements coming from both the secular left and the religious right and asserts that America must reassess democracy’s supposed lack of a future in the region. The author explains the importance of those countries that hold the keys to the success or failure of democracy in the region, most notably Egypt, Turkey, Iran, and the United States. Ultimately, he argues that if democracy is to succeed in Arab lands, it will be because devout Arabs have decided that their faith and representative government can meld.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Bernard Lewis, Hoover InstitutionBook, 05/10/2011
In The End of Modern History in the Middle East, Bernard Lewis discusses the future of the Middle East in the new, postimperialist era. For the region, there is a range of alternative futures: at one end, cooperation and progress; at the other, a vicious circle of poverty and ignorance. Lewis describes oil as the current, most important export to the outside world from the Middle East. The three factors that could most help transform the Middle East, according to Lewis, are Turkey, Israel, and women. He also argues that there is enough in the traditional culture of Islam and the modern experience of the Muslim peoples to provide the basis for an advance toward freedom in the true sense of that word and to achieve the social, cultural, and scientific changes necessary to bring the Middle East into line with the developed countries of both West and East.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Charles Hill, Hoover InstitutionBook, 05/10/2011
For decades, the ideologues of pan-Islam have refused to accept the boundaries and the responsibilities of the order of states. In Trial of a Thousand Years, Charles Hill analyzes the long war of Islamism against the international state system. Hill places the Islamists in their proper historical place, showing that they are but the latest challenge to the requirements that states had placed on themselves since the international system was born in 1648. He concludes that America must not give up its values; neither should we retreat by declaring that we will practice them only at home or by telling ourselves that our values are no more worthy than any others selected at random from among the world’s many cultures. The first step, he says, is to recognize the problem and then try to develop ways to deal with the exploitation of asymmetries by the enemies of world order.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Camille Pecastaing, Hoover InstitutionBook, 05/10/2011
The lands and coasts across the Bab el Mandeb—the tiny strait that separates the Red Sea from the Indian Ocean—at the southern tip of the Red Sea, have for centuries had a forbidding reputation as lands of piracy and privation. In Jihad in the Arabian Sea, Camille Pecastaing examines the twenty-first-century challenges facing this troubled and treacherous region. He looks at the past and present of the key players in the area, reviewing the terrorist activities of Al Qaeda, the state of lawlessness that has led to the rise of piracy in the western Indian Ocean, the rise of the radical Shabab group, and the spread of extremist forms of Islam in the south. He shows these current challenges could lead to still more social dislocation and violence in this area.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Kenneth Anderson, Hoover InstitutionBook, 05/10/2011
In Living with the U.N., international legal scholar Kenneth Anderson analyzes US-UN relations in each major aspect of the United Nations’ work—security, human rights and universal values, and development—and addresses the crucial question of whether, when, and how the United States should engage or not engage with the United Nations in its many different organs and activities. He looks at each UN organ and function and suggests the form of engagement that the United States should take toward it, giving workable, pragmatic meaning to “multilateral engagement” across the full range of the United Nations’ work. The book offers principles for a permanent relationship based on ideals and interests between the United States and the United Nations. Ultimately, this book offers a vision of a better, but also more modest, United Nations—a vision unlikely to be realized but well worth presenting.
EducationBy Herbert J. Walberg, Hoover InstitutionBook, 05/10/2011
The pressing need to improve achievement in American schools is widely recognized. In Tests, Testing, and Genuine School Reform, Herbert J. Walberg draws on scientific studies of tests and their uses to inform citizens, educators, and policy makers about well-established principles of testing, current problems, and promising evidence-based solutions. He explains the central considerations in developing and evaluating good tests and tells how tests can best be used, covering such topics as using tests for student incentives, paying teachers for performance, and using tests in efforts to attain new state and national standards. In view of the continuing technical and political problems of tests and testing, the last chapter argues that, for accountability, to improve tests and testing, and to prevent fraud, the development, administration, scoring, and reporting test results should be conducted independent of traditional school authorities.
National SecurityBy James E. Goodby, Hoover InstitutionBook, 05/10/2011
This report examines the importance of deterrence, from its critical function in the cold war to its current role. Although deterrence will not disappear, current and future threats to international security will present relatively fewer situations in which nuclear weapons will play the dominant role they did during the cold war. The authors highlight the ways in which deterrence has been shaped by surrounding conditions and circumstances. They look at the prospective reliability of deterrence as a tool of statecraft in the emerging international environment. And they examine the challenges of “weaponless deterrence”: developing approaches to nuclear deterrence that rely not on the actual, but rather on the potential existence of nuclear weapons. In addition, they look at the ongoing debates over “de-alerting” (slowing down the capability for immediate launch and rapid nuclear escalation), the role of arms control, and the practical considerations related to verification and compliance.
Health CareBy Paul Winfree, The Heritage FoundationCenter for Policy Innovation Research Summary, 05/10/2011
In 2003, the Medicare Modernization Act added a prescription drug benefit for senior citizens—the much-debated and often-controversial Part D. Whatever the merits of Part D in drug delivery, it was a major entitlement expansion. The result: a displacement of existing drug coverage. Economists Gary Engelhardt and Jonathan Gruber have put out an important new paper examining the effects of Part D in great detail. This piece distills their findings.
Budget & TaxationBy Stuart Butler, Alison Acosta Fraser, William Beach, The Heritage FoundationSpecial Report, 05/10/2011
Saving the American Dream is The Heritage Foundation’s plan to fix the debt, cut spending and, above all, restore prosperity. It balances the nation’s budget within a decade—and keeps it balanced. It reduces the debt and cuts government in half. It eliminates government-mandated health care and fully funds our national defense. It squarely confronts Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, the three so-called entitlement programs, which together account for 43 percent of federal spending today. To encourage Americans to become more fiscally responsible, the Heritage plan redesigns our entire tax system into an expenditure tax that will have a single, flat rate. This is a structure that will promote savings, therefore benefiting individual Americans, our body politic, and the economy.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Nile Gardiner, The Heritage FoundationAmerica at Risk Memo, 05/09/2011
The United States faces a world that is ever more dangerous. Yet Washington seems almost passive in the face of these huge challenges, with an Administration clearly lacking any coherent long-term vision for maintaining America’s place as the world’s superpower. From Tehran to Tripoli, the Obama Administration has been spectacularly slow to lead. Just a few years ago the United States was genuinely feared on the world stage, and dictatorial regimes, strategic adversaries, and state sponsors of terrorism trod carefully in the face of the world’s most powerful nation. Now the U.S. appears weak, rudderless, and frequently confused in its approach. This is a dangerous state of affairs that will only embolden America’s enemies, confuse its allies, and weaken U.S. global power.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Kori Schake, Hoover InstitutionDefining Ideas, 05/09/2011
American power is robust and enduring because it is built on the strength of ideals that foster our advantage. China is banking on prosperity reducing the desire for political rights, on centralized control by elites that will make “better” choices than individuals would make for themselves, on nationalism and grievance to trump the appeal of values we claim to be universal, on mercantilist foreign policies and the threat of force making them preferred allies. The financial crisis has emboldened Chinese criticism of America, which could portend more strident challenges. But China is not likely to achieve 25 million jobs a year on a long-term basis without the ferment, inventiveness, and demands that come with freedom. And America has a very strong hand to play in building on our appeal to values that resonate to all people. Dictators do not believe our values are universal; the dictated to do.
EducationBy Richard A. Epstein, Hoover InstitutionDefining Ideas, 05/09/2011
Congress should junk the entire Title IX edifice. It should be clear that the major vice of even the ideal version of Title IX is that it assumes that government regulators have a better understanding of the complex internal dynamics of undergraduate colleges than the administrators who run the schools. It is, however, sheer fantasy to think that a Big Ten university and a small liberal arts college should address participation in intercollegiate sports in the same way, or that the federal government, staffed with ideologues and political appointees, can rid these institutions of their supposed biases. The same colleges and universities that are smart enough to handle explosive issues of race internally do not become inarticulate incompetents when it comes to sex discrimination in athletics. The dubious devices used to evade Title IX offer powerful evidence as to why that misconceived and misapplied statute should be promptly repealed.
Economic GrowthBy Rea Hederman, Jr., James Sherk, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 05/06/2011
In April the economy added 244,000 jobs and the unemployment rate rose to 9.0 percent, the first increase in four months. While the household survey was gloomy, the payroll survey showed decent growth. Revisions to earlier job reports were + 41,000 jobs in February and + 5,000 in March. The April jobs report showed that the recovery in the labor market is disappointing in light of the massive job losses due to the recession. The rate of hiring has not dramatically increased, as business is only slowly increasing its payroll. Congress should act quickly to encourage job creation. Congress should amend the National Labor Relations Act to clarify that new investment decisions do not constitute an unfair labor practice. Employers should be free—and encouraged—to make the best investments without the federal government second-guessing them.
Health CareBy Brian Blase, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 05/06/2011
Washington can no longer afford to kick the can down the road on serious Medicaid reform. Its unsustainable spending, inferior access to quality care, massive crowd-out of private coverage, and perverse incentives that discourage work and financial planning all underscore the need for fundamental Medicaid reform. Obamacare’s massive expansion of Medicaid is simply not feasible given that the nation cannot afford the current program. Congressman Ryan’s Medicaid budget proposal, on the other hand, is an important step toward improving the program for enrollees and taxpayers. Ryan’s plan reins in inefficient state expansions, provides budget certainty at the federal and state levels, and encourages innovation to better serve the most vulnerable.
Elections, Transparency, & Accountability
Subversion, Inc.: How Obama's ACORN Red Shirts are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American TaxpayersBy Matthew Vadum, World Net DailyBook, 05/06/2011
In Subversion Inc., investigative reporter Matthew Vadum traces the checkered history of the group and proves that the members of ACORN, and the thousands of wannabe offshoots it inspired, are foot soldiers in a long-running war on America’s free political institutions. Following the “break the bank” strategy of Marxists Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, ACORN seeks to overload the system with impossible financial demands – literally destroying America’s economy. With group supporters dominating the Obama administration and the Democratic Party’s organizing apparatus, thuggery and intimidation already have their talons dug deeply in the corridors of power in Washington and are dragging our country into a socialist nightmare. Exposing the underbelly of leftwing politics and how to destroy it, Subversion, Inc. is the key exposé to save America’s capitalism and democracy in 2012.
Family, Culture & CommunityBy Chuck Donovan, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 05/06/2011
The fight for traditional marriage is a fight for a popular institution that the nation urgently needs to preserve. Americans stand by marriage with good reason. Marriage is a pre-political institution based on the cooperation of the two sexes. Marriage is the very definition of a “popular” institution—it is the one that makes a populace. The goods that marriage uniquely delivers merit it unique protection. Marriage captivates and orients the most elemental of human passions and orders them to something beyond the self. Additionally, marriage recognizes that children fare best when they are raised by their biological mothers and fathers. Likewise, children from intact families carry with them as adults a yearning to understand their heritage and connect with their ancestors. The popular cause of marriage is the on that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), among other urgent measures, is needed to serve.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Mark Pennington, Cato InstituteCato's Letter, 05/06/2011
If you look at some of the economic arguments advanced in favor of markets, economists have come up with good defenses against various market-failure theories. If you look at political theorists, they have come up with good responses to the kind of anti-market arguments made by egalitarians and by communitarians. What has been lacking is a unified theoretical framework that can bring together all these criticisms and the classical liberal responses. We do not have a unified framework that can respond not only to the economic objections that have been raised against classical liberalism, but to the political and ethical challenges that have been raised against the tradition as well.
Economic GrowthBy Eli Lehrer, et al., Heartland InstituteBooklet, 05/06/2011
This small booklet lays out seven “big ideas” the 112th Congress could act on to help it keep the promises made to voters. This guide offers seven concrete items suitable for quick action. These proposals are genuinely nonpartisan; the compilation staff and advisors include Democrats, Republicans, libertarians, and independents. People across the political spectrum can agree on and work towards implementing these proposals. Good public policy comes from good ideas. This booklet will inspire Americans of all political ideologies to respond positively to November’s election results and work together for a freer and more prosperous nation.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Erin Norman, Anthony Sanders, Institute for JusticeReport, 05/05/2011
Georgia has some of the worst civil forfeiture laws in the country. Georgia law enforcement agencies routinely fail to follow basic state reporting laws that would provide some measure of public accountability. A key problem with Georgia’s law is that it forces owners to prove their innocence to get their property back, effectively treating people caught up in forfeiture proceedings as guilty until proven innocent. Worse, the law enforcement agencies that take the property receive 100 percent of the proceeds for their own use, providing a strong incentive to pursue property instead of criminals. Georgia’s civil forfeiture laws do have one good feature: They require law enforcement agencies to annually report forfeiture proceeds and expenditures to the local authority that provides their funding. Local governments are then required to make these records publicly available online. However, this report finds that Georgia’s reporting requirements are rarely followed by law enforcement agencies.
National SecurityBy Dean Cheng, Derek Scissors, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 05/05/2011
One subject of the third round of the U.S.–China Strategic and Economic Dialogue will be cybersecurity. Part of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’s proposed Strategic Security Dialogue, it reflects the growing prominence of cybersecurity in Sino-American strategic relations. The concerns include computer network exploitation and computer network attacks, but also tampering with the physical infrastructure of communications and computer networks. Vulnerabilities could be introduced in the course of manufacturing equipment or created through purchase of malignant or counterfeit goods. Recent experience highlights these problems. Such possibilities have brought calls for various kinds of trade barriers. The trade proposals tend to be vague because the cyber threat itself, while real, is vaguely presented. While an ill-defined threat certainly bears watching, it does not justify protectionism. Cybersecurity is largely classified, but trade is not, and trade policy cannot be held hostage to cybersecurity unless specific dangers are put forward.
Health CareBy Brian Blase, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 05/05/2011
While targeted public assistance can work, Medicaid has become far too large and unwieldy to serve those who truly need it. A variety of research shows that Americans enrolled in Medicaid have less access to health care, and when they do receive care, the quality is often inferior to the care provided to other similar patients. This Heritage Foundation paper lays out the research, and shows how Medicaid is failing current enrollees and taxpayers and must be fundamentally reformed. The Medicaid expansion contained in Obamacare will further weaken the program—hurting those who really need it, as well as unduly burdening the taxpayers who pay for it.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & Science
The Economic, Environmental, and Legal Imperative for Repealing Minnesota’s Ban on New Coal-Fired PowerBy Peter J. Nelson, Center of the American ExperimentCapitol Solutions, 05/05/2011
Minnesota law, with few exceptions, bans Minnesota utilities from adding new coal-fired power to their generation mix. This ban creates substantial economic, environmental, and legal problems. Upon review, it is clear that lawmakers should repeal the ban on new coal-fired power. Among states that rely on coal for electricity generation, Minnesota is the only state that bans new coal additions. The ban on new coal-fired power will burden Minnesota with higher and more volatile electricity prices. Likewise, the ban on new coal-fired power makes the U.S. more dependent on foreign energy sources. The ban on new coal-fired power will likely result in higher global carbon-dioxide emissions. Additionally, the ban likely violates federal law and the Constitution. As such, it is inviting an expensive lawsuit that the state will likely lose.
EducationBy Katherine Kersten, Center of the American ExperimentPolicy in Detail, 05/05/2011
Reading is a fundamental life skill, and the primary tool for gaining knowledge. Third grade is the watershed year for learning to read; however, in 2010, 27 percent of Minnesota students scored below grade level in reading on the grade 4 Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA II). What happens to Minnesota youngsters who finish third grade still lacking basic literacy skills? The vast majority are passed on to fourth grade through what’s known as “social promotion.” However, the most effective way to help these struggling students is to give them a second, enriched opportunity to master the vital skills that schools have so far failed to teach them. Minnesota should look to the example of Florida, which has launched a ground-breaking campaign to ensure that children of all backgrounds can read at grade level by the end of third grade.
ImmigrationBy Don Barnett, Center for Immigration StudiesBackgrounder, 05/05/2011
A wide-ranging review is needed of the costly and out-of-control refugee system. It has failed refugees, both by diverting limited resources from overseas assistance and by the sheer neglect of those resettled in the United States by their “sponsors.” The program is rife with fraud, profitable for hundreds of “non-profit” organizations, and is a potential channel for terrorism into American communities.
Transportation/InfrastructureBy John A. Charles Jr., Cascade Policy InstituteReport, 05/05/2011
For the past several decades, TriMet has promoted passenger rail as “High Capacity Transit (HCT). The specific services that TriMet offers within the alleged HCT category include light rail, commuter rail and the Portland streetcar. HCT is desirable when there are large numbers of people moving to geographically constrained destinations within a short period of time. It is questionable whether the Portland region has a need for such services, due to low regional population densities and the dispersed nature of regional employment. Travel patterns in the area are often scattered and complex. Transportation planners at TriMet and other agencies routinely make multi-billion-dollar decisions based on travel surveys, computer models or simply their own personal beliefs about how people should travel. They rarely have any direct knowledge of how people actually travel under specific. This research compares the dominant planning assumptions in Portland with observed travel behavior in specific event settings.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Angela Logomasini, Cascade Policy InstituteCommentary, 05/05/2011
Anti-Bisphenol-A (BPA) legislation is based on environmental activists’ wrongheaded claims that BPA poses unreasonable risk to human health. These policies threaten to undermine food safety because few good alternatives for preventing food contamination exist, should lawmakers eventually ban BPA. BPA bans will do little for public health, since they do not address significant risks. They are part of an ever-expanding arbitrary regulatory state that places many valuable products and freedoms at risk.
Retirement/Social SecurityBy Alex Brill, American Enterprise InstituteRetirement Policy Outlook, 05/05/2011
The stock market has been on a roller coaster in recent years, and such volatility always creates winners and losers among investors, especially those who concentrate their bets on a few individual stocks instead of a broadly diversified investment portfolio. The S&P 500 plunged over 40 percent from the third quarter of 2008 through the first quarter of 2009 before fully recovering by the beginning of 2011. Regardless of the broader performance of equities, there are always underperformers. The risk of overbetting on underperforming stocks is particularly acute to the security of US workers’ retirement savings. This Outlook focuses on asset diversification within employer-sponsored defined-contribution plans. After discussing the importance of diversification generally, it explains how overinvestment in company stock in retirement accounts poses grave risks. It concludes with potential policy safeguards that could ensure that workers’ retirement accounts more effectively manage the tradeoff between risk and expected return.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy John H. Makin, American Enterprise InstituteEconomic Outlook, 05/05/2011
China is facing destabilizing inflation; capital has flowed into China must faster than it has flowed out, in part because Chinese residents are prohibited from investing abroad. China’s reported inflation rate on consumer goods rose to 5.4 percent in March, but its implied inflation rate is 8.4 percent—a large discrepancy suggesting that China is underreporting its inflation rate. Chinese authorities have taken some steps to lower inflation, but they may be delaying more drastic measures to avoid instability before the 2012 transfer of leadership. China has the second-largest economy in the world—accounting for one-third of global growth in 2010—so a Chinese hard landing would be very damaging to the global economy.
ImmigrationBy Jena Baker McNeill, Paul Rosenzweig, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 05/04/2011
The Department of State is currently seeking public comment on its proposal to create a new biographical questionnaire for U.S. passport applicants. Reforms in the passport-issuance process are indeed necessary to prevent the misuse of passports by criminals and terrorists. However, the proposed questionnaire goes too far in requesting that all passport applicants fill out an extensive survey of their life details. Recognizing that there are legitimate situations in which a particular applicant might warrant additional scrutiny (e.g., an applicant lacking a birth certificate), the Administration should rethink the nature, scope, and application of the biographical questionnaire and design one that is reasonable in terms of data sought and from whom the information is requested. This should be accompanied by reforms in information sharing between the State Department and other federal agencies to better connect the dots in terrorism and criminal investigations.
WelfareBy Ryan Messmore, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 05/04/2011
Government anti-poverty programs share the flawed assumption that poverty in America is primarily a material problem that can be solved by increased welfare and entitlement spending. Poverty in America is often the result of a relational problem, such as fatherlessness or community breakdown, which government programs cannot adequately address. However, the institutions of civil society—family, churches, and other associations—are well suited to providing the personalized assistance needed to repair these relational problems, enabling people to overcome poverty and lead healthy lives. Instead of crowding out private efforts with welfare programs, government can best serve the poor by establishing and maintaining social conditions that allow families, churches, and other institutions of civil society the freedom to serve those who are in need.
Budget & TaxationBy Matt Patterson, Capital Research CenterLabor Watch, 05/04/2011
Wisconsin is the birthplace of American public-sector unionism. In 1930s the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) first organized in Madison. How ironic then that Wisconsin may also be the burial ground for public-sector unionism. Governor Scott Walker and the state legislature confront implacable and intractable union opposition as they struggle to bring Wisconsin’s finances under control. The Badger State has become ground zero in the battle between unions intent on expanding their health and pension plans and state governments determined to avoid bankruptcy.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Amanda Carey, Capital Research CenterGreen Watch, 05/04/2011
The pressure tactics of extremist environmental groups are forcing corporations to turn against the political candidates, nonprofits and issue campaigns that support their own best interests. Green groups have learned how to target the customers, investors and suppliers of corporations so they will put pressure on corporate management to cut off financial contributions to business-friendly causes and candidates. Greens also seek to circumvent “Citizens United,” the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that says laws that put limits on corporate (and union) political giving violate the First Amendment right of free speech.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy Matthew Vadum, Capital Research CenterOrganization Trends, 05/04/2011
This paper contains excerpts from the author’s new book Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers. Capital Research Center has been tracking ACORN since 1998. ACORN was most recently profiled in the November 2010 Organization Trends and in the November 2008 editions of Foundation Watch and Labor Watch. Summary: Reports of ACORN’s death have been greatly exaggerated. More than a dozen of the infamous group’s chapters have broken off and separately incorporated themselves in order to evade authorities. Vadum’s new book examines ACORN’s history of corruption and lawbreaking along with its brutal anti-social goals and tactics. It also examines the group’s intimate relationship with the Obama administration.
Family, Culture & CommunityBy Jenet Jacob Erickson, The Heritage FoundationFamily Facts Report, 05/04/2011
This report reviews findings from the 30-year body of research evaluating the effects of non-maternal child care (day care) on children’s social-emotional development. Children who spend longer hours (30 hours/week) in day care are more likely to exhibit problematic social behaviors including aggression, conflict, poorer work habits and risk-taking behaviors throughout childhood and into adolescence. The negative effects of day care are more persistent for children who spend long hours in center-care settings. Although high quality day care has some positive effects, it does not reduce the negative effects associated with long hours in day care. Mothers whose children spend long hours in day care show a decrease in sensitivity in their interactions with their child during their child’s early years.
Foreign Policy/International Affairs
The Road to Fatima Gate: The Beirut Spring, The Rise of Hezbollah, and the Iranian War against IsraelBy Michael Totten, Encounter BooksBook, 05/04/2011
The Road to Fatima Gate is a first-person narrative account of revolution, terrorism, and war during history’s violent return to Lebanon after fifteen years of quiet. From the Cedar Revolution that ousted the occupying Syrian military regime in 2005 to the devastating war between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006 to Hezbollah’s slow-motion but violent assault on Lebanon’s elected government and capital, Totten’s account is both personal and comprehensive. He simplifies the bewildering complexity of the Middle East; gains access to major regional players as well as to the man on the street; and personally witnesses most of the events he describes. The Road to Fatima Gate should be indispensable reading for anyone interested in the Middle East, Iran’s expansionist foreign policy, the Arab-Israeli conflict, asymmetric warfare, and terrorism in the aftermath of September 11.
Budget & TaxationBy J. Scott Moody, Maine Heritage Policy CenterResearch, 05/04/2011
It is well-known that Maine and New Hampshire are polar opposites when it comes to tax policy. Maine has one of the highest tax burdens in the country at 12.6 percent of personal income (6th highest) while New Hampshire has one of the lowest tax burdens at 8.7 percent of personal income (49th highest). These 3.9 percentage points represent one of, if not the, largest tax differentials between any two states in the country and is the basis for “The Great Tax Divide.” Put simply, lowering Maine’s sales and excise taxes would likely increase retail sales to the point where greater business performance would increase other tax collections, such as the individual and corporate income tax, which would more than offset the lower sales and excise tax revenue.
Economic GrowthBy Illinois Policy Institute, Illinois Policy InstituteStudies, 05/04/2011
This guide provides concise summaries of the top public policy issues facing the state of Illinois, as well as specific recommendations for improving public policy in Illinois. Entries provide illuminating information in the areas of education, taxes, budget and spending, government reform, health care, transportation and energy, and the workplace. Good policy can change lives for the better, and Illinois needs real change. The state was once an economic powerhouse, known throughout the nation as a beacon of opportunity and prosperity. Today, Illinois is showing an alarming pattern of continually slipping behind other states in major national rankings of economic health. Putting the state back on the path to prosperity requires a new set of guiding principles, and policies, to govern our state. This guide offers a roadmap forward.
Budget & TaxationBy Milagros Palacios, Niels Veldhuis, Fraser InstituteResearch Studies, 05/04/2011
The Canadian tax system is complex and there is no single number that can give us a complete idea of who pays how much tax. That said, the Fraser Institute annually calculates the most comprehensive and easily understood indicator of the overall tax bill of the average Canadian family: Tax Freedom Day. This Alert examines what has happened to the tax bill of the average Canadian family over the past 49 years. It consists of an index of the tax bill, the Canadian Consumer Tax Index, for the period 1961 to 2010.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Megan L. Brown, Federalist SocietyEngage, 05/04/2011
This spring, the Supreme Court will hear and decide American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut (“AEP”), a nationally important case concerning global warming and the appropriate judicial response thereto. At its core, this and other cases like it test the limits of federal courts’ authority to enact sweeping changes to the nation’s environmental, industrial, and economic policy. Since Massachusetts v. EPA, the Supreme Court’s last foray into climate change, federal courts—including two federal appeals courts—have been wrestling with lawsuits that would assign federal judges a pivotal role in setting national climate change policy. But, as each district court to have confronted these cases has concluded, these cases present a task for which the federal courts are institutionally and constitutionally ill-suited. In granting certiorari, the Court has signaled its intent to clarify the proper role of federal courts in addressing global climate change.
Budget & TaxationBy Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives, Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy AlternativesPolicy Points, 05/04/2011
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett’s FY 2011-12 budget proposal includes $63.6 billion in total operating spending—$27.3 billion in General Fund spending—a reduction of $3.3 billion from FY 2010-11. This budget restores overall spending to pre-stimulus levels and proposes no new taxes. This is the sixth in a series of fact sheets on the state budget; this fact sheet focuses on Pennsylvania’s education budget. Pennsylvania public school spending continues to grow, and public school staffing has increased while enrollment has declined. Additionally, K-12 public education performance has stagnated. Ultimately, school choice costs taxpayers less; in total, school choice saved taxpayers more than $4 billion.