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Recent Policy Studies
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Derek Scissors, The Heritage FoundationIssue Brief, 07/16/2013
The tidal wave of Chinese investment around the world predicted by some and feared by others has not materialized and is unlikely to. Various obstacles to overseas spending by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) kept growth moderate in the first half of 2013. Energy was again the focus, but the dominance of state-owned enterprises has begun to ease. Chinese investment in the U.S. was substantial in the first half of the year, continuing the performance in 2012. This trend indicates that certain American policy choices should be clarified. The U.S. benefits from Chinese investment, but there is little reason to heed Chinese demands for a more welcoming environment until there is progress on American investment interests in China.
Transportation/InfrastructureBy James L. Gattuso, The Heritage FoundationIssue Brief, 07/16/2013
The July 6 crash landing of an Asiana jetliner that killed three passengers and injured dozens more was a tragedy. The accident is rightly being thoroughly investigated by federal safety officials as well as aviation industry experts to determine how it happened and prevent such a tragic accident from happening again. But hidden between the lines in the news coverage of the event is a remarkable story: the breathtaking, long-term improvements in safety in the airline industry. It is exactly the sort of good news that is too often ignored by the media.
EducationBy Scott Piazza, Victor Nava, Reason FoundationPolicy Brief, 07/16/2013
In the last decade total student loan debt has grown nearly fourfold, from roughly $240 billion in 2003 to nearly $1 trillion at the start of 2013. Much of the focus on this growing problem has concentrated on the increasing cost of higher education, which has been a significant concern for families, students and universities themselves. This brief looks at another side of the student loan bubble: the crony capitalism of SLM Corporation—more commonly known as Sallie Mae—and how it has come to dominate student loan markets.
Economic GrowthBy Keith Hall, Mercatus CenterTestimony, 07/16/2013
Over 100 million people are now jobless and there are about four and a half million long-term unemployed. There are likely millions more long-term jobless that are not being counted. We are looking at a decade before the labor market is close to fully recovered. Many of the long-term jobless will never fully recover their lost earnings. Our primary focus should be on encouraging the economic growth that we need to push our labor market into full recovery mode. The biggest problem with the US labor is a lack of economic growth. And according to our biggest job creators, small business owners, government is playing a big role in holding back the economy. Remarkably, surveys of small business owners show they are more worried about government than the weak economy.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Jerry Ellig, James Broughel, Mercatus CenterMercatus on Policy, 07/16/2013
For more than three decades, presidents have instructed executive branch agencies to use the results of Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIAs) when deciding whether and how to regulate. Scores from the Mercatus Center’s Regulatory Report Card—an in-depth evaluation of the quality and use of regulatory analysis conducted by executive branch agencies—show that agencies often fail to explain how RIAs affected their decisions. For this reason, regulatory reform should require agencies to conduct analysis before making decisions and explain how the analysis affected the decisions.
Information TechnologyBy Adam Thierer, Brent Skorup, Mercatus CenterWorking Paper, 07/16/2013
This paper documents the evolution of government-granted privileges, or “cronyism,” in the information and communications technology marketplace and in the media-producing sectors. It also shows that cronyism is slowly creeping into new high-technology sectors. This influence could dull entrepreneurialism and competition in this highly innovative sector since time and resources spent on influencing politicians and capturing regulators cannot be spent competing and innovating in the marketplace. Cronyism will also negatively impact consumer welfare by denying consumers more and better products and services. Additionally, consumers might end up paying higher prices or higher taxes due to government privileges for industry. Finally, this paper offers strategies for stalling and diminishing the cronyism already taking root in the high-tech sector.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Cheng Li, Hoover InstitutionChina Leadership Monitor, 07/16/2013
This essay assesses the new Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party—the 25 highest-ranking leaders in the party, government, and military in present-day China—using biographical data regarding age, gender, birthplace, educational and occupational credentials, bureaucratic portfolio and career patterns, and political affiliations and factional backgrounds. Norms of elite selection may be inferred from such data, which allows a broad-based quantitative and qualitative analysis of the changes in the top leadership. Findings include the ascendancy of leaders with experience as provincial party secretaries, the swift decline of technocrats, and the appearance of a new form of the factional balance of power. The essay concludes with a preview of the leading contenders for the next Politburo and its supreme Standing Committee.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Alice L. Miller, Hoover InstitutionChina Leadership Monitor, 07/16/2013
Appointments to PRC government posts at the 12th National People’s Congress in March 2013 completed the generational leadership transition that began at last fall’s 18th Party Congress. Analysis of the division of policy responsibilities among the new leadership provides insight into the structure and processes of policy-making under the new party general secretary, Xi Jinping.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Joseph Fewsmith, Hoover InstitutionChina Leadership Monitor, 07/16/2013
To paraphrase Hobbes’ characterization of life, one may say that the politics preceding the 18th Party Congress were long, nasty and brutish. The irony of this process is that in the end the political calculus worked out well for new party leader and president, Xi Jinping. As far as one can tell from the outside, he neither presides over a deeply divided Standing Committee nor faces an incumbent head of the Central Military Commission (CMC), as Hu Jintao was forced to do a decade ago. Moreover, as a princeling whose revolutionary heritage is unquestioned, Xi has approached his job with a confidence unseen in his two predecessors, especially early in their terms.
International Trade/FinanceBy Barry Naughton, Hoover InstitutionChina Leadership Monitor, 07/16/2013
China’s leaders declared a reform renewal last year, but nothing of significance occurred until the National People’s Congress concluded. Although the congress confirmed the appointments of important reformist technocrats Zhou Xiaochuan and Lou Jiwei, and Liu He took over the office of the Economics and Finance Leadership Small Group of the Communist Party, power was also carefully balanced with representatives of the state sector. Since the NPC meeting, however, there have been clear signs of a renewal of reform policy-making in both the Communist Party and the State Council. The progress of these initiatives should be carefully monitored.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy James Mulvenon, Hoover InstitutionChina Leadership Monitor, 07/16/2013
The first plenary session of the 12th National People’s Congress, convened in March 2013, was attended by a large delegation of Chinese military deputies who put forward legislative proposals, listened to government speeches, and met to discuss national military and security issues. This article highlights key military themes from the congress sessions, in particular the role of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) in Central Military Commission Chairman Xi Jinping’s vision of the “China dream” and Xi’s three-part “instructions” to the PLA for the coming year.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Alan D. Romberg, Hoover InstitutionChina Leadership Monitor, 07/16/2013
As Beijing established a new state leadership at the 12th National People’s Congress and its companion meeting, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in March 2013, People’s Republic of China (PRC) officials continued to stress policy consistency toward Taiwan along lines laid out at the 18th Party Congress in November 2012. One PRC legal scholar pointed out, the central issue regarding Taiwan is “the problem of the Republic of China,” that is both a political issue and a legal issue and at present without solution. The newly appointed head of the Taiwan Affairs Office, Zhang Zhijun, underscored the point when he stated, “as viewed from any perspective, there is no possibility the Mainland will accept the ‘Republic of China.’”
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Michael D. Swaine, Hoover InstitutionChina Leadership Monitor, 07/16/2013
China’s behavior and rhetoric toward Japan regarding a range of controversial events in the East China Sea—from resource claims to naval transits and island territories—constitute a major component of an arguably escalating pattern of assertiveness between Beijing and several of its maritime neighbors. Among these altercations, Beijing’s increasingly acrimonious confrontation with Tokyo over five small islands northeast of Taiwan (called the Diaoyu Islands by China and the Senkaku Islands by Japan) is arguably the most dangerous.
Budget & TaxationBy Clint Bolick, Hoover InstitutionDefining Ideas, 07/16/2013
By now it is well-known that public employee contracts with generous wage and benefits are bankrupting state and local governments across the country and encircling the necks of future generations with an anvil of debt. What is almost completely unknown is that the hard-nosed union officials who negotiate lavish contracts for government workers are often paid to do so with taxpayer dollars.
Information TechnologyBy Randolph J. May, Free State FoundationTestimony, 07/16/2013
The FCC still operates today with a pro-regulatory bent pretty much as it did in 1999 when FCC Chairman William Kennard called for the reorientation of the agency's mission to account for the increasingly competitive environment evident even then. The reforms in the draft bills, along with a few additional proposals I will suggest, would make the FCC less likely to default so often to regulatory measures, even absent clear and convincing evidence of market failure or consumer harm. In today's marketplace environment, the default position should not be regulation.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Brett D. Schaefer, Anthony B. Kim, The Heritage FoundationIssue Brief, 07/15/2013
The ongoing political crisis in Egypt has an economic foundation. Long-standing economic weaknesses have contributed to economic stagnation and high unemployment. To ease discontent, the government has heavily subsidized a number of essential commodities, including food and fuel. Given the fact that Egypt relies heavily on imports for key commodities, foreign exchange reserves—already hit by lower tourism revenue during the recent instability—have declined sharply. If the government is forced to cut these subsidies abruptly, already disruptive political tensions will be augmented by food riots. The U.S. can and should provide food assistance as a short-term solution. However, Egypt’s long-term economic stability requires fundamental economic reforms to install a more market-oriented economy backed by the rule of law.
National SecurityBy Baker Spring, The Heritage FoundationIssue Brief, 07/15/2013
The Department of Defense announced on July 5 that an intercept test earlier that day of the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) missile defense system, which protects U.S. territory against long-range missiles, failed to result in a successful intercept. The GMD version that was tested is the system that is already in the field; thus, this was an operational test, not a developmental test. Unless the failure was due to a problem not related to the interceptor system—such as a failure of the test target missile—this is a serious setback for the GMD system. Further, the last successful test of the GMD system was in 2008, and the system has now achieved eight intercepts out of 14 attempts. Accordingly, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) should maintain another option for defending U.S. territory against long-range missiles.
EducationBy Ben Austin, Education NextResearch, 07/15/2013
Parents don’t care if a public school is a traditional district school or a charter school; they just want it to be a good school. In California, the parent trigger law gives parents a seat at the decision-making table. It empowers parents to transform a failing school through community organizing. According to the law, if 51 percent of parents with children in a school agree to change the direction of the school, the school board must listen.
EducationBy Joey Gustafson, Education NextResearch, 07/15/2013
Since the first charter school opened 20 years ago in Minnesota, charters have been a focus of school reform advocates and the subject of substantial research. Yet the regulators of the charter industry (called “authorizers” or “sponsors”) remain a mystery to many. In fact, many authorizers work in isolation, developing their own best practices, and are often just trying to keep their heads above water. Why is this?
Lessons Learned: How the Partnership for a Healthy North Carolina Avoids Kentucky’s Medicaid Reform MistakesBy Jonathan Ingram, Katherine Restrepo, John Locke FoundationPolicy Report, 07/15/2013
In 2011, Kentucky transitioned to a statewide Medicaid managed care program. Unfortunately, an ill conceived implementation timeline and the absence of key provisions resulted in several complications for patients, providers, and policymakers. This report examines these and other mistakes that left Kentucky with a botched Medicaid reform. It also explains the strategies and provisions included in the Partnership for a Healthy North Carolina that help to ensure North Carolina’s patient-centered Medicaid reform does not replicate Kentucky’s failings.
National SecurityBy Luke Coffey, The Heritage FoundationLecture, 07/15/2013
Reductions in the U.S. military capability in Europe are often carried out without considering either their possible effect or how they will be viewed by both friends and foes. Reductions in U.S. troop numbers in Europe send the wrong signal about America’s commitment to transatlantic security and will embolden U.S. adversaries. Most important, they will reduce the ability and flexibility of the U.S. to react to the unexpected in the region. Therefore, the Obama Administration should freeze all plans to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Europe until a proper review has been carried out and America’s allies have been properly consulted and should examine ways to increase the U.S. presence, especially on Europe’s periphery and with allies who have been committed to Euro–Atlantic security.
Health CareBy Waldemar Ingdahl, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 07/15/2013
Increasing antibiotic resistance is of great concern—the health of millions is dependent on our ability to defeat the threat of infectious diseases. The World Health Organization estimates that multi-drug resistance accounts for more than 150,000 deaths each year from tuberculosis alone. Without effective antibiotics in health care, humanity would be thrown back to the time when urinary tract infections and pneumonia were lethal. Infant and maternal mortality would rise and ordinary surgical procedures would become risky to perform. Antibiotic resistance is a race between humanity and bacteria. The bacteria’s advantage is rapid adaptation to their environment; ours is ingenuity. There is no single solution to such a complex problem as antibiotic resistance. That is why we need to leave the field open for several solutions.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Leon Aron, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 07/15/2013
Russia faces two challenges that will affect not only its preeminence as an energy supplier but also its ability to wield oil and gas as geostrategic tools. New technologies are helping other countries develop their own natural resources more easily and inexpensively, threatening billions of dollars of Russian state revenue. At the same time, to maintain the current level of production, not to mention increase it, Russia must make huge investments in exploring and recovering oil from virgin deposits (“greenfields”) of the east Siberian region and the Arctic shelf. The likely result is a significant thinning of oil and gas rents—jeopardizing the stability of the regime and perhaps even its survival.
Budget & TaxationBy Benjamin Zycher, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 07/15/2013
This 35th anniversary of the passage of Proposition 13—often described as the opening shot in the Reagan-era tax revolt—is a good time to return to first principles. In pursuit of fiscal discipline, we must emphasize true institutional reform—federalism and competition in the provision of public services—so as to impose constraints on the ability of officials and bureaucracies to satisfy the preferences of spending interests rather than those of taxpayers. Above all, we must undertake the hard work of public education on the virtues of market processes and limited government, and the freedom that both advance.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Michael M. Rosen, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 07/15/2013
So what is the net effect of the Myriad and Monsanto decisions, separated as they are by one month? For one thing, it’s encouraging to see the Supreme Court speaking with a single voice on these important issues, a rarity given its ideological makeup and often strident dissents and concurrences. The relatively clear guidance the Court issued in both cases will help steer patent practitioners, biotech companies, patients, doctors, farmers, and grain elevators in a consistent direction.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy John Steele Gordon, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 07/15/2013
The inevitable result of employees who cannot be fired is, of course, a federal workforce that, feeling safe in their jobs, is not likely to overexert itself and is more prone to fall into corruption—as some employees of the IRS clearly have. Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma estimates that over a seven-year period, the federal government lost 9,000 man-years of work due to employees who simply failed to show up to the office some days. The solution, obviously, is a much reformed, simplified, and faster process for dealing with incompetent, lazy, and corrupt employees. But like reforming the spoils system of the 19th century, which is a good deal easier said than done. As always with human affairs, self-interest rules.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Benjamin Zycher, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 07/15/2013
President Obama’s recently proposed policies will do little to combat climate change—but they will do much for his political and economic objectives. No crisis should go to waste, an eternal truth highlighted in bold by a purported climate change apocalypse that is now the target of actions newly proposed by President Obama. This so-called “crisis” will flood not various coastlines, but instead the front pages, replacing other, less flattering political headlines for the administration. And if the proposed actions offer the potential of sizeable wealth transfers to political allies? That is far more than mere icing on the cake.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Steve H. Hanke, Cato InstituteResearch, 07/15/2013
For various reasons — ranging from political mismanagement, to civil war, to economic sanctions — some countries are unable to maintain a stable domestic currency. These “troubled” currencies are associated with elevated rates of inflation, and in some extreme cases, hyperinflation. Often, it is difficult to obtain timely, reliable exchange-rate and inflation data for countries with troubled currencies. To address this, the Troubled Currencies Project, a joint Cato Institute-Johns Hopkins venture, collects black-market exchange-rate data for these troubled currencies and estimates the implied inflation rates for each country.
International Trade/FinanceBy Simon Lester, Cato InstitutePolicy Analysis, 07/15/2013
Private investment is the great driver of economic growth. Despite this positive economic impact, however, there are sometimes objections to investment when it comes from foreign sources. These objections are misguided. Aside from occasional national security concerns, foreign investment offers all the same benefits as investment from domestic sources. A liberal and open policy toward foreign investment is clearly the optimal one. Governments should allow foreign companies to invest in the domestic market and should also allow domestic companies to invest abroad.
PhilanthropyBy James Simpson, Capital Research CenterOrganization Trends, 07/15/2013
The Left’s strategy for unhindered political power continues to be refined. In this electoral juggernaut, an increasing role is played by statewide networks of nonprofits that battle in the fields of media, the courts, think tanks, and grassroots organizing. Colorado was one of the first states to fall, but now the Left has its sights set on no less than Texas.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Chris Prandoni, Capital Research CenterGreen Watch, 07/15/2013
In a process known as sue-and-settle, activists sue government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, negotiate settlements with friendly bureaucrats, and obtain judicial decrees that have the force of law. This process twists laws and creates disruptive regulations, while largely avoiding the scrutiny of Congress and the public.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Benjamin Zycher, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 07/15/2013
That there are no free lunches is an eternal truth, notwithstanding the assertions of experts and public officials. The Obama version of this ancient snake oil is simple: we can have a stronger economy and more employment if we discard part of the power-generating capital stock. That is a blatant example of the old broken window fallacy: if a window is broken, output and employment will rise because someone has to hire someone else to replace the window. For the economy as a whole, the broken window—or the electric generating capital forced into retirement—is a net loss. We cannot become richer over time by making ourselves poorer in the here and now.
The Constitution/Civil LibertiesBy Michael M. Rosen, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 07/15/2013
The Supreme Court reached the best possible result, legally and politically speaking, by dismissing Hollingsworth v. Perry. The United States is not ready for the Supreme Court to articulate a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, but neither is it ready for the Court to overrule a lower court’s decision to strike down a gay marriage ban, especially in a state like California where popular views have shifted markedly in favor of same-sex marriage in the past five years. Nonetheless, the Court’s decision in Perry successfully dodged the bullet of a same-sex marriage ruling, but it also placed the democratic initiative process in peril.
Health CareBy Sally C. Pipes, Encounter BooksBook, 07/15/2013
Like welfare reform, the battle to bring about meaningful health care reform is a long-term fight. We must not give up. The election of 2016 will be very important for the future direction of health care. A reform plan will be offered. If Obamacare is not repealed and replaced, the U.S. will be on the road to a single-payer, “Medicare for All” system such as exists in Canada. We, too, will face long waiting lists, rationed care, and a lack of access to the latest technology and treatments. America will be on the “Road to Serfdom” and there will be no off-ramp.
EducationBy Eric Montarti, Allegheny Institute for Public PolicyPolicy Brief, 07/15/2013
Believe it or not, for the first time since the 1970s—as far back as reliable data is available—Pennsylvania might have just had its first school year without a teacher strike. Taxpayers, students and parents might be unaware that this strike free year (if the Old Forge dispute is ruled a lockout) occurred even though the Legislature has not enacted a statute outlawing teacher strikes. There have been many attempts to take away the right to strike; none have come close to being successful. And that means the 2012-13 year was almost certainly an anomaly and probably won’t be repeated. But it would be nice to think a new, strike free era has started.
EducationBy Matthew Ladner, Dave Myslinski, American Legislative Exchange CouncilPolicy Report, 07/15/2013
The United States suffers from a costly and ineffective system of K–12 schooling — a disadvantage that we can scarcely afford in an increasingly competitive world. A small handful of the wealthiest states do reasonably well in international comparisons, but not one is a world contender.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy Alabama Policy Institute, Alabama Policy InstituteGuide to the Issues, 07/15/2013
Sections 4 and 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 pertaining to the “covered” jurisdictions were set to expire after five years but were reauthorized in 1970, 1975, 1982, and 2006. In 2009, the racial gap in voter registration and turnout was lower in the states originally covered than it was nationwide. In June 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the formula in section 4 of the VRA is no longer appropriate since “the conditions that originally justified these measures no longer characterize voting in the covered jurisdictions.”
PhilanthropyBy Alexander Reid, Philanthropy RoundtableArticle, 07/12/2013
The charitable deduction is a negotiated bargain between citizens and the state, establishing a delicate balance of power. We have accepted limits on how much money we may contribute, on the types of property that can be given, on the arrangements that constitute a gift, on the broad sectors we may give to, and on what the recipients are forbidden to do with our gifts. But, historically and philosophically, there are more reasons to argue that the charitable deduction should be expanded today than that it should be further circumscribed. Sacrificing the charitable deduction is not a wise, safe, or acceptable means of improving today’s disastrous federal finances. The appropriation of charitable revenue by the federal government would be a profound renegotiation of the relationship between the American government and our civil society. Bluntly, such a drastic move would run counter to the entire history and spirit of American democracy.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Dean Cheng, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 07/12/2013
Beijing hopes to win future conflicts without firing a shot. How? By using psychological warfare to manipulate both a nation’s leaders and its populace—affecting the thought processes and cognitive frameworks of allies and opponents alike. Indeed, the PRC’s psychological warfare operations are already underway despite the fact that there is no active conflict. It is therefore essential that the United States counter such psychological operations now while preparing to use its own arsenal of political warfare weapons should a conflict ever arise.
National SecurityBy Baker Spring, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 07/12/2013
President Barack Obama’s declared goal of eliminating the U.S. nuclear arsenal appears to be driving U.S. nuclear policy. The Nuclear Posture Review Implementation Study, which recommends reducing the number of U.S. strategic nuclear weapons by up to one-third, appears to have resulted from choosing the amount of reduction first and then justifying the number after the fact, rather than assessing U.S. deterrence needs first and then choosing the number of weapons that would meet that need. The Administration’s backward approach to policymaking threatens to undermine the security of the United States and its allies.
Health CareBy Avik Roy, Manhattan InstituteTestimony, 07/11/2013
A one-year delay impacts other important provisions of the Affordable Care Act. In order to gain eligibility for subsidized coverage on the exchanges, an individual must prove that he has not been offered “affordable” coverage from his employer. But now that the reporting requirements of the employer mandate have been delayed, it may be difficult for him to prove or disprove that. Delaying the employer mandate’s reporting requirements, therefore, affects the implementation of the subsidized exchanges and the individual mandate.
Health CareBy Peter Ferrara, National Center for Policy AnalysisIssue Brief, 07/11/2013
HSAs and similar consumer-directed high deductible plans are spreading across the work force, and demonstrating a powerful capability to control rising health care costs. But ObamaCare threatens to raise rather than lower health insurance costs, and will fail to achieve universal health care by a wide margin. Indeed, ObamaCare will quite possibly increase rather than reduce the number of uninsured. It is already reducing employment and senior access to health care, and with no change in course, these effects will grow far worse. Indeed, ObamaCare is now the problem, and HSAs are the solution.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Christopher Snowdon, Institute of Economic AffairsReport, 07/11/2013
Government regulation of e-cigarettes will harm competition, increase prices and damage public health. New research released today by the Institute of Economic Affairs finds that excessive regulation of alternative nicotine products will actually do more harm than good. This new study, Free Market Solutions in Health: The case of nicotine, finds that safer nicotine products are not a gateway to smoking, but a gateway from smoking. Evidence suggests that alternative nicotine products have little appeal to non-smokers, and have a marked impact on helping smokers to quit. Banning e-cigarettes will mean more people continue smoking cigarettes, a vastly unhealthier product. Smokers should not be discouraged from switching to far less hazardous forms of nicotine. Harm reduction is a better strategy than prohibition.
Health CareBy James C. Capretta, American Enterprise InstituteTestimony, 07/11/2013
The administration's recent decisions to delay significant parts of the PPACA are an invitation to the Congress to revisit the law too. At this point, it would seem that there is bipartisan agreement that the employer mandate should not go into effect, at least not before 2015. This committee and Congress should consider enacting into law the one-year delay that the administration already says it supports. This would allow Congress to write the delay in a manner that clearly relieves employers of their obligations. It would allow Congress to revisit the question again next year. The same reasons that compelled the administration to delay its enforcement this year will be there next year, with possibly the same result.
National SecurityBy Lisa Curtis, The Heritage FoundationIssue Brief, 07/11/2013
The Obama Administration is considering leaving no U.S. troops behind in Afghanistan after it ends its combat mission there in 2014. This would undermine U.S. security interests, as it would pave the way for the Taliban to regain influence in Afghanistan and cripple the U.S. ability to conduct counterterrorism missions in the region. President Obama instead should commit the U.S. to maintaining a robust troop presence (at least 15,000–20,000) in Afghanistan after 2014 in order to train and advise the Afghan troops and conduct counterterrorism missions as necessary. The U.S. should also remain diplomatically, politically, and financially engaged in Afghanistan in order to sustain the gains made over the last decade and ensure that the country does not again serve as a sanctuary for international terrorists intent on attacking the U.S.
Health CareBy James Panero, Manhattan InstituteArticle, 07/10/2013
A century and a half ago, the need for a moral treatment of the mentally ill led to institutions that offered the most advanced care of the day. The fiscal and legal barriers to repeating that achievement may seem insurmountable. But undoing 50 years of bad policy is easy compared with what today’s mentally ill must endure. Many of today’s mentally ill have returned to pre-Kirkbride conditions and live on society’s margins, either sleeping on the streets or drifting among prisons, jails, welfare hotels, and outpatient facilities. As their diseases go untreated, they do significant harm to themselves and their families. Some go further, terrorizing communities with disorder and violence. Our failure to care for them recalls the inhumane era that preceded the rise of the state institutions. The time has come for new facilities and a new moral treatment.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy James Jay Carafano, James Phillips, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 07/10/2013
Egypt’s army recently ousted President Mohamed Morsi, just as it removed Hosni Mubarak in 2011, to prevent growing civil disorder from undermining the power of the state and its own privileges within the state. The intervention was widely applauded by opposition political parties and the overwhelming majority of the millions of protesters who demanded that Morsi step down. By taking steps to preserve public order, the military could help to salvage Egypt’s chances of making the difficult transition to a stable democracy. To salvage the increasingly difficult situation in Egypt, the United States should press the Egyptian military to lay the groundwork for a return to civilian rule as soon as possible, attach tighter strings to U.S. aid, and recalibrate the U.S. aid program to focus on fighting terrorism and preventing food shortages—the chief threats to Egypt’s future.