- 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
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Paul J. Larkin Jr., The Heritage FoundationIssue Brief, 05/10/2012
The Freedom from Over-Criminalization and Unjust Seizures Act would amend the Lacey Act by decriminalizing it. The criminal provisions of the Lacey Act are unreasonable because they require an American, on pain of imprisonment, to know the criminal and civil laws of every foreign country, regardless of their number and regardless of their language. It may be necessary to presume that every person knows the laws of this nation, but it is utterly unreasonable to apply that principle—which is less a principle and more a ukase—to every law of every foreign country.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Arthur C. Brooks, Basic BooksBook, 05/10/2012
Entrepreneurship, personal responsibility, and upward mobility: These traditions are at the heart of the free enterprise system, and have long been central to America’s exceptional culture. In recent years, however, policymakers have dramatically weakened these traditions – by exploding the size of government, propping up their corporate cronies, and trying to reorient our system from rewarding merit to redistributing wealth. In The Road to Freedom, Arthur C. Brooks shows that this trend cannot be reversed through materialistic appeals about the economic efficiency of capitalism. Rather, free enterprise requires a moral defense rooted in the ideals of earned success, equality of opportunity, charity, and basic fairness. Brooks builds this defense and demonstrates how it is central to understanding the major policy issues facing America today.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Michael J. Lewis, Hillsdale CollegeImprimis, 05/10/2012
For more than a century and a half, America built monuments with spectacular success. We have only been building them badly for a generation. The recent designs are perhaps an honest reflection of our divided and uncertain culture. We can do better once more.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Todd J. Zywicki, Nick Tuszynski, Federalist SocietyEngage, 05/10/2012
Regulation of overdraft protection based on unrepresentative anecdote presents the risk of injuring consumers and the safety and soundness of the banking system. As the lessons of history indicate, paternalistic regulation of consumer credit products tends to injure precisely those it is intended to help, by driving them to use less-preferred credit or reducing their access to credit generally, with all of the ancillary consequences.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Ying Ma, Hoover InstitutionDefining Ideas, 05/10/2012
Modern China is a place of incongruity. This incongruity touches every aspect of daily life, and it is evident in the now widely reported case of the blind dissident Chen Guangcheng, who has been persecuted for his advocacy on behalf of women subjected to forced abortions and forced sterilization. China’s incongruity is also apparent in that space between political dissent and silent submission, between open opposition to the regime and fearful acceptance of its edicts. Once, not too long ago, Yu Jie, another Chinese dissident and one of China’s best contemporary writers, wrote about the anger, sadness, resignation, and desperation of this incongruity. Earlier this year, China chased him away.
Economic GrowthBy Morris A. Davis, Cato InstitutePolicy Analysis, 05/10/2012
Policies designed to promote homeownership are ineffective and poorly motivated. They are also expensive: the present value of the cost of homeownership subsidies equals $2.5 trillion. The body of evidence suggests we need to unwind the current set of public policies designed to promote homeownership and rethink whether homeownership is a desirable public policy goal.
Economic GrowthBy J.D. Foster, The Heritage FoundationIssue Brief, 05/09/2012
While the trade imbalances within Europe have many causes, the prime culprit is the flawed foundation: the adoption of a single currency for all of Europe, the euro, without the political and economic trappings essential to make it work. The adoption of the euro was predicated in part on the belief the euro would lead less competitive countries, like Greece, to converge in competitiveness with more competitive countries, like Germany. It was also largely understood that this convergence must occur for the euro to survive. In fact, the opposite occurred, in part because Germany adopted useful reforms while Greece, if anything, went backward.
Budget & TaxationBy J.D. Foster, The Heritage FoundationIssue Brief, 05/09/2012
The nation faces an unprecedented tidal wave of tax hikes on January 1, 2013. Aptly called “Taxmageddon,” at nearly $500 billion the tax hike is so massive that it has accomplished what many regarded as impossible: consensus. There is broad agreement that at least most of this tax hike must be prevented. The debate is really only about how much and when. The correct two-step sequencing Congress should embrace is to prevent all tax hikes now while working on and for tax reform in 2013.
Budget & Taxation
Taxation of Online Travel Services: Lawsuits Generally Not Succeeding In Effort to Expand Hotel TaxesBy Joseph Henchman, Tax FoundationSpecial Report, 05/09/2012
Local officials in 25 states and the District of Columbia have sought to reinterpret hotel occupany tax ordinances to apply to amounts paid by consumers to online travel booking services, with limited success. Online travel companies have prevailed in cases in 18 states, while governments have prevailed in cases in 3 states and the District of Columbia. Cases are pending in 5 states.
Budget & TaxationBy Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Manhattan InstituteIssues, 05/09/2012
Raising taxes on any single industry causes distortions and economic dislocations in that industry. Raising taxes on a large and productive industry such as oil and natural gas would have widespread effects throughout the economy. Among the many losers from higher oil and gas taxes would be the millions of Americans with retirement accounts. As it turns out, the owners of the largest oil and gas companies are not primarily a few wealthy individuals. The owners are millions of ordinary Americans who invest their retirement savings in funds that own large shares of American oil and gas companies.
Budget & TaxationBy Fergus Hodgson, John Locke FoundationSpotlight, 05/09/2012
North Carolina’s total state spending per capita is at its highest level ever in the 2012 fiscal year and has more than tripled since 1970—from $1,701 to an authorized $5,247. The state’s cash-basis accounting conceals spending and is generating unfunded liabilities—obligations to pay without sufficient funds set aside. The state’s largest is for employee retirement health benefits, unfunded by at least $34.2 billion at the end of 2010.
National SecurityBy Steven P. Bucci, Jessica Zuckerman, The Heritage FoundationIssue Brief, 05/09/2012
At least 51 publicly known terrorist plots against the United States have been thwarted since September 11, 2001. While al-Qaeda’s terrorist networks have become increasingly dismantled and their leadership decimated, the terrorist network and its affiliates continue to seek to harm the United States. Protecting the nation requires not only robust international and domestic intelligence and counterterrorism to stop attempted terrorist plots early, but also a continued commitment to combating global terrorism and insurgency.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Dean Cheng, The Heritage FoundationIssue Brief, 05/08/2012
The Bo Xilai scandal is at least as much about the implicit threat of populism to the consensus-oriented leadership policies of the Chinese Communist Party as it is the tale of one exceedingly ambitious politician. It reflects the importance of better American understanding of China’s leadership structure and reinforces the need for maintaining consistent policies.
National SecurityBy Paul Rosenzweig, The Heritage FoundationIssue Brief, 05/08/2012
As the House began its consideration of cybersecurity legislation last month, there was reason to be optimistic about the course that the House Leadership and the House Intelligence Committee had set. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, as it went to the floor, was imperfect to be sure, but it had many virtues: simplicity of conception, ease of understanding, and, most importantly, an intent to incentivize and energize the sharing of critical cybersecurity threat and vulnerability information between the private sector and the government. The bill that passed the House last week differs from the one that went to the floor. And while the effort remains a laudable one, it must in candor be said that the end product of House deliberations is disappointing when compared to the bill as originally proposed.
Family, Culture & CommunityBy Ryan T. Anderson, The Heritage FoundationIssue Brief, 05/08/2012
House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan is being criticized by the secular and religious left for comments he made about the role his Catholic faith played in crafting his budget. The most outrageous criticism is that it played any role at all. The reactions to Ryan’s comments should call to mind three important things: (1) religious values should be welcomed in the public square, (2) not all religious values are based on divine revelation, and (3) translating moral principles into policy requires both prudence and technical expertise.
Budget & TaxationBy Curtis S. Dubay, The Heritage FoundationIssue Brief, 05/08/2012
President Obama is campaigning heavily for Congress to prevent the lapsing of a special low-interest rate on student loans. Specifically, unless deferred, the interest rate will rise from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on federal Stafford student loans issued after July 1. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has proposed to offset the cost of continuing to subsidize these loans by raising taxes on small businesses to the tune of $9 billion over 10 years. This is the latest in a series of tax increases on small businesses pursued by both President Obama and Reid. It would set a dangerous tax policy precedent that Congress should reject.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Kim R. Holmes, et al., The Heritage FoundationHeritage Lecture, 05/08/2012
Even before taking office, President Obama began laying out the tenets of a doctrine that would enable his Administration to remake America as one nation among many, with no singular claim to responsibility or exceptionalism. These tenets include a more humble engagement with the world and more reliance on others, as well as treaties and international organizations, to deal with global crises and threats to our security. Has the Obama Doctrine made America and the world more secure? The withdrawal of United States forces from Iraq and Afghanistan has been accelerated, Iran is dangerously close to possessing nuclear weapons, “leading from behind” has helped to make the outcomes of the “Arab Spring” uncertain, and even America’s allies in Europe worry about the Administration’s “pivot to Asia.”
National SecurityBy Joseph McGee, Hoover InstitutionHoover Digest, 05/08/2012
Following the laws of warfare and instilling the importance of ethical conduct in our soldiers are critical forces in a counterinsurgency. The actions of our armed forces, often carried out by its youngest members, do much to bestow legitimacy on our presence; this legitimacy is a critical foundation for success.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Kenneth Anderson, Hoover InstitutionHoover Digest, 05/08/2012
The challenge for United States policymakers is not how to disrupt the United Nations’ happy equilibrium—this won’t happen. The challenge, instead, is to figure out how to engage that happy equilibrium with eyes wide open about its nature—where to use it to do things the United States could not do itself, where to press it to more efficient activity, and where just to work to disengage and contain its damage.
Economic GrowthBy Mark Harrison, Hoover InstitutionHoover Digest, 05/08/2012
In 1985, economist David Henderson coined the phrase “do-it-yourself economics.” These, he argued, were the practical ideas that ordinary people use to understand the economic world around them. In the world of do-it-yourself economics, he noted, public spending and exports are good because they create jobs; factories that produce things are more deserving of support than offices that produce intangible services; cheap goods made by foreigners threaten our jobs; and whatever is wrong, it is the government’s duty to do something. Do-it-yourself economics is alive and well in many countries. Three examples: hostility to banking, support for revenge taxation, and demands for more fiscal stimulus.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Roger Meiners, Andrew Morriss, PERC – The Property and Environment Research CenterPERC Policy Series, 05/08/2012
Silent Spring is a beautifully crafted but ultimately flawed polemic. It performed a public service in warning against the misuse of chemical pesticides‚ but it is marred by its overreliance on anecdotes rather than systematic analysis of data on hand. The book is weakened by gaps such as its silence on smoking as a possible cause of the increase in cancer death rates and the potential benefits of chemical pesticides for both humanity and the rest of nature. Unfortunately‚ its influence on modern environmental thought encourages some of the most destructive strains within environmentalism: alarmism‚ technophobia‚ failure to consider the costs and benefits of alternatives‚ and the discounting of human well-being around the world.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Kevin Mooney, Capital Research CenterGreen Watch, 05/08/2012
Twenty years ago a United Nations conference in Rio de Janeiro issued a call for worldwide action against global warming. United States environmental groups enthusiastically made it their cause. But now the global warming agenda is on hold, and environmentalists have gone back to the drawing board. Green groups are repackaging their old anti-energy and population control agenda under a new name. Their watchword: “Sustainability.”
Economic and Political ThoughtBy James Robison, Jay W. Richards, Hachette Book GroupBook, 05/08/2012
Many books have been written on conservative politics. Many more have been written calling Christians to holiness and spiritual revival. Few, however, have managed to combine a clear explanation of the conservative political perspective with its corresponding personal and spiritual virtue. In Indivisible, the authors tackle tough, controversial political issues facing conservative Christians today, including abortion, stem cell research, education, economics, health care, the environment, judicial activism, marriage, and others. Written to appeal to a broad spectrum of believers, Indivisible not only argues political questions from a Scriptural standpoint, it also provides simple arguments that Christians can use to support their beliefs in public settings.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., Thomas Nelson PublishersBook, 05/08/2012
As a political movement, Liberalism is dead. Its acolytes do not have the numbers. They do not have the policies. After the 2008 election, they showed their true colors. Faced with an entitlement crisis, they actually rang up additional trillion dollar deficits. We now face the entitlement crisis and a budget crisis, and the Liberals have no answer for them beyond tax and spend. They still have support in the media, but even here they are faced with opposition from Fox News, talk radio, and the Internet. Since its larval days in the 1950s, Conservatism has been on the rise, and its adherents have become far more numerous than those of Liberalism. Why? The vast majority of Americans favor free enterprise and personal liberty. In The Death of Liberalism, R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. analyzes who’s right and what went wrong. And, in the process, he outlines a conservative agenda for the “next ascendancy.”
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Paul Larkin, The Heritage FoundationLegal Memorandum, 05/08/2012
With regard to the Lacey Act, The Heritage Foundation and the Union of Concerned Scientists can agree on one point: The act should be enforced through the civil justice system or the administrative process. In a recent paper, however, the Union of Concerned Scientists has emerged as a vocal advocate for criminal enforcement of the Lacey Act, an untenable position that, given Heritage’s staunch opposition to overcriminalization, demands a response. The Foundation’s position is clear: Not only would criminal enforcement of the Lacey Act result in miscarriages of justice, but such enforcement is unnecessary. Before wielding the big stick of a criminal prosecution against its citizens, America must answer several critical questions concerning the Lacey Act.
Regulation & DeregulationBy James L. Gattuso, The Heritage FoundationIssue Brief, 05/08/2012
America’s truckers are known for their independence, often driving alone in their rigs from one end of the country to the other. Now Congress wants to give them company in the form of an electronic “big brother.” Under a provision buried in the 600-page transportation bill recently passed by the Senate, truckers large and small would be required to buy and maintain “electronic on-board recorders” that would document their travel time and distance. The annual cost to truckers and trucking firms: $2 billion. This is an unnecessary burden on the smallest of America’s small businesses that provides few if any safety benefits. When congressional conferees meet to craft a final transportation bill, they should leave this proposed federal mandate on the roadside.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy Amanda Griffin-Johnson, Illinois Policy InstituteGovernment Reform Brief, 05/08/2012
In fiscal year 2011, the state of Illinois handed out more than $1.1 billion to nonprofit organizations across the state in the form of 1,636 grants. While taxpayers can access online how much money was spent on these grants, it’s difficult for them to find out what the grants were for and if the grants achieved their goals. At a time when state resources are scarce, it’s especially important for taxpayers and lawmakers alike to know how state dollars are being spent.
EducationBy Amanda Griffin-Johnson, et al., Illinois Policy InstituteReport, 05/08/2012
State education funding is designed to ensure a base amount of money is available to every student in Illinois. To that end, the state strives to send more money to poor districts and less money to districts with a healthy property tax base. But a bird’s eye view of Illinois education spending reveals that the state’s intention of sending dollars to poor districts is blunted by the state’s obligation to pay local teachers’ pensions.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy L. Steven Grasz, Federalist SocietyWhite Paper, 05/08/2012
Despite the asserted political influence in the current merit selection process in Nebraska, some maintain that the system can be reformed to meet its intended purpose. This paper identifies specific reforms that could reduce the amount of political influence and control by special interest groups, and establish a more transparent system with procedural safeguards, checks, and balances. These reforms fall under two broad categories: selection of the nominating commission members and conduct of commission proceedings. The goal of these proposed reforms is to enhance the integrity and accountability of the judicial selection process while increasing public respect for the judicial system and, thereby, the rule of law.
LaborBy Richard Vedder, Matthew Denhart, Jonathan Robe, Buckeye Institute for Public Policy SolutionsReport, 05/08/2012
Unlike most southern and western states, Ohio has no right-to-work law. Such laws lower labor costs, increase business investment, and tend to increase income levels. The evidence for Ohio suggests that a majority of Ohio’s substandard performance with respect to economic growth since the late 1970s would have been eliminated if a right-to-work law had been adopted several decades ago. Ohio’s overall growth rate has been abysmal in recent decades, and the passage of right-to-work laws would end monopolistic practices in labor markets that have been an important factor in the state’s economic stagnation. Moreover, the cost of doing so would be trivial.
EducationBy Richard A. Epstein, Hoover InstitutionDefining Ideas, 05/08/2012
The United States government has become the biggest single player in financing higher education in the country. The relationship is troubled on both sides as government lenders typically do not have much information about their borrowers. Nor are they skilled at monitoring student progress or in collecting on loans that fall into default. The rational response to the dismal level of government performance would be to tamp down on subsidized loans.
Economic GrowthBy Randal O’Toole, Cato InstituteBook, 05/08/2012
The American Dream turned into a nightmare when the housing bubble burst, and people have been trying to figure out who to blame – Greedy bankers? Corrupt politicians? Ignorant homeowners? In American Nightmare: How Government Undermines the Dream of Homeownership, Randal O’Toole explores the forces at play in the housing market and shows how we can rebuild the American dream of homeownership by eliminating federal, state, and local policies that distort the free market for housing.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Jonathan Schanzer, Steven Miller, Foundation for Defense of DemocraciesPolicy Study, 05/07/2012
Since the September 11 attacks of 2001, Saudi Arabia has undertaken efforts to curb state-sanctioned Islamic radicalism and xenophobia. However, some elements of the sanctioned establishment, coupled with a number of unsanctioned clerics, continue to produce rulings and opinions that run counter to United States interests. The good news is that this problem has been reduced somewhat. The bad news is that the problem still exists. More worrisome is the fact that many clerics with radical views are flocking to social media and have ever-growing numbers of followers.
Budget & TaxationBy Patrick Louis Knudsen, The Heritage FoundationIssue Brief, 05/07/2012
The spending reduction plan in the United States House of Representatives—formally called budget “reconciliation”—takes an important step toward fixing two huge budget and policy dilemmas facing Congress: the crude, across-the-board spending cuts mandated by last year’s debt ceiling agreement, and the unsustainable growth of entitlement spending, which threatens to overwhelm the budget and suffocate the economy.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Paul J. Larkin Jr., The Heritage FoundationIssue Brief, 05/07/2012
An article by Jon Adler at the Police: The Law Enforcement Magazine Website, written on behalf of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, is quite critical of the recently introduced Freedom from Over-Criminalization and Unjust Seizures Act of 2012. The thrust of the article is that the Freedom from Over-Criminalization and Unjust Seizures Act would put federal officers and agents at risk by taking away their right to carry firearms in the course of their criminal law enforcement duties. That claim, in short, is a canard.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Joe Luppino-Esposito, The Heritage FoundationIssue Brief, 05/07/2012
The Lacey Act was the first federal wildlife conservation statute, narrowly targeted at the interstate sale in poached game. But in the century since its enactment, the statute’s scope has been enormously expanded to the point that it now incorporates the wildlife and trade laws of every foreign nation. As a result, it has become a trap for the unwary, placing honest businessmen and businesswomen at risk of criminal liability for unknowing violations of hyper-technical foreign laws and regulations. In short, the Lacey Act has become the poster child for the phenomenon of overcriminalization and should be at the top of Congress’s list for reform.
National SecurityBy Steven Bucci, The Heritage FoundationAmerica at Risk Memo, 05/07/2012
As America faces its first full decade post-9/11, how ready is she to protect her place in the world? The tragedy of the attacks of September 11, 2001, and the events that were precipitated by them—Iraq, Afghanistan, worldwide terrorist campaigns, the Arab Spring, and the continuing reordering in the Middle East, along with the world’s economic fragility—have fundamentally shifted how the United States military looks at readiness.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Guy Sorman, Manhattan InstituteCity Journal, 05/07/2012
French voters rejected incumbent president Nicolas Sarkozy in favor of Socialist François Hollande. Now Hollande, the nation’s new president, faces a much less forgiving “electorate”: the financial markets, which will determine whether he can save France from a Greek scenario of default and bankruptcy.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy James R. Copland, Manhattan InstituteCivil Justice Report, 05/07/2012
Over the last decade, a novel form of federal government regulation has emerged, prompted not by new congressional legislation or administrative agency action but rather by aggressive assertion of prosecutorial authority over business. Without any actual criminal trials and little to no judicial supervision, government attorneys in the United States Department of Justice have pressured corporations to pay significant fines, to modify business practices, and even to sack top management. The Justice Department and various United States Attorneys’ offices have entered into more than 200 “deferred prosecution” or “non-prosecution” agreements in the last ten years. Seven of the 100 largest United States businesses, as ranked by Fortune magazine, are currently operating under the supervision of federal prosecutors. The Justice Department has emerged as a shadow business regulator.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Samuel Tadros, Foreign Policy Research InstituteE-Notes, 05/07/2012
The Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power in Egypt has not been without its problems. Not only is the Brotherhood now required to come up with solutions to Egypt’s endemic problems and collapsing economy, but the movement’s ascendancy has also placed it squarely in the spotlight. Its attempts to balance its contradictory goals in its relationships with the West, its followers, and the general Egyptian public have not been totally successful.
Regulation & DeregulationBy James M. Roberts, Andrew W. Markley, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 05/07/2012
Like a vitamin regimen that exceeds recommended daily amounts, corporate social responsibility—once seen as a healthy thing in small doses—now poses a toxic threat to American business. Corporate social responsibility is an attractive-looking concoction that appears to be a tonic for corporate public relations’ strategies, with no risk. However, if the latest and most radical wave of supposedly “voluntary” corporate social responsibility standards, principles, and strategies is fully embraced by the corporate world, it will unleash additional efforts by corporate social responsibility proponents (special-interest non-government organizations and intrusive government bureaucrats) to redefine the very purpose of business and lash private companies to ever greater burdens and constraints. Unless the new corporate social responsibility is stopped, these anti-free market and statist proponents may push corporate social responsibility beyond the point of no return—from voluntary to mandatory.
EducationBy Finley Edwards, Education NextEducation Next, 05/04/2012
Delaying school start times may be a cost-effective method of increasing student performance. Since the effect of later start times is stronger for the lower end of the distribution of test scores, later start times may be particularly effective in meeting accountability standards that require a minimum level of competency.
Health CareBy Fred Lucas, Capital Research CenterFoundation Watch, 05/04/2012
Last year Republican members of the House Ways & Means Committee issued an investigative report, “Behind the Veil: The AARP America Doesn’t Know” that calls attention to the lucrative business dealings of the group that purports to represent 40 million Americans over age 50 on such issues as Social Security and Medicare. Members of Congress want to know whether the American Association of Retired Persons is an advocate for seniors or whether it’s in it for the money. The American Association of Retired Persons’ recent activities make it even more important to find the answer to this question.
Economic GrowthBy The Buckeye Institute, Buckeye Institute for Public Policy SolutionsPolicy Brief, 05/04/2012
States that spend beyond their means do not prosper. Instead, states that foster pro-growth public policies and restrain spending are best able to promote growth. Few measures better demonstrate the relationship between government spending and private sector growth than state and local spending burdens.
Health CareBy Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Gordon Gray, Michael Ramlet, American Action ForumReport, 05/04/2012
The Medicare Trustees recently issued their annual report detailing the financial state of America’s entitlement programs. The report confirmed what many Americans know: Medicare and Social Security are going bankrupt – quickly. At its current pace, Medicare will be bankrupt in 2024 and Social Security in 2033. A deeper look at the data proves just how broken our current entitlement programs are.
Budget & Taxation
Principles for Pension Reform in Alabama: Rethinking the Defined Benefit in Alabama’s Retirement SystemBy Scott Beaulier, Alabama Policy InstitutePolicy Study, 05/04/2012
With state and federal governments facing a number of seemingly irresolvable fiscal crises, money to bail out public pensions across the states may not be available. States like Alabama must find ways to fix their public pensions without turning to over-burdened taxpayers for help. To do so, they will have to implement benefit cuts in the short-term. To avoid any future pension crises and provide greater predictability going forward, they must consider a shift from defined benefit pension plans to defined contribution plans.
Economic GrowthBy Rea S. Hederman Jr., James Sherk, The Heritage FoundationIssue Brief, 05/04/2012
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the economy added 115,000 jobs in April and the unemployment rate declined to 8.1 percent from 8.2 percent. However, further declines in the percentage of Americans in the labor force explain this slightly lower unemployment rate. Indeed, the labor force participation rate dipped to a 30-year low as many unemployed workers simply left the labor force. The April report is further evidence that the job market has cooled from its more rapid growth in the first quarter. This slowdown will likely spur calls for more stimulus spending. However, government spending comes at the expense of private-sector growth. Congress should instead focus on improving the business climate.
Health CareBy Nina Owcharenko, The Heritage FoundationIssue Brief, 05/04/2012
Medicaid, the joint federal-state health care program for the poor, is in need of major structural reform. Not only is it stretching limited financial resources at the federal and state levels, but it also falls far short in delivering quality care and services for those in need. Obamacare only makes matters worse by adding millions of people to this already strained and unreformed program. Congress should put policies in place that restructure the Medicaid program so that low-income individuals and families are mainstreamed out of Medicaid and into the private health insurance market. In this way, Congress can expand the private insurance market, ensure more robust competition, and secure the kind of care that the vast majority of working Americans have today. At the same time, Congress needs to restore Medicaid to a true safety net program for the most vulnerable in society.
Budget & TaxationBy Chuck DeVore, Talmadge Heflin, Texas Public Policy FoundationTestimony, 05/04/2012
Although Texas is generally well-regarded in the area of taxation, there is still ample opportunity to improve Texas’ tax system to enhance the state’s economic competitiveness and make it more attractive for businesses and entrepreneurs. Here are ten ideas to improve Texas’ tax system and make the state a more attractive environment for jobs and investment.
Budget & TaxationBy Kevin Duncan, Tax FoundationFiscal Facts, 05/04/2012
In 2012, Americans will pay approximately $4.041 trillion in taxes, which is $152 billion, or 3.9 percent, more than they will spend on housing, food, and clothing. Through looking at contemporary data and examining the trend of tax collections and expenditures on housing, food, and clothing, we can compare the costs of government with the necessary costs individuals incur every year. As a greater tax burden has been levied on some individuals, more government revenues have gone into programs that spend money on these essential goods. These programs increase the percent of necessary items bought for by governments rather than individuals.
Monetary Policy/Financial Regulation
Restoring Trust in Mortgage-Backed Securities: How the Private Sector Can Return to Mortgage FinanceBy Marc Joffe, Anthony Randazzo, Reason FoundationPolicy Study, 05/04/2012
The mortgage finance market has leaned heavily on government support over the past few years. More than 90 percent of mortgages originated in 2011 were securitized by government entities using taxpayer funds to guarantee investors against default risk. This support cannot continue forever. The status quo perpetuates many of the policies that contributed to the housing bubble and consequently promotes an unstable mortgage market. In order to avoid another crisis, the government must exit mortgage finance and private capital must shoulder mortgage default risk.
Budget & TaxationBy Eileen Norcross, Mercatus CenterTestimony, 05/04/2012
Pennsylvania’s two main pension systems, the State Employees’ Retirement System and the Public School Employees Retirement System report a combined unfunded liability of $39.5 billion and funding ratios of 75 percent and 69 percent, respectively. However, on an economic basis, the shortfall in these plans increases to a total of $116 billion, leaving each system funded at 34 percent. In either case, Pennsylvania’s pension systems confront a very significant obligation to retirees. One question being considered today centers on the merits of closing down the defined benefit plan and shifting future hires to a defined contribution plan.
EducationBy John Fonte, Hudson InstituteTestimony, 05/04/2012
The most important task of social studies-civic education in American public schools is to prepare our children for citizenship in American liberal democracy. Therefore, standards should delineate what is most important for students to know in order to prepare them for citizenship in the United States in the Twenty-First Century. While the 2004 Minnesota History and Social Studies Standards robustly emphasized American citizenship, even with quotes from Jefferson and references to the sacrifices earlier generations of Americans had made “to win and keep liberty and justice,” the revised 2012 Standards speak only in generic terms of citizenship and “civic life in the twenty-first century.” There is no specific reference to American citizenship. The document’s introductory explanations of purpose could have been written for a social studies curriculum in any democratic country.
National SecurityBy Matthew Waxman, Hoover InstitutionDefining Ideas, 05/04/2012
Police powers are constitutionally divided vertically in the United States, so some key counterterrorism competencies and resources reside at the state and local level. A major architectural challenge, therefore, is integrating counterterrorism intelligence with local policing. The solution will not be one-size-fits-all; instead, the United States domestic intelligence system should embrace local government variation, input, and oversight.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Michael D. Swaine, Hoover InstitutionChina Leadership Monitor, 05/04/2012
The previous essay in this series on China’s assertive behavior examined the general role of the Chinese military in the foreign policy process, focusing on leadership and organizational issues. This essay builds directly on that essay by focusing in particular on the military’s role in leadership decision-making and lower-level implementation with regard to political-military crises with foreign powers.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Alan D. Romberg, Hoover InstitutionChina Leadership Monitor, 05/04/2012
Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou’s solid re-election victory on January 14, and the Kuomintang’s respectable showing in the Legislative Yuan contests not only eased anxiety in Beijing and Washington, but also laid a foundation for yet further progress along all sides of the triangular relationship. At the same time, it created challenges for Ma, the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, Beijing, and the United States.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy James Mulvenon, Leigh Ann Ragland, Hoover InstitutionChina Leadership Monitor, 05/04/2012
On January 18, 2012 General Logistics Department Deputy Director Liu Yuan reportedly gave a Chinese New Year speech in which he directly attacked military corruption in the ranks and promised a “do-or-die” fight against it. Within days, General Logistics Department Deputy Director Gu Junshan was arrested on charges of profiting from the illegal sale of military property. Analysts buzzed that the combination of General Liu’s high princeling status, his pending elevation to the Central Military Commission, and the support of heir apparent Xi Jinping may make this anti-corruption effort different and more effective than those in the past. This article examines the issue of military corruption, reviews recent cases, and assesses the likely success of General Liu’s efforts.
Economic GrowthBy Barry Naughton, Hoover InstitutionChina Leadership Monitor, 05/04/2012
For several years, economic reforms in China have essentially been dead in the water. The impending leadership transition creates uncertainty about China’s future, but it also opens up new possibilities. Already, the discussion of economic policies in China reflects the greater range of options made possible by the impending leadership change. Recently, the need for a more forceful push on economic reform has been acknowledged publicly in ways that would scarcely have been possible a few years earlier. This piece examines a few of the interactions already beginning to take shape between new policy agendas, on the one hand, and the coming widespread turnover of policy-makers and technocrats, on the other.
Economic GrowthBy Joseph Fewsmith, Hoover InstitutionChina Leadership Monitor, 05/04/2012
In September 2011, a protest in a Guangdong village threatened to embarrass the province and its party secretary, Wang Yang, who is a candidate for membership on the powerful Politburo Standing Committee when the 18th Party Congress meets later this year. Not only did Wang Yang intervene decisively to defuse tensions, but he also used a plenary session of the provincial party committee to launch an attack on “vested interests” and to call for reviving reform. Guangdong’s outspokenness was quickly echoed in the pages of People’s Daily, scholarly reports, and liberal opinion. The long-term implications are not yet clear, but the revival of reform rhetoric suggests a contentious year of politics as the country heads into the 18th Party Congress.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Alice L. Miller, Hoover InstitutionChina Leadership Monitor, 05/04/2012
It may be true, as is often observed, that if all the world’s economists were laid end to end, they would never reach a conclusion. It is all the more notable therefore that an increasing number of observers of China’s economy are skeptical that the high rate of growth sustained over the past three decades is likely to continue much longer. In the past, China’s leadership has weathered economic stress adroitly—most recently, in blunting the impact of the 2008 world economic crisis. However, the Xi Jinping leadership that is about to take the helm later this year is likely to be more diverse in its outlook, credentials, and experience. And so if projections of trouble in China’s economy ahead are accurate, then it is reasonable to inquire into the prospects of an oligarchic leadership around Xi maintaining collective solidarity and providing effective policy responses.
Foreign Policy/International Affairs
China’s Top Future Leaders to Watch: Biographical Sketches of Possible Members of the post-2012 Politburo (Part 1)By Cheng Li, Hoover InstitutionChina Leadership Monitor, 05/04/2012
The composition of the new Politburo, including generational attributes and individual idiosyncratic characteristics, group dynamics, and the factional balance of power, will have profound implications for China’s economic priorities, social stability, political trajectory, and foreign relations. To a great extent, these leaders’ political position and policy preferences are often shaped or constrained by their personal experience, leadership expertise, factional affiliation, and bureaucratic portfolio. This series will provide concise and primarily fact-based biographies for 25 to 30 possible members of the next Politburo, focusing on the following three aspects: personal and professional background, family and patron-client ties, and political prospects and policy preferences. The aim is to present a complete set of biographical sketches of all members of this supreme leadership body by the time the 18th Party Congress has wrapped up in the fall of 2012.