- Budget & Taxation
- Crime, Justice & the Law
- The Constitution
- Economic & Political Thought
- Economic Growth
- Elections, Transparency, & Accountability
- Family, Culture & Community
- Foreign Policy/ International Affairs
- Health Care
- Information Technology
- International Trade & Finance
- Monetary Policy/ Financial Regulation
- National Security
- Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & Science
- Regulation & Deregulation
- Retirement/ Social Security
- Transportation & Infrastructure
- Acton Institute
- Adam Smith Institute
- Alabama Policy Institute
- Allegheny Institute
- Alliance for School Choice
- Alliance for Worker Freedom
- America’s Future Foundation
- American Council on Science and Health
- American Enterprise Institute
- American Institute for Full Employment
- American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)
- Americans for Tax Reform
- Arkansas Policy Foundation
- Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs
- Atlas Economic Research Foundation
- Atlas Society
- Beacon Center of Tennessee
- Beacon Hill Institute
- Becket Fund
- Bluegrass Institute
- Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions
- Business & Media Institute
- Calvert Institute
- Cascade Policy Institute
- Cato Institute
- Center for Consumer Freedom
- Center for College Affordability and Productivity
- Center for Equal Opportunity
- Center for Health Transformation
- Center for Immigration Studies
- Center for International Private Enterprise
- Center for Strategic and International Studies
- Center of the American Experiment
- Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation
- Citizens Against Government Waste
- Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy
- Club For Growth
- Commonwealth Foundation
- Competitive Enterprise Institute
- Council for Affordable Health Insurance
- Empire Center for New York State Policy
- Ethan Allen Institute
- Evergreen Freedom Foundation
- Federalist Society
- Foreign Policy Research Institute
- Fraser Institute
- Foundation for Defense of Democracies
- Foundation for Educational Choice
- Foundation for Education Reform & Accountability
- Foundation for Research on Economics & the Environment
- Free Congress Foundation
- Free State Foundation
- Galen Institute
- Georgia Public Policy Foundation
- Goldwater Institute
- Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
- Great Plains Public Policy Institute
- Heartland Institute
- The Heritage Foundation
- Heritage Libertad
- Hoover Institution
- Hudson Institute
- Illinois Policy Institute
- IMANI Center for Policy & Education
- Independence Institute
- Independent Institute
- Institute for Health Freedom
- Institute for Energy Research
- Institute for Humane Studies
- Institute for Justice
- Institute for Market Economics
- Institute for Marriage and Public Policy
- Institute for Policy Innovation
- Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation
- Institute of Economic Affairs
- Intercollegiate Studies Institute
- International Policy Network
- International Republican Institute
- James Madison Institute
- John Jay Institute for Faith, Society & Law
- John Locke Foundation
- Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy
- Kansas Policy Institute
- Landmark Legal Foundation
- Leadership Institute
- Lexington Institute
- Mackinac Center for Public Policy
- Maine Heritage Policy Center
- Manhattan Institute
- Maryland Public Policy Institute
- Mercatus Center
- Mississippi Center for Public Policy
- National Center for Policy Analysis
- National Center for Public Policy Research
- National Taxpayers Union
- Nevada Policy Research Institute
- North Dakota Policy Council
- Ocean State Policy Research Institute
- Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs
- Pacific Research Institute
- Palmetto Family Council
- PERC - The Property and Environment Research Center
- Philanthropy Roundtable
- Phoenix Center
- Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research
- Progress & Freedom Foundation
- Property Rights Alliance
- Public Interest Institute
- Public Policy Foundation of West Virginia
- Reason Foundation
- Rio Grande Foundation
- Sam Adams Alliance
- Science and Public Policy Institute
- Show-Me Institute
- South Carolina Policy Council
- State Policy Network
- Sutherland Institute
- The Tax Foundation
- Texas Public Policy Foundation
- Thomas B. Fordham Foundation
- Thomas Jefferson Institute
- Virginia Institute for Public Policy
- Washington Legal Foundation
- Washington Policy Center
- Wisconsin Policy Research Institute
- Yankee Institute for Public Policy
- Young America’s Foundation
Recent Policy Studies
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Ariel Cohen, Stephen Blank, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 07/21/2011
It is clear that Washington needs a new approach to Eurasian foreign policy to prevent an emergence of a Russian sphere of influence or another regional hegemony. The United States should boost its diplomatic support of sovereign states, such as Ukraine and Georgia, and expand a real commitment to the region. Specifically, Washington should provide political support to East–West energy pipelines and uphold sovereignty and territorial integrity under international law—even if this upsets Russia—while at the same time becoming an active mediator in the Transnistria and South Caucasus disputes.
Budget & TaxationBy Jason Mercier, Washington Policy CenterPolicy Note, 07/21/2011
Though it took a special session to finish its work on the 2011-13 budget, the legislature took positive steps this year to put the state on a more sustainable budget path. Despite progress, however, an inadequate reserve fund coupled with ongoing economic uncertainty and projected future spending pressure leaves the state’s budget outlook on tenuous ground highlighting the need for additional structural reforms and spending restraint. The failure to leave an adequate reserve coupled with the ongoing economic uncertainty means additional structural reforms and spending restraint will continue to be necessary as the state recovers from the impact of past overspending combined with the “great recession,” and embraces the path of sustainable budgeting.
PhilanthropyBy Scott Walter, Capital Research CenterFoundation Watch, 07/21/2011
The Tides Foundation is a public charity designed to allow anonymous pass-through funding by donors, and the Tides Center acts as an incubator for radical advocacy nonprofits. The innovative structure of the Tides network is designed to secure funding for and nurture the growth of radical nonprofits along a wide range of issues. But the most important—and dangerous—Tides initiative is its effort to promote the concept of “structural racism.” For now, Tides cannot compel foundations to organize their philanthropy by race or send money to ideologues chosen by structural racism experts. However, people should still remain vigilant; Tides may raise enough money from anonymous donors and its own coffers to someday achieve its goal of reshaping America.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Diane Katz, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 07/21/2011
July 21st marks the one-year anniversary of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. It comes in at some 2,300 pages, so it is no surprise that dozens of regulatory deadlines have been missed, and a multitude of agencies are months behind in their rulemaking schedule. It is fair to question, then, how the bureaucrats and technocrats who cannot get the rules written can possibly manage the vast and roiling markets over which they now rule. They cannot—at least not successfully. A principal reason is that their colossal regulatory edifice teeters on the faulty premise that the economic crisis was a consequence of too little regulation—as opposed to misguided housing policies and twisted tax and regulatory incentives. The law’s unparalleled powers, unless checked, will curtail the availability of credit and capital for consumers and businesses alike, both of which are needed to nurture economic growth.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Kevin Mooney, Capital Research CenterGreen Watch, 07/21/2011
With a Republican House of Representatives and Senate rejection of cap-and-trade legislation last year, little known grassroots green groups are stepping up their efforts to advance their agenda. In the early 2000s environmental activists tried to circumvent federal policymakers by promoting regional global warming linking adjoining states to in projects to curtail carbon emissions. Now they are running up against energized Tea Party activists and Republican state lawmakers. The Tea Party should give these smaller green organizations a closer look as it may be the key to unraveling how local and state level green campaigns get started.
LaborBy F. Vincent Vernuccio, Matthew Vadum, Capital Research CenterOrganization Trends, 07/21/2011
Led by the radical Service Employees International Union (SEIU), left-wing unions and activist groups have been planning to launch a national campaign of economic strong-arming and sabotage. SEIU said it is demonstrating against the impact of international finance, but its immediate goal is to buttress union economics. Their plan envisions mortgage and student loan strikes and bank boycotts. They have also contemplated acts of harassment and intimidation directed against bank officials, corporate heads and public officials deemed to be enemies of the people. SEIU’s goal is not to change policy, but to organize people and shame business leaders for not paying taxes—even though some, like the bank of America, have paid over $40 billion in taxes between 2000 and 2009.
EducationBy Cannon Brooke, Grassroot Institute of HawaiiWorking Paper, 07/21/2011
The time has come for parents to think about their children’s future plans and decide if the university system is a viable option. It has long been a part of the American dream to walk into the Ivory Towers and continue onto post-secondary education. However, this American dream can turn into an American nightmare for parents that are unprepared. Particularly, this paper focuses on how to think strategically about the college option and calls for a proper cost-benefit analysis from parents and their children. There are many viable options to the university system that need to be exhumed so both parents and their child know they made the correct choice. While much attention and consideration is given to the college experience, other options such as: vocational schools, internships, volunteering, apprenticeships, community college and working after high school are sensible alternatives.
Slashing Defense Makes America Less Safe While Allowing Politicians to Kick the Can down the Road on Entitlement ReformBy Mackenzie Eaglen, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 07/21/2011
As long as politicians continue asking the military to shoulder ever-increasing burdens in pursuit of America’s national interests, Washington cannot expect those in uniform to simply get by or “make do” with lower budgets. Washington must remember that those who demand scaling back military size, structure, and capabilities in the name of fiscal prudence ignore the fact that the nation will have to spend more later to rebuild. Unfortunately, it does not take a “hollow force” to harm national security. Even comparatively small cuts in defense—if applied to the wrong areas—can harm America’s capacity to project power abroad, guarantee the defense of its allies, and meet international commitments.
National SecurityBy David Kreutzer, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 07/21/2011
Will shifting the United States military to alternative fuels reduce casualties and geopolitical threats? That is what some are contending. Their answers focus on two main factors: the material and human costs of transporting fuel in a battle zone and oil revenues received by unfriendly regimes. Digging just a little below the surface shows these arguments to be camouflage for a bright green agenda that has high costs for the military, both in dollars and lives. The biofuels available today are simply not a smart option for military use. They require more money to transport and do not provide a national security benefit. Grafting a broader social agenda like “green energy” onto the military’s mission detracts from its ability to provide national security effectively and efficiently. The Pentagon should make the energy choices that best advance its capabilities for that critical mission.
LaborBy James Sherk, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 07/21/2011
New regulations from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Department of Labor are designed to swell the ranks of unionized labor at the expense of workers, employers, and the U.S. economy. The new NLRB rules that would shorten union-organizing elections to between 10 and 21 days are an attempt to rush to elections before employers can present counterarguments. The proposal to allow micro unions would enable unions to gerrymander bargaining units to disenfranchise workers who oppose union representation and would dramatically complicate labor negotiations. The Department of Labor’s expansion of reporting requirements on the activities of labor relations consultants is a transparent attempt to discourage companies from educating their employees on the disadvantages of unions. Congress should specifically bar the NLRB and the Department of Labor from using any funding to implement these regulations.
The Constitution/Civil Liberties
Overruling Citizens United with Chicago-Style Politics: Federal Contract Bidders Must Disclose Political GivingBy John Yoo, David W. Marston, American Enterprise InstituteLegal Outlook, 07/20/2011
Following a defeat in Citizens United, the Obama administration is making an unprecedented assault on free speech through a proposed executive order requiring federal bidders to disclose their political giving during the previous two years as a condition to being considered for a federal contract. Under the guise of “transparency” and “accountability,” the order curtails constitutionally protected speech rights and opens the door for retaliation against those not supporting the administration politically. Yet neither the media nor defenders of free speech are challenging the administration’s actions; anonymous political speech should remain a cornerstone of American democracy.
Budget & TaxationBy Steven Malanga, Manhattan InstituteCity Journal, 07/20/2011
The national media, as well as many policy experts, have focused on state budget battles, like the one in Wisconsin between Governor Scott Walker and public-employee unions. But the truth is that America’s problem with government-worker costs is disproportionately a local issue. In the typical city, town, or school district, compensation costs generally range from 70 to 80 percent of the budget. Those compensation costs have soared over the years, as politicians made overgenerous promises to local government workers—not just pay but also the right to retire on full pensions at age 50 or 55, annual cost-of-living increases to those pensions, and full health care for life. These concessions haven’t merely resulted in big deficits; they have pushed many localities to the edge of fiscal ruin. Without substantial reform—soon—local taxpayers are likely to face a lethal combination of major tax increases and crumbling services.
EducationBy Mark Flatten, Goldwater InstituteGoldwater Institute Watchdog Report, 07/20/2011
The public school system is not meeting the needs of many special-education students who qualify for a special instructional plan under federal and state laws. Oftentimes parents find themselves using their own money to pay for the academic instruction and therapy that their children need. Many parents now see hope in a new state law that allows parents of disabled children to withdraw them from public schools and use the money that would have gone to the local district to design their own educational plan. This gives parents the ability to customize how their children learn. Unfortunately, public school organizations are threatening to challenge the program, arguing that it violates state constitutional provisions that prohibit the expenditure of state funds for private or religious schools. Because this new law will give parents direct control of the money where it matters most, the Goldwater Institute will help defend it.
Transportation/InfrastructureBy Claire Berlinski, Manhattan InstituteCity Journal, 07/20/2011
Seismic risk mitigation is the greatest urban policy challenge that the world confronts today. Just try to imagine another way in which bad urban policy could kill a million people in 30 seconds. The earthquake in Japan this past March released 600 million times the energy of the Hiroshima bomb. The ensuing partial meltdown of the Fukushima reactor prompted international hysteria about nuclear power, but few seemed to realize that a far deadlier threat had been averted; so few buildings actually collapsed. Compare this with the fact that 200,000 buildings collapsed in the Kobe earthquake in 1995, and it is clear that countries can make great progress in seismic risk mitigation. But cities around the world have become, for the most part, stunningly complacent. They seem happy to ignore the earthquake threat—one that is only growing as the cities themselves get bigger and bigger.
Economic GrowthBy Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar, Cato InstituteDevelopment Policy Analysis, 07/20/2011
A foreign exchange crisis in 1991 induced India to abandon decades of inward-looking socialism and adopt economic reforms that have convert¬ed the once-lumbering elephant into the latest Asian tiger. India’s gross domestic product growth rate has averaged over 8 percent in the last decade, and per capita income has shot up from $300 to $1,700 in two decades. It is possible that India could overtake China in growth in the next decade. Unfortunately, India continues to be hampered by poor business conditions and misgovernance. Almost a quarter of Indian districts have recorded some sort of Maoist violence, and corruption is a major issue. India ranks very low on ease-of–doing-business indicators, and rigid labor laws prevent Indian companies from setting up large factories for labor-intensive exports. For India, government reform is desperately needed in order to help sustain and promote economic reform.
Health CareBy Tarren Bradgon, Joel Allumbaugh, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 07/20/2011
During their legislative sessions earlier this year, most states neither enacted Obamacare-enabling legislation nor advanced their own, alternative health care reform designs. One notable exception is Maine, where a new Republican governor and legislative majorities charted a different course for health care reform. This spring, after living under the costly failures of Obamacare-like health care legislation for two decades, Maine’s new state leadership enacted a set of patient-centered, market-based health care reforms. In the process, they reversed a set of policies that mirrored key elements of Obamacare.Thus, Maine’s experience is instructive for other states in two important respects. Maine’s past offers lessons on the likely adverse effects of Obamacare if fully implemented, and Maine’s new direction shows how to reverse and replace Obamacare with better patient-centered, market-based approaches.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy M. Eric Eversole, Hans von Spakovsky, The Heritage FoundationLegal Memorandum, 07/20/2011
The MOVE Act, like previous voting rights laws, was supposed to help military members exercise their right to vote. The MOVE Act, however, cannot succeed in delivering on its promise until it is fully implemented and enforced. President Obama has a clear opportunity to help deliver the promise of the MOVE Act, but his Administration must be willing to make the issue a priority. It must address the shortcomings from the 2010 election and ensure a top-down commitment from the President’s agencies to promote and protect U.S. service members’ voting rights. At a time when members of America’s military are in harm’s way in remote parts of the world, this nation should spare no expense or effort in making sure that the MOVE Act’s promise is realized.
In America’s National Interest—Canadian Oil A Comparison of Civil, Political, and Economic Freedoms in Oil-Producing CountriesBy Mark Milke, Fraser InstituteStudies in Energy Policy, 07/19/2011
Attempting to restrict American imports of Canadian oil is a mistake that ignores the reality of US dependence on imported oil. More importantly, it ignores the only major alternative sources of such oil which are repressive governments that restrict civil, political, and economic freedoms. The study points out that Canada now provides more oil to America than all the Persian Gulf countries combined. In addition to the reality of American oil demand and imports, this report measures how major oil-producing jurisdictions around the world perform on 17 comparisons of civil, political, and economic freedoms. A total of 38 countries, from five continents, are compared. With the exception of Norway, Canada is the only major oil-exporting country that scores highly on all measurements of civil, political, and economic freedom.
Economic GrowthBy James Sherk, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 07/19/2011
Private-sector job creation initially recovered from the recession at a normal rate, leading to predictions last year of a “Recovery Summer.” Since April 2010, however, net private-sector job creation has stalled. Within two months of the passage of Obamacare, the job market stopped improving. This suggests that businesses are not exaggerating when they tell pollsters that the new health care law is holding back hiring. The law significantly raises business costs and creates considerable uncertainty about the future. To encourage hiring, Congress should repeal Obamacare.
National SecurityBy Jim Talent, The Heritage FoundationTestimony, 07/19/2011
Jim Talent, a former Senator and Distinguished Fellow at The Heritage Foundation, testified before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on the Budget on July 7th. The testimony focused on budgeting for America’s national security. Senator Talent issued a grave warning, stating that, “Despite the dedicated efforts of our servicemen and women—who are among the finest who ever served any country—America’s military strength is declining, both absolutely and relative to the dangers which confront us. The rate of decline is growing, and will soon reach a point—if the point has not been reached already—where our military leaders will not be able to honestly guarantee America’s security within an acceptable margin of risk.” Furthermore, he recommended that procurement reform would be a wise measure to help save money, and that our industrial base can be strengthened by promoting foreign military sales.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Lisa Curtis, Dean Cheng, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 07/19/2011
The U.S. should pursue robust strategic and military engagement with India in order to encourage a stable balance of power in Asia that prevents China from dominating the region and surrounding seas. The U.S. and India share a broad strategic interest in setting limits to China’s geopolitical horizons and can work together to support mutually reinforcing goals without becoming “allies” in the traditional sense. The U.S. should support India’s military modernization campaign, including its quest for increasingly sophisticated technologies, and develop new initiatives for keeping the Indian Ocean safe and secure. Although India’s recent decision to forgo American planes to fulfill its fighter aircraft needs has added a dose of realism to Indo–U.S. relations, the complex challenge presented by a rising China will inevitably drive the U.S. and India to elevate ties and increase cooperation across a broad range of sectors in years to come.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy Eric Eversole, Military Families UnitedStudies, 07/19/2011
In October 2009, Congress passed the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE Act). Specifically, the MOVE Act required states to mail absentee ballots to all military voters at least 45 days before a federal election, to provide electronic delivery options for election materials, and to eliminate the notary requirement for absentee ballots. The question now is: did the MOVE Act work? This report concludes that while the Move Act made strides forward, more must be done to provide servicemen and women with greater opportunities to register and request an absentee ballot.
National SecurityBy Kim R. Holmes, James Jay Carafano, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 07/19/2011
As Congress moves forward in deciding to control spending, it should remember that getting the debt crisis under control is also a matter of national security. Unless federal spending is reined in, there will be precious few financial resources left over to fund America’s military operations and men and women in uniform. Recognizing this urgent need to protect America, the authors of the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act have wisely refused to place any spending caps on national defense. This makes sense. In order to maintain a trained and ready force and prepare for the future, Congress would have to support a core defense budget that averages $720 billion per year over five years. This is the minimum financial commitment necessary to provide the nation with a military that can protect its vital national interests. This goal is obtainable under the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act.
Budget & TaxationBy Wendell Cox, Illinois Policy InstituteReport, 07/19/2011
As fiscal year 2012 begins the state of Illinois continue to face serious budgetary challenges. This situation requires a thorough review of expenditures, particularly in the realm of government employee compensation. Solving the state’s fiscal crisis and, by extension, the flight of people and businesses from Illinois, will require tackling government labor costs. This report identifies that the expectations of state workers should be balanced with those of others who rely on government spending, such as welfare beneficiaries, contractors, service providers and the state’s creditors, as well as the taxpayers who pay the bills. Right-sizing public employee compensation will help balance the budget in a fair manner, maintain funding for core government services and protect overburdened taxpayers, thereby resulting in a stronger, more prosperous Illinois.
ImmigrationBy W.D. Reasoner, Center for Immigration StudiesBackgrounder, 07/19/2011
Many people, including, surprisingly, those whose occupations might bring them into contact with federal officers who enforce immigration laws, don’t seem to have a clear notion of how removal proceedings against an alien take place, and exactly what “due process” means in that context. This backgrounder describes the enforcement actions that take place prior to, and that result in initiation of, removal proceedings, one form of which is a hearing before an immigration judge. It spells out the cumbersome and dysfunctional process and also includes a set of recommendations to improve the system, all of which can be accomplished with the agency’s regulatory process, without the need for legislative action.
Budget & TaxationBy Paul D. Allick, et al., Center of the American ExperimentReport, 07/19/2011
The following report is a symposium of 34 essays which mainly focus on proposals regarding means-testing entitlements and recommendations for eliminating departments, programs and subsidies, along with popular tax benefits. Interestingly, the compilation of thoughts and opinions suggest that more Americans than generally assumed may be seriously willing to sacrifice when it comes to major entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare. Each of the following essays consider several components, which include: what benefits people are willing to give up and weather the authors think tax increases are avoidable in the short or long term.
Budget & TaxationBy Audrey Spalding, Patrick Ishmael, Show-Me InstituteCase Study, 07/19/2011
The Missouri General Assembly may reconvene in special session to take up tax credit legislation that includes $360 million in taxpayer backed incentives to develop in Saint Louis a new international trade hub, more commonly known today as “Aerotropolis.” Proponents claim that these indirect subsidies would bring increased air cargo to Lambert–St. Louis International Airport from international destinations, boosting economic development in the region. As written, however, the plan violates sound public policy principles by sanctioning a government handout to local developers on terms that are indistinguishable from the cronyism often seen in legislation at the federal level. Legislators should not take claims that the bill is for “economic development” or “jobs” at face value, because the economics that undergird the Aerotropolis plan fail to support such claims.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Stephen Blank, Foreign Policy Research InstituteE-Notes, 07/19/2011
Russian officials believe and publicly profess that since 2003 the United States has been trying to foment democracy campaigns in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, with the goal being to undermine their existing regimes. Yet there is another source of Russian anxiety which lies in the possibility that Arab revolutions, like those in Libya and Syria, might spread to Central Asia. Domestically, the revolutions could inspire citizens to take autonomous political action against the regime. Furthermore, they could inflame the insurgency in the North Caucasus among a largely Muslim population to which Russia is already dedicating approximately 250,000 troops. Should Russia or its neighbors experience their own version of Arab revolts, their determination to retain power may lead Moscow to its own violent emulation of what is now a revolutionary and violent process in the Middle East.
Family, Culture & CommunityBy William Damon, Hoover InstitutionHoover Digest, 07/19/2011
As young people search for meaning in their lives, their minds are often open to all possible choices about what to believe, how to live, and what—if anything—to dedicate themselves to. When young people find nothing positive to believe in, they drift in unconstructive and sometimes destructive directions. As a result, it is crucial that in order to ensure a bright future for young people and the society they will inherit, every adult community must take seriously its responsibility to raise young people for lives of virtue. America is currently failing in this regard, and further failure to do so will inevitably result in societal decadence. History has shown us time and again what happens to a society when its citizens no longer prize virtue.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy June Teufel Dreyer, Foreign Policy Research InstituteE-Notes, 07/18/2011
The current state of U.S.-Taiwan relations leaves much to be desired. A recent analysis describes the island’s narrowing options, tracing a trajectory toward absorption by China. June Teufel Dreyer suggests that U.S. actions bear a large measure of responsibility for this drift. Taiwanese concerns are reinforced when administration spokespersons regularly express uncritical praise for the progress that has been made in cross-Strait relations without mentioning the erosion of democracy and freedom on the island. For the Untied States, now is the time to halt a drift that is dangerous not only to the security of the Taiwanese but to the United States’ interests in the region and to the credibility of the global alliance system.
WelfareBy David Muhlhausen, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 07/18/2011
Federal social programs are rarely evaluated to determine whether they are actually accomplishing their intended purposes. As part of its obligation to spend taxpayers’ dollars wisely, Congress should mandate that experimental evaluations of every federal social program be conducted. The evaluations should be large-scale, multisite studies to guard against mistakenly assuming that a program that works in one location or with one population will automatically work in other situations. Congress should place substantially less emphasis on funding evaluations based on less rigorous types of research designs, because their conclusions are much less reliable. Finally, Congress should exercise strict oversight to ensure that the evaluations are conducted and the results reported in a timely manner.
EducationBy Diana Moore, Freedom FoundationArticle, 07/18/2011
Online learning is revolutionizing the way the world does school. Rather than moving kids through the public school system as though they were uniform products on a factory conveyor belt, online learning puts the student first—with all his or her unique, skills, interests, struggles, and goals. Every Washington parent should know they are not limited to the brick-and-mortar school down the street—especially those who can’t afford a non-public schooling option. “Online Learning 101” makes that possible by explaining the basics of online public schooling, the policies that make it possible, those who use it, those who oppose it and what it holds for the future. Additionally, parents, teachers, school district officials, and state policymakers will find helpful action steps to further student-centric educational models.
Budget & Taxation
The Freedom Agenda: Washington Is Incapable of Controlling Spending. There is Only One Solution LeftBy Mike Lee, Regnery PublishingBook, 07/18/2011
Our national debt is more than $14 trillion dollars. We’re about to crash through another debt ceiling, and all Washington knows how to do is spend, borrow, tax, repeat. So how can we avoid economic Armageddon and force fiscal responsibility on Congress? In his new book, The Freedom Agenda: Why a Balanced Budget Amendment Is Necessary to Restore Constitutional GovernmentU.S. Senator Mike Lee describes a handful of critical turning points in history when government chose power over principle and spending over common sense. He uses these examples to prove why a balanced budget amendment is the only way to rein in spendthrift politicos and cut back government overreach.
Economic GrowthBy Walter E. Williams, Hoover InstitutionHoover Digest, 07/18/2011
Black Americans have come a greater distance, over some of the highest hurdles, in a shorter period of time than any other racial group. That progress speaks well not only for the sacrifices and fortitude of a people but also for a nation in which the gains were possible. However, if one listens to spokesmen for civil rights organizations, self-anointed black leaders, and various politicians, one would get a different impression about black progress. Despite frequent assertions to the contrary, many of the seemingly intractable problems encountered by a significant number of black Americans do not result from racial discrimination. Instead, most problems are self-inflicted or a result of policies, regulations, and restrictions emanating from federal, state, and local governments. In other words, market restrictions are a far more important limitation on black socioeconomic progress than racial discrimination.
Budget & TaxationBy Iain Murray, Regnery PublishingBook, 07/18/2011
Remember when we used to call government employees “public servants”? They’re servants no more—now they’re bureaucratic masters of the universe, claiming inflated salaries and early retirement with unparalleled pensions and benefits. Like true bureaucrats, they like to scurry around in the dark, doing their mischief outside of public scrutiny. But no longer: author Iain Murray knows all about bureaucrats and their lairs, because he used to be one himself. In Stealing You Blind he blows the whistle on the out-of-control bureaucracy whose greed could actually tip our country into a financial abyss. This book is filled with devastating facts about how government workers are living large off the rest of us and driving our country to financial ruin. Stealing You Blind is a rousing call to reclaim our rights as taxpayers and save our economy from the bureaucrats who are choking it to death for their own benefit.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Leif Eckholm, Hoover InstitutionHoover Digest, 07/18/2011
Among the United States’ Arab allies, none is more important than Saudi Arabia, and none is more controversial. The invaluable security partnership, birthed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and King Abdul-Aziz in 1945, has endured despite a clash of values and cultures. Now, as Arab leaders from Tunisia to Yemen fight, flee, or face unprecedented political pressure, the United States must ask itself whether it can support democratic hopes in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya while settling for stability in Saudi Arabia. Or should it more forcefully pressure the Saudis on political reform? With its influence, America can promote change. Washington should proceed cautiously, yet deliberately, to inspire meaningful reform in Saudi Arabia to preserve this long-standing partnership and protect U.S. interests in the Middle East.
EducationBy Terry M. Moe, Hoover InstitutionHoover Digest, 07/18/2011
The purpose of the American public school system is to educate children. And because this is so, everything about the public schools should be decided with the best interests of children in mind. But this isn’t what happens. In New York City, for example, the district is wasting millions of dollars because the rules it is required to follow prevent it from quickly, easily, and inexpensively removing low-performing teachers from the classroom. New York’s education policies may seem unusual, but this kind of problem is actually common throughout the nation. Such poorly-designed policies don’t happen by accident. Rather, they happen by design, and it is the all-powerful teachers’ unions that influence this design more than any other group in American society.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Peter J. Wallison, American Enterprise InstituteFinancial Services Outlook, 07/18/2011
The New Deal failed to reduce unemployment, and the policies of the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress since the financial crisis look to be a repeat performance. These similar outcomes seem to rest on a similarity in policies. In both cases, the administration and Congress blamed the private market for the state of the economy when they assumed power, and in both cases they sought to impose needless and badly thought out regulations on private business activity. The result was to raise the private sector’s perception of future risk and suppress the employment gains that come in a normal recovery.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy William Ratliff, Hoover InstitutionHoover Digest, 07/18/2011
It took only a few weeks for the “Arab spring” to oust or threaten several perennial strongmen and to leave authoritarian and proto-authoritarian leaders as far away as China and Nicaragua scrambling to fortify domestic security. The political tsunami that began in Tunisia and Egypt—and then washed over Libya, Yemen, Syria, and elsewhere—was precipitated by outspoken demonstrators demanding greater freedom, dignity, democracy, and better living conditions for the poor and repressed. These goals, however, will not be easily realized. The would-be democratizers must confront, above all, the potential barrier of culture. The hope, humiliation, and rage evident in so much of the Arab/Islamic world today are faces of a culture, a religion, and a region once in the vanguard of world civilizations but which over the centuries fell farther and farther behind the world’s most dynamic modernizing nations and cultures.
Budget & TaxationBy Brett Narloch, North Dakota Policy CouncilReport, 07/18/2011
Rather than lawmakers giving North Dakota tax-payers welcome relief, budget surpluses in the North Dakota state budget have led to dramatic spending increases. This second edition of Moving Forward: A North Dakotan’s Guide to Public Policy, is the road map for fiscal conservatives interested in reining in growing state and local governments. It does this by addressing short-term and long-term plans which include recommendations pertaining to government spending, property rights, health care and pension reform.
WelfareBy Robert Rector, Rachel Sheffield, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 07/18/2011
For decades, the U.S. Census Bureau has reported that over 30 million Americans were living in “poverty,” but the bureau’s definition of poverty differs widely from that held by most Americans. In fact, other government surveys show that most of the persons whom the government defines as “in poverty” are not poor in any ordinary sense of the term. The overwhelming majority of the poor have air conditioning, cable TV, and a host of other modern amenities. They are well housed, have an adequate and reasonably steady supply of food, and have met their other basic needs, including medical care. Some poor Americans do experience significant hardships, including temporary food shortages or inadequate housing, but these individuals are a minority within the overall poverty population. Poverty remains an issue of serious social concern, but accurate information about that problem is essential in crafting wise public policy.
Health CareBy Grace-Marie Turner, Galen InstituteTestimony, 07/18/2011
Just like the federal government, states are desperate to find savings to get their budgets in balance. Unfortunately, Medicaid spending has nearly doubled over the last decade, and for most states it consumes the first or second biggest share of state expenditures; this threatens funding for education, public safety, and transportation programs. In order for states to balance their budgets they need—in Medicare, in the private health sector, and in Medicaid—more flexibility, more transparency, and better incentives to provide affordable, quality care. The states can be the power centers in charting a new path to redesign their Medicaid programs to provide better services at lower costs.
EducationBy Jay P. Greene, Encounter BooksBook, 07/18/2011
Expanding school choice and competition is the most important action America can take to improve her schools. Although school choice faces strong opposition from powerful teachers unions and their entrenched political allies, expanding choice through vouchers, charters, and tax credits has repeatedly been shown to improve student achievement, reduce segregation, promote civic values, and facilitate other productive reforms. In Why America Needs School Choice, author Jay P. Greene outlines the case for school choice and shows how it is the most appealing strategy for anyone who is serious about educational reform.
Economic GrowthBy John H. Makin, American Enterprise InstituteEconomic Outlook, 07/18/2011
After following two rounds of monetary and fiscal stimulus, the United States is relearning that neither monetary nor fiscal policy is likely to have long-lasting effects on growth or unemployment. The tepid growth of US output and employment in response to two rounds of monetary and fiscal stimulus since 2008 suggests that a third round of either monetary or fiscal stimulus in 2011 would lead primarily to higher inflation and a higher ratio of government debt to gross domestic product (GDP) in 2012. Rather than enacting further stimulus, the Federal Reserve should aim for lower, steadier inflation, and Congress and the president should cut spending and reduce tax expenditures to finance lower tax rates and reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Grant Bosse, Josiah Bartlett Center for Public PolicyReport, 07/15/2011
In 2008, New Hampshire joined a ten-state regional compact designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through a cap-and-trade program on electric generation facilities. The stated purpose of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from fossil-fuel burning power plants in the ten-state region by 10% by 2018. This report examines how that program has been implemented in New Hampshire over the past two years, how much revenue has been generated from the sale of carbon allowances, and how New Hampshire officials have spent that money.
Comparative Effectiveness Reviews: Quantitative Analysis of Research and Development Investment EffectsBy Benjamin Zycher, Pacific Research InstitutePRI Study, 07/15/2011
Because federal policy makers have powerful incentives to restrain the growth of federal health care outlays, an expanded federal role will engender behavioral responses from the private sector driven by expectations of how comparative effectiveness review (CER) findings will be used. The report suggests that an expanded CER process at the federal level—a top-down process—may be unwise in a policy context, and that a renewed emphasis upon a “bottom up” approach of experimentation by many millions of practitioners and patients would be a more fruitful vehicle for the acquisition of information about the comparative effectiveness of alternative clinical approaches.
Budget & TaxationBy Ernest Istook, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 07/15/2011
A proposed balanced budget amendment (BBA) to the Constitution is set to be considered by Congress this July—the first such vote since 1997. The BBA is a powerful proposal that attracts great vitriol from the American Left, which recognizes it as an enormous threat to its big-government ways—perhaps the greatest threat. For that reason, the history of Congress’s work on a BBA is full of frustrations, high-profile defections, reversals, and betrayals. This paper discusses that history. It also describes some of the milquetoast versions and amendments that have been offered to gut the BBA while providing political cover for those who are unwilling to support a robust version.
Budget & TaxationBy Peter J. Nelson, Center of the American ExperimentPolicy in Detail, 07/15/2011
This memo uses the state of Minnesota to illustrate that state income tax rates matter much more today than they did in the 1970s. When Minnesota implemented higher rates in the 1970s, other aspects of the state and federal tax laws offset the anti-competitive pressure of Minnesota’s higher tax rates. That is no longer the case. Tax policy changes in the 1980s and the 1990s reduced the value of state and federal income tax deductions that allowed top earners in the 1970s to offset Minnesota’s high income tax rates. Without that same offset, today’s state income tax rates impose greater pressure on top earners and their employers to avoid Minnesota. If Minnesota is to move forward with a strong economy, it must replace its 1970s tax system with a pro-growth 21st century tax system that recognizes the enhanced competitive benefits that low tax rates offer today.
The Constitution/Civil LibertiesBy Robert Morrison, Family Research CouncilBooklet, 07/15/2011
The Founders of our country considered religious liberty our “first freedom.” In their view, it was the bedrock upon which all other freedoms rest. This is because they understood that one’s right to worship God and follow his conscience according to the principles of his religious faith was foundational to all morality. In his Farewell Address, Washington wrote, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports.” It is to uphold these great and perpetual truths that the Family Research Council, through the pen of historian Robert Morrison, has published What the Founders Really Did on Religious Liberty: “Deeds not Words.”