- Budget & Taxation
- Crime, Justice & the Law
- The Constitution
- Economic & Political Thought
- Economic Growth
- Elections, Transparency, & Accountability
- Family, Culture & Community
- Foreign Policy/ International Affairs
- Health Care
- Information Technology
- International Trade & Finance
- Monetary Policy/ Financial Regulation
- National Security
- Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & Science
- Regulation & Deregulation
- Retirement/ Social Security
- Transportation & Infrastructure
- Acton Institute
- Adam Smith Institute
- Alabama Policy Institute
- Allegheny Institute
- Alliance for School Choice
- Alliance for Worker Freedom
- America’s Future Foundation
- American Council on Science and Health
- American Enterprise Institute
- American Institute for Full Employment
- American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)
- Americans for Tax Reform
- Arkansas Policy Foundation
- Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs
- Atlas Economic Research Foundation
- Atlas Society
- Beacon Center of Tennessee
- Beacon Hill Institute
- Becket Fund
- Bluegrass Institute
- Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions
- Business & Media Institute
- Calvert Institute
- Cascade Policy Institute
- Cato Institute
- Center for Consumer Freedom
- Center for College Affordability and Productivity
- Center for Equal Opportunity
- Center for Health Transformation
- Center for Immigration Studies
- Center for International Private Enterprise
- Center for Strategic and International Studies
- Center of the American Experiment
- Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation
- Citizens Against Government Waste
- Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy
- Club For Growth
- Commonwealth Foundation
- Competitive Enterprise Institute
- Council for Affordable Health Insurance
- Empire Center for New York State Policy
- Ethan Allen Institute
- Evergreen Freedom Foundation
- Federalist Society
- Foreign Policy Research Institute
- Fraser Institute
- Foundation for Defense of Democracies
- Foundation for Educational Choice
- Foundation for Education Reform & Accountability
- Foundation for Research on Economics & the Environment
- Free Congress Foundation
- Free State Foundation
- Galen Institute
- Georgia Public Policy Foundation
- Goldwater Institute
- Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
- Great Plains Public Policy Institute
- Heartland Institute
- The Heritage Foundation
- Heritage Libertad
- Hoover Institution
- Hudson Institute
- Illinois Policy Institute
- IMANI Center for Policy & Education
- Independence Institute
- Independent Institute
- Institute for Health Freedom
- Institute for Energy Research
- Institute for Humane Studies
- Institute for Justice
- Institute for Market Economics
- Institute for Marriage and Public Policy
- Institute for Policy Innovation
- Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation
- Institute of Economic Affairs
- Intercollegiate Studies Institute
- International Policy Network
- International Republican Institute
- James Madison Institute
- John Jay Institute for Faith, Society & Law
- John Locke Foundation
- Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy
- Kansas Policy Institute
- Landmark Legal Foundation
- Leadership Institute
- Lexington Institute
- Mackinac Center for Public Policy
- Maine Heritage Policy Center
- Manhattan Institute
- Maryland Public Policy Institute
- Mercatus Center
- Mississippi Center for Public Policy
- National Center for Policy Analysis
- National Center for Public Policy Research
- National Taxpayers Union
- Nevada Policy Research Institute
- North Dakota Policy Council
- Ocean State Policy Research Institute
- Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs
- Pacific Research Institute
- Palmetto Family Council
- PERC - The Property and Environment Research Center
- Philanthropy Roundtable
- Phoenix Center
- Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research
- Progress & Freedom Foundation
- Property Rights Alliance
- Public Interest Institute
- Public Policy Foundation of West Virginia
- Reason Foundation
- Rio Grande Foundation
- Sam Adams Alliance
- Science and Public Policy Institute
- Show-Me Institute
- South Carolina Policy Council
- State Policy Network
- Sutherland Institute
- The Tax Foundation
- Texas Public Policy Foundation
- Thomas B. Fordham Foundation
- Thomas Jefferson Institute
- Virginia Institute for Public Policy
- Washington Legal Foundation
- Washington Policy Center
- Wisconsin Policy Research Institute
- Yankee Institute for Public Policy
- Young America’s Foundation
Recent Policy Studies
Budget & TaxationBy Jason Delisle, Christopher Papagianis, e21: Economic Policies for the 21st CenturyCommentary, 03/29/2012
Some lawmakers have questioned whether the Export-Import Bank should still be wading so heavily into private markets – effectively picking winners and losers with its loans and loan guarantees. Defenders of the bank argue that the programs simultaneously help create domestic jobs and level the playing field with international competitors. Another key argument for supporters is that not only does the bank serve those ends at no cost to taxpayers, but it actually earns a profit. The problem with that last claim – which lawmakers to date have not focused in on – is that the Export-Import Bank’s profits are almost surely an accounting illusion. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has cautioned policymakers that the government’s official accounting rules effectively force budget analysts to understate the cost of loan programs like those managed by the Export-Import Bank.
Economic GrowthBy Proxy Monitor, Manhattan InstituteProxy Monitor, 03/29/2012
In 2011, the Manhattan Institute launched its ProxyMonitor.org database, which catalogs shareholder proposals at America’s largest companies. Drawing upon information from the database, the Manhattan Institute has been examining a growing trend in shareholder activism wherein investors attempt to influence management and corporate practices through the shareholder voting process, sometimes in ways not directly related to maintaining or increasing shareholder value.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Peter J. Boettke, Independent InstituteBook, 03/29/2012
This lively book illuminates how economics affects all walks of life, whether in the marketplace, voting booth, church, family, or any human activity. Boettke believes that economics is not merely a game to be played by clever professionals, but a discipline that touches on the most pressing practical issues at any historical juncture. The wealth and poverty of nations are at stake; the length and quality of life turns on the economic conditions individuals find themselves living with. So teaching and learning economics are high stakes ventures. Along the way he introduces us to major thinkers: from Smith, Say, and Bastiat of the Classical School, to Neoclassical and Austrian scholars (Menger, Mises, Hayek, Kirzner, and Rothbard) on to New Institutional economists (Alchian, Coase, Demsetz, North, Ostrom and Williamson) and Public Choice theorists (Buchanan, Tullock, and others). This engaging and reasoned book is a must-read for economists, students, and everyone else who wishes to better understand economics.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Daniel Hannan, The Heritage FoundationHeritage Lecture, 03/29/2012
The United States was born out of a popular revolt against a distant and autocratic government, and its model has always been based around the maximum decentralization and democratization of power. Now that model is being abandoned. The policies currently being pursued amount to a comprehensive program of Europeanization—European welfare, health care, taxes, carbon levies, unemployment rates, and foreign policy. The community of free English-speaking democracies is the standing, permanent coalition of the willing, but it depends on America’s commitment and America’s keeping true to the Anglo–American common law heritage of freedom, parliamentary rule, and personal liberty without which America is made less exceptional, poorer and darker.
The Constitution/Civil LibertiesBy Thomas Berg, The Heritage FoundationFirst Principles, 03/29/2012
Freedom of religion is at the heart of the American understanding of liberty. Under our constitutional order, the free exercise of religion is not a mere matter of toleration but an inalienable natural right. As George Washington explained in his famous letter to the Hebrew Congregation at Newport: “All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights.” There are, of course, some limits to the free exercise of religion. Citizens cannot invoke the First Amendment to break general laws (although exemptions may be granted). But within the confines of the law, all citizens have the same right of conscience.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy David Muhlhausen, Christina Villegas, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 03/29/2012
Despite the fact that each state has statutes that punish domestic violence, the federal government intervened in 1994 with the Violence Against Women Act. The Senate is now expected to consider the newest reauthorization of the act—S. 1925—which includes radical changes that greatly alter the original purpose of the law, already problematic in its own right. Using federal agencies to fund the routine operations of domestic violence programs that state and local governments could provide is a misuse of federal resources and a distraction from concerns that truly are the province of the federal government. Simply expanding the Violence Against Women Act framework with extensive new provisions and programs that have been inadequately assessed is sure to facilitate waste, fraud, and abuse and will not better protect women or victims of violence generally.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy W. Kip Viscusi, Cato InstituteRegulation, 03/29/2012
The report card on the performance of product liability law is mixed. In some instances tort liability does serve a potentially risk-reducing role by fostering new safety measures. However, the safety-enhancing role of liability fails to be realized in general because of fundamental deficiencies in product liability law and the way such cases are handled by the courts. In particular, courts make excessive and unpredictable awards and stumble when faced with uncertainties. New products posing uncertain risks are especially hard hit so that product liability often serves as a barrier to innovations that would reduce accidents.
WelfareBy Jeffrey S. Wolfe, Dale D. Glendening, Cato InstituteRegulation, 03/29/2012
The Social Security Act and the outdated jurisprudence underlying the current hearings and appeals system demand change—change that must be a result of both agency and congressional initiative.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Andrew A. Schwart, Cato InstituteRegulation, 03/29/2012
Section 301 of the Credit CARD Act, which denies credit cards to those age 18–20, should be repealed. After much discussion in the 1960s and 1970s, our society rejected the ancient common-law rule that one is an infant until age 21, and coalesced around the view that legal adulthood begins at 18. That consensus has not changed. Hence, by raising the age of contractual capacity to 21, section 301 contradicts the well-established preferences of the public as well as the strong public policy favoring entrepreneurship. Just as 18-year-olds are deemed by the law to be sufficiently mature to enter into any other contract—and mature enough to be drafted, vote, serve as a juror, and be sentenced to death—then, a fortiori, they are mature enough to hold a credit card.
Budget & TaxationBy Patrick Louis Knudsen, The Heritage FoundationIssue Brief, 03/28/2012
The Republican Study Committee has once again pushed the outside of the fiscal envelope, presenting a budget that reaches balance in just five years—twice as fast as the group’s proposal a year ago—through entitlement reforms, deep spending reductions, and no tax increases. This aggressive plan incorporates many elements of the House Budget Committee resolution, in some cases going further toward cutting spending. The Republican Study Committee budget is a highly ambitious effort that moves as far and fast toward its goals as seems possible. It is not a perfect plan. It falls short in substantiating all its significant spending cuts with adequate substantive policy detail. But it draws another clear, sharp contrast with the President’s vision of ever-expanding government, higher spending, and more debt.
Economic GrowthBy Ronald Coase, Ning Wang, Institute of Economic AffairsBook, 03/28/2012
How China Became Capitalist details the extraordinary, and often unanticipated, journey that China has taken over the past thirty five years in transforming itself from a closed agrarian socialist economy to an indomitable economic force in the international arena. It also challenges received wisdom about the future of the Chinese economy, warning that while China has enormous potential for further growth, the future is clouded by the government’s monopoly of ideas and power. Coase and Wang argue that the development of a market for ideas – which has a long and revered tradition in China – would be integral in bringing about the Chinese dream of social harmony.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Deepak Lal, Institute of Economic AffairsBook, 03/28/2012
Society is cracking. Lurching from economic disaster to social decay, our modern-day life is plagued by sickness. Deepak Lal, world-renowned economist, tackles the hidden roots of our problems in his visionary book Lost Causes. Providing a completely new framework for socio-economic understanding, Lal challenges the received wisdom with a sure voice and shows how those in power have forgotten to take care of some of the fundamentals of everyday life. From a faltering National Health Service to the war on drugs, Lal reveals to the world the lost causes in its current malaise.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Terry L. Anderson, Brandon Scarborough, Lawrence R. Watson, RoutledgeBook, 03/28/2012
Tapping Water Markets is about the past, present, and future of water markets. It compares water markets with political water allocation, documents the growth of water markets, and explores the ways in which water markets can be improved and implemented further. This book provides up-to-date information of where and why water shortages are occurring and where and why water markets are evolving to resolve conflicting water uses. Though the main focus is on the United States, it includes examples from other parts of the world to show how water markets are beginning to thrive. It contains institutional detail that is accessible to people who are not economic or hydrologic experts, and comes alive with numerous examples and case studies of water markets.
Budget & TaxationBy Deborah D. Thornton, Public Interest InstitutePolicy Study, 03/28/2012
Local and city governments have used tax increment financing since the 1950s to promote economic development. Tax increment financing areas are supposed to be “blighted” or otherwise unattractive to investors and thus in need of government support to become productively “developed.” The potential moral hazard of tax increment financing is becoming apparent. Many people, both taxpaying citizens and elected officeholders, are asking questions about tax increment financing benefits. In many ways the questions reflect the local impact of negative bailout and crony capitalism decisions at the national level.
Budget & TaxationBy Anthony B. Sanders, Mercatus CenterTestimony, 03/28/2012
The Choice Neighborhoods Bill calls for $350 million in 2012 for competitive grants to revitalize distressed neighborhoods. This is another move towards private-public partnerships like we have with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage giants in conservatorship. Private-public partnerships sound like a “free market” solution, but they are not. In 2010, the grant recipients were housing authorities where $22 million per development was common. Now the idea is to open up the grants for nonprofits and for-profit developers to join hands with public housing authorities to deliver the same public housing solution that has been a failure for decades.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Byron Schlomach, Goldwater InstitutePolicy Brief, 03/28/2012
Pharmaceutical sales are coming under criticism based on what appear to be legitimate but rare abuses of pharmaceutical salespeople promising more from a drug than they should and doctors allowing themselves to be pressured into prescribing. Unfortunately, these isolated incidents are being held up as evidence of the need for vast new government intrusion and regulation of the pharmaceutical industry’s marketing practices. While certainly well intentioned, these efforts are likely to negatively affect doctors and patients.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy James Phillips, The Heritage FoundationIssue Brief, 03/28/2012
In recent months, Egyptian–American relations have severely deteriorated due to Cairo’s politically motivated prosecution of several United States-funded nongovernmental organizations involved in democracy building. The fact that these civil society efforts, which were tolerated in Egypt before the fall of President Hosni Mubarak last year, now are considered criminal activities reveals the dangerous trajectory taken by Egypt’s revolution. Egypt’s transition to democracy is threatened by an unholy alliance of holdover bureaucrats, army officers, and newly empowered Islamist political parties. The Obama Administration should apply pressure on Egypt’s leaders at the highest levels to head off show trials that would poison bilateral relations and prospects for genuine democracy in the largest Arab country.
The Constitution/Civil LibertiesBy Sarah Torre, The Heritage FoundationIssue Brief, 03/27/2012
Because the health care law forces employers to provide and individuals to obtain health insurance that meets the government’s definition of “qualified” health care, the Health and Human Services mandate and future federal benefits mandates like it are inescapable. Non-exempted employers—religious or not—are stripped of the choice to avoid the services mandated under Obamacare without facing penalties. To protect religious liberty and ensure the respect of individual freedom, the mandate must be rescinded and Obamacare must be repealed.
Transportation/InfrastructureBy Robert W. Poole Jr., Thomas A. Rubin, Chris Swenson, Reason FoundationPolicy Study, 03/27/2012
Mobility in Southeast Florida has worsened dramatically over the past three decades. Today residents of this region waste 141 million hours per year delayed in congested traffic, at an estimated annual cost (in wasted time and fuel) of $3.3 billion. Unfortunately, by 2035, congestion will increase to be greater than what is experienced today in Los Angeles—the most congested metro area in America. Based on 18 months of study, the Reason Foundation proposes a comprehensive approach to improving Southeast Florida’s mobility.
National SecurityBy Matt A. Mayer, The Heritage FoundationIssue Brief, 03/27/2012
With an increase in the national response to terrorism, many people believe the principle of federalism has little utility today or that states do not have much to contribute in counterterrorism policy or activity. When it comes to domestic security, however, federalism is more relevant than ever, and the states have a vital role to play in counterterrorism. Local law enforcement agencies have the flexibility and authority to design counterterrorism programs that best fit their respective jurisdictions. With that flexibility and authority, our cities are more secure.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Anthony T. Caso, Federalist SocietyEngage, 03/26/2012
Although titled “Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act,” the scope of Proposition 65 was much broader than water pollution. Its goal was to protect Californians from exposure to cancer-causing substances and reproductive toxins. The law had a darker side, however. Instead of leaving enforcement to politically-accountable public officials, Proposition 65 allowed enforcement by “bounty hunters.” These bounty hunters could be anyone from concerned citizens or environmental groups, to groups merely seeking to cash in on a quick payoff in attorney fees and civil penalties. Indeed, the law specifically provided that a portion of the civil penalties collected in bounty-hunter actions would be paid to the group bringing the lawsuit, rather than the public treasury. These provisions provided a powerful monetary incentive to file claims alleging California businesses have failed to provide appropriate warnings—whether or not those claims had any merit.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Eamonn Butler, Institute of Economic AffairsBook, 03/26/2012
‘Market failure’ is a term widely used by politicians, journalists and university and A-level economics students and teachers. However, those who use the term often lack any sense of proportion about the ability of government to correct market failures. This arises from the lack of general knowledge–and the lack of coverage in economics syllabuses–of Public Choice economics. Public Choice economics applies realistic insights about human behavior to the process of government, and is extremely helpful for all those who have an interest in–or work in–public policy to understand this discipline. If we assume that at least some of those involved in the political process–whether elected representatives, bureaucrats, regulators, public sector workers or electors–will act in their own self-interest rather than in the general public interest, it should give us much less confidence that the government can ‘correct’ market failure.
The Constitution/Civil Liberties
A Religious Organization’s Autonomy in Matters of Self-Governance: Hosanna-Tabor and the First AmendmentBy Carl H. Esbeck, Federalist SocietyEngage, 03/26/2012
In Hosanna-Tabor, a unanimous Supreme Court took a discrete line of cases involving religious disputes and church property and enlarged on it so as to give rise to a full-throated protection of religious institutional autonomy. The Court did not assume that religious organizations act without error. But when mistakes are made of a certain subject-matter class, Hosanna-Tabor locates authority solely in the religious organization as a matter of self-governance. Far more harm than good would result if civil government were to intervene in this class of cases, harm that would flow from a disorder of relations between church and state.
Foreign Policy/International Affairs
A Threat to the West: The Rise of Islamist Insurgency in the Northern Caucasus and Russia’s Inadequate ResponseBy Ariel Cohen, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 03/26/2012
The Islamist insurgency in Russia’s Northern Caucasus threatens to turn the region into a haven for international terrorism and to destabilize the entire region, which is a critical hub of oil and gas pipelines located at Europe’s doorstep. Neither Russia’s excessive use of military force nor its massive economic aid to the region appear to have helped. The United States and its friends and allies should keep a close watch on the region. In the meantime, the United States should work with neighboring countries to improve their border security. The United States should also encourage and work with Middle Eastern countries to stop the flow of cash to the Islamist terrorist organizations.
ImmigrationBy Jessica Vaughan, Center for Immigration StudiesTestimony, 03/26/2012
The Scott Gardner Act, a bill that will facilitate the removal of illegal aliens who are arrested for drunk driving offenses, addresses a very serious gap in immigration law enforcement that enables a particularly dangerous set of individuals to remain in our communities in defiance of our laws. Although United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement has the authority to detain and remove illegal aliens in general, and has programs in place that prioritize the removal of illegal aliens who are a threat to public safety, in practice many illegal alien drunk drivers are falling between the cracks, sometimes with tragic consequences.
The Constitution/Civil LibertiesBy Thomas P. Miller, American Enterprise InstitutePolicy Study, 03/26/2012
The strongest constitutional law arguments against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate begin with the essential point that it is unprecedented and not bound by any limiting principle. It seriously threatens the concept that enumerated powers under the Constitution set some limits on the scope of permissible federal authority. The mandate also threatens to encroach on the traditional police powers reserved for state governments and may or may not be “necessary” to carry out and enforce other federal insurance regulation authorized under the new health law. But it is even less likely to be “proper” in accordance with ordinary means of execution and the letter and spirit of the Constitution’s structure that assigns powers among the federal government, the states, and the people.
Health CareBy J.D. Foster, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 03/26/2012
The President’s budget perpetuates a misleading portrayal of the true magnitude of federal spending. This is most clearly evident in the figures for Medicare spending, which the Office of Management and Budget reports as $480 billion for 2011—$80 billion less than the figure reported by the Congressional Budget Office. The Office of Management and Budget understates Medicare spending by reporting outlays net of offsetting receipts, instead of using a similar method as the Congressional Budget Office in presenting a full picture of all spending and all receipts. The Obama Administration should break with tradition by clearly showing all spending and receipts in its budget so the American people can properly gauge the width and breadth of government policy and the consequences of upcoming reforms.
Health CareBy Richard A. Epstein, David A. Hyman, Manhattan InstituteIssues, 03/26/2012
Despite the president’s promise that “you can keep your own insurance,” key Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provisions are calculated to undermine the long-term viability of the private insurance market, by making existing coverage unaffordable or unavailable at any price. Indeed, while individuals may technically be allowed to keep their plans, that protection exists in name only. Plan serial numbers may temporarily remain the same, but the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s combination of high taxes, large subsidies, and extensive mandatory contractual terms seems likely to eventually drive most private insurance plans out of business.
The Constitution/Civil LibertiesBy Mario Loyola, Josiah Neeley, Spencer Harris, Texas Public Policy FoundationPolicy Perspective, 03/26/2012
If the federal government can regulate any class of activity with a “substantial effect” on interstate commerce, it can regulate virtually all activity. If the Supreme Court strikes down the heath care mandate while upholding the rest of the law, the Affordable Care Act could unravel in spectacular fashion, pushing the health insurance industry to the brink of collapse.
The Constitution/Civil LibertiesBy Richard A. Epstein, Hoover InstitutionDefining Ideas, 03/26/2012
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is subject to the law of unintended consequences. The law may proclaim that it protects patients when it in fact it restricts the health-care options of those it’s intended to protect. The Affordable Care Act says that it will increase access to affordable care when in fact its endless mandates will drive up the cost of care. The false advertising of the Affordable Care Act’s title conceals a wealth of difficulties with its internal design, which make its scheme unsustainable in the long run.
Budget & TaxationBy Nicolas Loris, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 03/23/2012
Government spending has been spiraling upward—and spending by nearly all government agencies can, and should, be cut. President Obama has just submitted his 2013 budget request to Congress, providing fertile ground for spending cuts. The Department of Energy, with its many research, development, and grant programs offers many opportunities for savings. While there is an important role for the Department of Energy in energy security and environmental management, many Department of Energy projects fall outside its mission, supporting everything from commercialization of technologies to noncritical research—which can be conducted, usually much more efficiently, by the private sector. This paper provides a common-sense guide to saving $5.5 billion in the fiscal 2013 budget proposal while maintaining funding for the Department of Energy’s real mission of promoting national and economic energy security.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Bruce Klingner, The Heritage FoundationIssue Brief, 03/23/2012
At present, under the terms of a bilateral agreement with the United States, Seoul is precluded from developing any ballistic missile with a range greater than 300 kilometers (186 miles). Seoul’s voluntary self-restriction did not prevent North Korea from developing missiles that can reach all of South Korea. America’s critical ally should be allowed to extend its missile range to 800 kilometers (approximately the length of the Korean Peninsula) so it can have a sufficiently robust indigenous military to deter, defend, and defeat North Korean hostile actions, including a ballistic missile attack. The need is particularly acute given North Korea’s two attacks on South Korea in 2010 and Seoul’s gaining wartime operational command of its military from the United Nations Command in 2015.
National SecurityBy Jessica Zuckerman, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 03/23/2012
In February 2012, President Obama issued his fiscal 2013 budget proposal. His $59 billion request for the Department of Homeland Security is slightly lower than the enacted level for fiscal 2012. The President is to be applauded for continuing strong financial investments in border security and cybersecurity. But his budget falls short in other key areas: Important security and immigration-law-enforcement measures have been cut. The Coast Guard remains in dire need of modernization and recapitalization. And the Transportation Security Administration remains a massive, largely unhelpful, bureaucracy. Too many items in the 2013 budget reflect misplaced priorities. As the Department of Homeland Security approaches its tenth anniversary, it is time for the Administration and Congress to enhance key capabilities within the homeland security enterprise.
Health CareBy Josh D. Archambault, et al, Pioneer Institute for Public Policy ResearchBook, 03/23/2012
The Great Experiment peels back the heated rhetoric over the federal health care law and provides a serious examination of how the relationship between states and the federal government impacts health care policy decisions. The book is about much more than examining a single state experiment, or the immediate questions that may arise during a presidential campaign. Make no mistake about it: The Great Experiment lays out a market-oriented blueprint for the next decade–and seeks to do it with the wisdom and balance that come from observing and analyzing a variety of state and federal policy experiences.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Alison Suthers, Nancy Bryson, Washington Legal FoundationLegal Backgrounder, 03/23/2012
The Northern District of California recently upheld the Department of Agriculture’s deregulation of a type of genetically engineered alfalfa against a legal challenge brought by the Center for Food Safety and other plaintiffs. Before the current decision, the Center for Food Safety, a frequent plaintiff and opponent of genetically engineered foods, had successfully challenged other deregulation decisions involving genetically engineered crops in the Northern District of California using the National Environmental Policy Act. The current decision may therefore finally reflect a turn in the Department of Agriculture’s fortunes in Federal court with respect to genetic engineering. This clarification of regulatory authority could provide the biotechnology industry with additional certainty regarding future regulatory decisions.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Jonathan Klick, Joshua D. Wright, Washington Legal FoundationLegal Backgrounder, 03/23/2012
Any Willing Provider laws at the state and federal level likely lead to less competition and higher prices for consumers while providing no compensating benefits. Selective and exclusive network contracting is a fundamental part of the competitive process which leads to minimizing cost and maximizing consumer welfare. Advocates of Any Willing Provider proposals understandably seek greater consumer choice and competition among health care providers; however, Any Willing Provider laws amount to intervention in a competitive process by prohibiting efficient contracting and will ultimately be counterproductive to those goals.
The Constitution/Civil LibertiesBy Sarah Roller, Donnelly L. McDowell, Washington Legal FoundationWorking Paper, 03/23/2012
A front-of-package labeling system modeled after the Energy Star® program would pose substantial First Amendment issues. Any front-of-package labeling program must grant food marketers sufficient freedom to convey truthful information and avoid placing unnecessary restrictions on how that information is conveyed. Additionally, the front-of-package labeling program must avoid compelling speech which is not necessary to consumer use or safety. The front-of-package labeling system has the potential to stigmatize wholesome and nutrient rich products that can be part of a healthy diet, based on a “signal” that highlights solely calories and nutrients that consumers would be encouraged to avoid – added sugars, saturated and trans fats, and sodium.
Budget & TaxationBy Joseph Henchman, Tax FoundationTestimony, 03/23/2012
Film tax credits do not pay for themselves. While some benefits accrue to in-state filmmakers and suppliers, on the whole they are a net transfer from taxpayers to out-of-state production company beneficiaries. The sheer magnitude of the amounts that various states are spending to lure productions makes it very difficult for any state to gain a lasting competitive edge over the others. Programs have steadily got more generous as states outbid each other, and it is telling that two of the most generous states (Michigan and New Mexico) recently greatly scaled back their programs. Other states continue to debate film tax credits’ merits. At a minimum, film incentive programs should be required disclose credit amounts awarded by recipient, how much was spent per full-time equivalent job was created, and reviewed periodically for their effectiveness by legislative oversight or independent third parties.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Jack Spencer, The Heritage FoundationIssue Brief, 03/23/2012
Congressman Ed Whitfield (R–KY) has released legislation that would force the Obama Administration to reveal how its environmental regulations impact gasoline prices. Specifically, the Gasoline Regulations Act of 2012 would create a Transportation Fuels Regulatory Committee consisting of officials from the Departments of Energy, Transportation, Commerce, Labor, and Treasury, plus representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency, the International Trade Commission, and the Energy Information Agency. The purpose of the committee would be to report on the full economic impact of a series of Environmental Protection Agency actions on gasoline prices.