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Recent Policy Studies
Budget & TaxationBy Steve Conover, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 03/25/2013
The Senate and House budgets agree that this economy needs more growth and both predict the same growth levels—yet the Senate budget proposes higher spending, taxes, and debt than the House budget. Therein lies an opportunity for the GOP.
EducationBy Reuven Brenner, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 03/25/2013
Political discussion today is dominated by a pessimistic tone about government deficits, taxes, and our aging population. But, surprising as it may seem, a drastic overhaul of the nation’s education system could fix many of our problems. Such changes would create a variety of benefits: decreased government spending; more sustainable entitlement programs; greater equality; and a better-disciplined younger generation; not to mention an end to the mumbo jumbo that dominates academia and policy debates today.
Family, Culture & CommunityBy Ryan T. Anderson, The Heritage FoundationIssue Brief, 03/25/2013
Government recognizes marriage because it benefits society in a way that no other relationship or institution does. Government policies should support marriage and protect it rather than undermine it. Promoting marriage does not ban any type of relationship. All Americans have the freedom to live and love as they choose, but no one has a right to redefine marriage for everyone else. Those who believe in monogamy and exclusivity—and the benefits that these bring to orderly procreation and child well-being—should take note.
EducationBy Jason Richwine, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 03/25/2013
Despite the centrality of pensions in debates over government budgeting and education policy, the federal government dramatically underestimates teacher pension costs in its official education spending figures. States report to the federal government only the yearly contributions to teacher pension funds rather than the present value of accrued benefits. Since states and local school districts routinely contribute less to their pension funds than is needed to cover future benefits, correcting this accounting problem could add tens of billions of dollars—somewhere around $1,000 per pupil—to official education spending estimates. The federal government should revise its data collection procedures to require proper accounting of teacher pension costs, giving taxpayers a more accurate picture of education expenditures.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Paul Rosenzweig, Daniel J. Dew, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 03/25/2013
Developed over the course of hundreds of years, the Anglo–American legal system contains several key provisions that, when used properly, guard against wrongful criminal convictions. These provisions, however, are under attack by America’s legislators and their desire to eliminate mens rea (“guilty mind”) requirements from U.S. criminal law. The loss of this guilty mind requirement would destroy Americans’ primary defense against false accusations and Kafka-esque legal proceedings. How the Supreme Court of the United States rules (if the Court does choose to rule) on Shelton v. Sec’y, Dep’t of Corrections will have a tremendous impact on one of America’s primary core liberties.
Health CareBy Michael F. Cannon, Cato InstituteWhite Paper, 03/25/2013
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) currently denies states the freedom to tailor health care reforms to their needs. States can regain that freedom by blocking major provisions of that law and forcing Congress to reopen it. Congress granted states the power to block the PPACA’s employer mandate, individual mandate, and deficit pending by refusing to create Exchanges. NFIB v. Sebelius freed states to decline not just part of the Medicaid expansion, as the Obama administration claims, but all of it. Approval of a strengthened Health Care Freedom Act can prevent even the federal government from operating PPACA Exchanges. A critical mass of states could force Congress to repeal the law.
National SecurityBy Mackenzie Eaglen, American Enterprise InstituteReport, 03/25/2013
Sequestration is here, and with it, roughly $500 billion in cuts to the US Department of Defense (DoD) over the next nine years. These cuts come on top of nearly $1 trillion in defense budget reductions since fiscal year 2010 and have provoked harsh criticism from many of America’s senior military and political leaders. As Pentagon leaders begin to execute the cuts mandated under sequestration, they face a fundamental choice: they can continue business as usual and attempt to explain away growing problems, or they can address structural drivers of military spending. Although defense officials did not choose sequestration, they can use this latest budget cut as an opportunity for change. Smart, targeted cuts can produce savings while attempting to protect tip-of-the-spear capabilities from further harm. The road to reform is clear. The question is whether America’s senior civilian and military leadership will have the courage to tackle these major enterprises.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy John H. Makin, American Enterprise InstituteEconomic Outlook, 03/25/2013
The banking system in Cyprus is currently in a state of crisis, only narrowly avoiding collapse through a recent agreement between the nation and the European Union (EU) and International Monetary Fund (IMF). The €10 billion rescue package includes the condition that Cyprus come up with a portion of the rescue funds through a tax—now called a “restructuring”—on deposits over €100,000 in the nation’s banks. Such a tax cripples Cyprus’s banks and frightens depositors in other debt-laden weak economies like Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Italy. Once again the EU, European Central Bank, and IMF “troika” has doubled down on a losing bet to rescue the eurozone from a breakup. They fail to acknowledge that Cyprus and Greece cannot be in a currency zone with Germany, Holland, and Finland.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Nicolas Loris, The Heritage FoundationIssue Brief, 03/25/2013
The old adage “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is” undoubtedly applies to alternative fuel investments that need government support. Too many times, politicians have promised that a few billion taxpayer dollars would fundamentally transform the energy sector. These attempts have done little else but waste taxpayer money and benefit special interests. Congress should reject the idea of an Energy Security Trust Fund and instead open access to federal energy resources and remove subsidies for all energy sources and technologies.
Transportation/InfrastructureBy Emily Goff, The Heritage FoundationIssue Brief, 03/25/2013
In addressing transportation funding challenges, lawmakers should avoid saddling their citizens with onerous tax increases. Instead, they should examine current spending and rethink costly, underperforming programs in order to efficiently deploy resources while living within their means. The onerous tax hikes that Virginia and Maryland would impose on their motorists, consumers, and businesses do not meet this test.
Health CareBy Robert E. Moffit, Alyene Senger, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 03/22/2013
The quickly rising costs of Medicare are a burden on all Americans. The traditional program’s fee-for-service payment system, in which doctors and hospitals receive a fixed payment for each procedure and service, encourages an increase in the volume of services requested, which encourages excessive spending. The system also does not ensure quality, which contributes to unnecessary costs and higher spending as well. Medicare is a huge entitlement program, and its reform must be undertaken carefully. Congress and the Administration should undertake short-term reforms of traditional Medicare that will contain costs, while transitioning, prudently but quickly, to a more effective system that will not only control costs over the long term, but will also provide high-quality health care to a rapidly growing Medicare population.
Health CareBy Robert E. Moffit, Alyene Senger, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 03/22/2013
The structure of Medicare determines how it functions. It also entails undesirable consequences, such as requiring Medicare beneficiaries to pay additional premiums and purchase supplemental coverage; employing price controls that often result in underpayment or overpayment for medical goods and services; placing massive regulation on doctors, hospitals, and other medical professionals; generating tens of billions of dollars annually in waste, fraud, and abuse; and using an administrative payment system that, as an arena for special interest lobbying, results in the politicization of decisions over health care financing and delivery for America’s senior and disabled citizens. The best policy for fixing the inherently flawed and outdated Medicare program, while improving it as an insurance program for seniors, is structural Medicare reform based on a defined-contribution (“premium support”) program of financing.
Health CareBy Robert E. Moffit, Alyene Senger, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 03/22/2013
Despite the government’s promises to maintain “Medicare as we know it,” the program is already changing. In addition to reduced funding and complex new regulations, Medicare faces enormous demographic shifts: The first wave of the massive baby boom generation is now eligible for Medicare enrollment. Current taxpayers already pay almost nine out of every 10 dollars in total Medicare costs in any given year, and general revenues will account for an increasingly larger share of Medicare spending. The best solution is structural Medicare reform based on a defined-contribution (“premium support”) program of financing, and gradually increasing the eligibility age. Competition among plans and providers, driven by personal choice, will not only secure better value for Medicare dollars, but will also reduce the growth in Medicare spending.
EducationBy Patrick Gibbons, Friedman Foundation for Educational ChoiceReport, 03/22/2013
For more than 20 years school choice programs have provided parents opportunities to send their children to public or private schools more suited to their needs. Choice and competition in education benefits students. Today, 21 states and Washington, D.C., have school choice programs serving more than one million students. Impressively, nine out of 10 random-assignment studies, considered the gold standard of scientific research, show statistically significant academic benefits for students using scholarships to attend private school. Additionally, another 20 studies show public schools improve when faced with competition from private schools. As Texas lawmakers consider various school choice proposals including, tax-credit scholarships, some fear that school choice will lead to increased regulation of private schools. This brief examines the available evidence on tax-credit scholarships and government regulations on private schools.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & Science
The Clean Air Act as an Obstacle to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Anticipated Attempt to Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Existing Power PlantsBy William J. Haun, Federalist SocietyWhite Paper, 03/22/2013
For roughly two decades, the bipartisan consensus of the U.S. Congress on the regulation of greenhouse gases from non-mobile sources has been that it's best to let sleeping dogs lie. Critics of any attempted regulation have cited a variety of prudential and legal problems that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from using the Clean Air Act (CAA)--the awkward basis for current greenhouse gas regulation--to regulate emissions standards from "stationary sources" of energy. Nevertheless, President Obama has asserted that the needs in this area are great, that "Americans cannot resist this transition," and the EPA is thus expected to propose such regulations. Can the CAA, previously limited to existing-source emissions of relatively rare substances, be read to now authorize the regulation of greenhouse gases from non-mobile sources?
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Vikrant P. Reddy, Marc A. Levin, Cascade Policy InstituteReport, 03/21/2013
Oregon has fourteen state prisons, and state forecasters estimate that it will need more in order to accommodate approximately 2,300 new inmates over the next ten years. The Oregon Department of Corrections has projected that it will cost over $600 million to accommodate these new inmates. When looking at Oregon’s proposed corrections spending, one must ask the question every conservative should ask of any government program: Will taxpayers get the best result for the lowest cost?”
Information TechnologyBy John Stephenson, American Legislative Exchange CouncilReport, 03/21/2013
Advances in technology provide a number of useful products and services that can either enhance or threaten personal privacy, depending on how these products or services are used and for what purpose. These goods raise serious concerns about privacy, which leaves policymakers looking for solutions, especially in the context of online privacy and biometric identification. In an effort to craft solutions to privacy concerns, experts argue that policymakers must exercise caution. Rushed and unconsidered solutions run the risk of limiting consumers and becoming unworkable.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Jack Spencer, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 03/21/2013
The agreement between the United States and South Korea that allows U.S. commercial nuclear exports to South Korea expires in March 2014. An extension must be negotiated by spring 2013. Failure to negotiate the extension would have substantial negative safety, technological, economic, and nonproliferation impacts on both countries. Still, the negotiations have become controversial. South Korea is seeking access to a broader spectrum of technology, while the U.S. wants to maintain tighter controls. The resolution lies somewhere in between. A fair agreement will recognize South Korea’s emerging role as an international leader in the global commercial nuclear industry by allowing it access to the technologies it needs, such as proliferation-resistant used-fuel-management technology, while maintaining tighter controls on technologies such as enrichment, which the U.S. correctly understands as carrying a higher proliferation risk.
Health CareBy Devon M. Herrick, Linda Gorman, National Center for Policy AnalysisStudies, 03/21/2013
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was initially expected to provide coverage for 32 million uninsured individuals and families when fully implemented. About half of the newly covered were expected to obtain private coverage, while the other half would enroll in an expanded Medicaid program. The ACA contains financial incentives designed to strongly encourage states to expand Medicaid eligibility. The Obama administration, and advocates for the poor, and have touted the benefits of expanding Medicaid: The federal government promises to pay most costs for those newly eligible. However, a thorough discussion of the costs, obstacles, alternatives and potential pitfalls is critically important.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Keith Hall, Mercatus CenterWorking Paper, 03/21/2013
Concern over the impact of regulations on jobs and job growth is not new, but the efforts of federal agencies have never focused effectively on labor markets effects. Part of the reason is that the empirically most important impacts on labor markets—the macroeconomic effects and the dynamic effects—are very hard to forecast. In addition, it is generally meaningless to include a simple job count as part of the analysis. Unfortunately, agencies could, but have chosen not to, estimate the likely economic cost of job displacement. This decision is not based on empirical evidence that job displacement is costless. In fact, the evidence is quite strong that job displacement of any type is very costly for individuals, families, and communities. This intentional dismissal of the cost of job displacement remains a real shortcoming of agency efforts to promote only those regulations where the benefits are worth their costs.
Budget & TaxationBy Veronique de Rugy, Mercatus CenterEconomic Perspectives, 03/21/2013
This country’s fiscal outlook is bleak. Unless large entitlement programs can be addressed effectively, our long term debt will continue to increase. If, however, Washington can agree to—and actually implement—a credible budget deal, it will bolster market credibility by reducing the threat of increasing taxes, inflation, the squeezing out of all discretionary programs by entitlement spending, and the collapse of the nation’s safety net programs under their own weight. A serious, credible budget deal is the only path to ensure the nation’s debt burden doesn’t crowd out sustainable economic and job growth.
Health CareBy Paul Howard, Yevgeniy Feyman, Manhattan InstituteMedical Progress Report, 03/20/2013
Rhetoric and Reality is a project of the Manhattan Institute’s Center for Medical Progress designed to offer an ongoing, objective, and accessible perspective on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s performance in light of key claims or projections made about it. Our project will examine the law’s effect on Americans in five overarching areas: health-care costs, insurance coverage, employment, access to care, and consumer-driven health plans. Overall, there is weak evidence that reforms will achieve their intended goals.
EducationBy James M. Hohman, Josiah M. Kollmeyer, Mackinac Center for Public PolicyReport, 03/20/2013
Michigan’s School Aid fund increased once more this year, but many school administrators in the state continue to hunt for effective measures to reduce spending due to increased pension costs and phased-out stimulus money. Many options available for trimming costs, such as enacting pay-to-play for sports, are extremely unpopular for districts and may reduce the quality of education available to students. However, privatization of support services such as food, custodial and transportation services is a promising opportunity for many districts to save money without reducing educational opportunity. Over 60 percent of Michigan school districts have now contracted out at least one of these three services and have saved Michigan taxpayers millions in the process.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Jon Sanders, John Locke FoundationPolicy Report, 03/20/2013
Right now North Carolina has over 22,500 permanent administrative rules. Over the past 20 years state officials have been adding an average 2,360 new pages to the North Carolina Register every year, indicating an aggressive regulatory climate. In recent years, the General Assembly has taken action against the regulatory beast, passing the Regulatory Reform Acts of 2011 and 2012. The Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny Act (REINS) approach to regulation in North Carolina would restore ultimate authority over state regulations back to the people of North Carolina by returning to the General Assembly major law-making power that legislators either should not have or unintentionally handed over to state agencies. It would put an end to “acts of pretend legislation” and the lax regulatory climate that invites them.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Jack Spencer, The Heritage FoundationIssue Brief, 03/20/2013
Advocates of loan guarantees claim that this subsidy is a success when the recipient company remains in business. This is a superficial and misleading way to view loan guarantees. Indeed, loan guarantees are among the most pernicious ways that governments distort markets and harm American families and businesses alike. Here are seven reasons why.
Budget & TaxationBy Rea S. Hederman, John L. Ligon, The Heritage FoundationIssue Brief, 03/20/2013
Senate Budget Committee chairwoman Patty Murray (D–WA) unveiled the first Senate budget in four years. Murray deserves some credit for actually advancing a budget, but her budget contains steep tax increases that would reduce economic growth by increasing the cost of capital investment. Murray’s tax plan singles out corporations and individuals that are already faced with high tax rates. While most industrialized nations are moving to reduce their corporate tax rates, Murray plans to increase America’s effective corporate tax rate.
EducationBy Ben DeGrow, Independence InstitutePolicy Analysis, 03/20/2013
Scholarship tax credits increase the opportunity for K-12 students to access non-public educational options. Such a tax code modification increases the incentive for persons and businesses to contribute funds to qualified non-profit scholarship granting organizations. In turn, the organizations use most of the incoming funds to assist low- and middle-income families with private school tuition expenses. By harnessing the power of voluntary contributions, a scholarship tax credit program could open the doors of learning opportunity for thousands of Colorado students with no negative fiscal impact on the State.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Aaron Stiefel, John Hendricks, Washington Legal FoundationOn the Merits, 03/19/2013
Myriad Genetics, Inc. is a research firm that engages in genetic research. Myriad isolates genes by taking a blood sample, fragmenting the extracted genes, and then looking for mutations or other variants. Myriad has obtained patents from the U.S. Patent Office on “isolated” forms of two genes that are correlated with a higher risk of breast or ovarian cancer in their “isolated” state. Because of their patents, they claimed exclusive control over the genes once they were removed from the body and from human cells. This case explores whether or not human genes are patent-eligible subject matter under the Patent Act.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Richard A. Epstein, Free State FoundationPerspectives from FSF Scholars, 03/19/2013
There are deep tensions between the rule of law and the rise of the modern administrative state. In all too many settings administrative agencies intervene when they should stay their hand, which is true about much of what transpires in the Federal Communications Commission and National Labor Relations Board. In other cases, the Environmental Protection Agency blocks common-law and equitable remedies that should be routinely allowed. These ad hoc motions put ever greater strains on the rule of law, which leads me to this somber assessment—that much of the work of the administrative state is at cross-purposes with both sound public policy and the rule of law.
Health CareBy Jonathan Ingram, Illinois Policy InstituteResearch, 03/19/2013
Illinois’ Medicaid program is a one-size-fits-all model that’s broken, and it’s failing Illinoisans on three fronts: costs, access to quality care and health outcomes. Illinois should follow the lead of states such as Florida and Louisiana and fundamentally transform how the program operates. To address these problems, Illinois should: give Medicaid patients meaningful choices for their health plans from a variety of provider service networks and managed care organizations, allow plan providers to customize their plans to meet the individual needs of their enrollees, which will help ensure plans compete on value, and pay plan providers a fixed, risk-adjusted monthly rate based on enrollment in a particular plan.
Budget & TaxationBy Kristina Rasmussen, Illinois Policy InstituteResearch, 03/19/2013
Fiscal notes are like price tags for legislative bills; they estimate the costs, savings, and revenue gain or loss resulting from the implementation of proposed legislation. Unfortunately, in a year when lawmakers once again pledged fiscal restraint and a new era of financial responsibility, only 16 out of the 494 laws passed and signed in 2012 had fiscal notes. This is a slight improvement compared with 2011, when just 10 out of 650 laws had fiscal notes. Altogether, the 97th General Assembly received fiscal notes for just 2.3 percent of bills that became law. Fiscal note reform legislation deserves a closer look in 2013. Lawmakers in a state that carries a more than $9 billion backlog of unpaid bills in the billions of dollars cannot continue approving new laws without fully understanding their fiscal and budgetary impact.
Budget & TaxationBy Eric Fruits, Randall Pozdena, Oklahoma Council of Public AffairsArticle, 03/19/2013
The U.S. economy has recently suffered its deepest and most prolonged recession since the Great Depression. The fundamental causes of the recession and the slow recovery are two decades of poorly conceived housing credit and other policies and the adoption of long-ago discarded Keynesian policies. Defenders of the status quo and advocates for the so-called progressive reforms of higher taxes and greater government involvement have sought to discredit legitimate, research-based state fiscal policy reforms. The purpose of this article is to set the record straight regarding recent pro-growth reform proposals, and to illustrate the theoretical and empirical mythology that is used to discredit reform efforts.
Health CareBy Patrick B. Mcguigan, Oklahoma Council of Public AffairsResearch, 03/19/2013
Adding millions of additional people into Medicaid, a program that has been struggling with access to care for the past forty-five years, is likely to result in worsening access for those who are currently enrolled. Expanding Medicaid makes these new Medicaid patients (some of whom already had private health insurance, by the way) dependent on government for their health care, and thus would expand the constituency for more government spending and higher taxes all while providing them inferior access to health care. Even with questions of finance aside, our government is assuming powers that belong with individuals, communities, and mediating institutions such as churches and other support networks.
Information TechnologyBy Seth L. Cooper, Free State FoundationPerspectives from FSF Scholars, 03/19/2013
Cisco projections of a 13-fold increase in worldwide mobile data traffic over the next five years underscores the urgent need for more commercial spectrum to serve surging consumer demand. Right now the top priority of federal communications policy should be identifying and repurposing spectrum for commercial use. When it comes to spectrum suited for licensing, exclusive use by wireless carriers offers the certainty and incentives best calculated to ensure its highest use.
EducationBy Deborah D. Thornton, Public Interest InstituteInstitute Brief, 03/19/2013
Watch the pennies, and the pounds will take care of themselves! This old English saying that means that if we take care of the small things (pennies), the large things (pounds or dollars) will naturally do well. This idea applies directly to educating our children. If we actually teach the children reading, writing, and arithmetic, the test results will take care of themselves. If we do not teach, nothing else we do will make a difference. Even combining poor students with wealthier students will not increase school performance as shown within Iowa.
Budget & TaxationBy Michael Schuyler, Tax FoundationSpecial Report, 03/19/2013
The United States currently imposes the highest statutory corporate tax rate in the developed world. A lower corporate income tax rate would be a tonic for the ailing U.S. economy that would accelerate growth by reducing tax biases against saving and investment. The pro-growth impact would be substantial because investment and the stock of capital are extremely sensitive to the expected after-tax rate of return. A larger, more vibrant economy would help people throughout the nation by generating higher real incomes, a greater supply of goods and services, and more opportunities.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy Richard A. Epstein, Hoover InstitutionDefining Ideas, 03/19/2013
The 2006 version of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) toughened what is known as the preclearance standards in Section 5. Section 5 requires that any changes made to the voting procedures of certain states be “submitted to and approved by a three-judge Federal District Court in Washington, D.C., or the Attorney General.” The Supreme Court should strike down the VRA and rein in Attorney General Eric Holder.
Budget & TaxationBy Peter J. Nelson, Center of the American ExperimentAnalysis, 03/19/2013
This report shows that Minnesotan spending restraint will be needed to help address future budget challenges. Because Minnesota is such an outlier on public welfare spending, these programs are the natural place to look first to at least begin reducing the rate of growth. To start, the state should begin restructuring benefit and eligibility levels across public welfare programs to better match peer states. Higher education spending also warrants special review due to differences with peer states. To aid in these and other spending reviews, lawmakers will need much more detailed, accurate and regular assessments of public programs to know whether they deliver value and results. Finally, state lawmakers have not consistently demonstrated a competence for spending restraint in good times or bad, and therefore the state might benefit greatly from new spending limits through statute or constitutional amendment.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Kate Lind, Wisconsin Policy Research InstituteReport, 03/19/2013
While commercial bail has demonstrated its efficacy at ensuring appearance at court, evidence also suggests that there is no one-size-fits-all solution in pretrial release decision-making. An evidence-based approach that incorporates a range of alternatives, including the availability of commercial bail, should instead be taken. The reintroduction of commercial bail, integrated with pretrial assessments and services, would create a valuable option to prevent failure to appear while protecting the financial and public safety interests of Wisconsin.
Budget & TaxationBy Scott Drenkard, Tax FoundationFacts & Figures, 03/19/2013
How do taxes in your state compare nationally? This convenient pocket-size booklet compares the 50 states on many different measures of taxing and spending, including individual and corporate income tax rates, business tax climates, excise taxes, tax burdens and state spending.
Budget & TaxationBy Benjamin Sugg, Paul J. Gessing , Rio Grande FoundationReport, 03/19/2013
New Mexico is one of the poorest states in the country. Its economy has continued to shed jobs while neighboring states have been adding them. Nonetheless, nearly twenty percent of the state’s workforce is fueled by tax payers and those in the public sphere continue to assert that they make significantly less than those in the private industry. This report examines this assertion by analyzing government data to determine the earnings and compensation differences among employees of similar characteristics, skill sets, and occupations within the public and private sectors. Regression analysis has been used to produce a careful analysis of data on both total compensation and benefits. The study finds that with benefits included, public workers in New Mexico make over 8 percent more in total compensation than a similar worker in the private sector.
Health CareBy Charles Blahous, e21 – Economic Policies for the 21st CenturyAnalysis, 03/19/2013
The bottom line is that Medicaid expansion brings additional federally-financed health benefits to the states while exposing state budgets to higher costs. It is reasonable for state governors to reach different conclusions as to which is the overriding factor. Perhaps the only common incentive clearly facing all states is to shift their childless adults above the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) from Medicaid to the ACA’s new health exchanges and to let the federal government absorb the full cost of their subsidies. Beyond that, much decision-making will depend on whether the states believe they can negotiate satisfactory terms to justify shouldering the costs of expansion, and on how states believe the troubled federal fiscal picture will ultimately be resolved.
Budget & TaxationBy e-21: Economic Policies for the 21st Century, e21 – Economic Policies for the 21st CenturyEditorial, 03/19/2013
The sequester debate is not simply about who’s responsible for it, or whether the Administration’s claims regarding its impact hold water. Through its rhetoric, the Administration is implicitly denying a distinction between that which is “public” and “private,” ignoring evidence concerning the predictable differences in these sectors relative efficiency, and absolving itself of any responsibility for managing public spending in a manner that reduces its ultimate costs on taxpayers. These are much bigger stakes than commonly supposed.
EducationBy Steven J. Allen, Capital Research CenterLabor Watch, 03/19/2013
In Louisiana, a tough and savvy governor has succeeded in enacting an impressive package of school reforms. The teachers’ unions are horrified and using every legal trick to stop changes. But citizens—and legislators from both parties—are pleased. Could this portend similar reforms in other states?
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Neil Maghami, Capital Research CenterGreen Watch, 03/19/2013
Americans are all too familiar with fear-mongering campaigns organized by “green” nonprofits and their big foundation backers. Now some major environmentalist organizations appear to be shifting their efforts from stirring anxieties about the global atmosphere to new campaigns involving the world’s oceans. The focus of this new push is the “Global Partnership for Oceans,” which is yet another effort to squash private development of the world’s resources in favor of creating international bureaucracies that can stifle development around the world.