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  • Author: William G. Gale, Alan J. Auerbach
  • Publication Date: 03-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Emerging federal budget surpluses have sparked calls for large-scale tax cuts that would be irresponsible and counterproductive. Surpluses over the next ten years are based on optimistic assumptions regarding revenues and spending. Even if they do materialize, the surpluses will exist only because government accounting obscures the growing cost of future liabilities. The government faces a large, long-term deficit, and tax cuts would make this problem worse. The proposed 10-percent income tax rate cut would provide disproportionately large benefits to wealthy households and little to lower income households. It would have little effect on economic growth, but would impose higher burdens on future generations, and would reduce future budget discipline by violating the budget rules. Moreover, for most families, tax burdens are already at their lowest level in twenty years. Saving the surplus, by paying down public debt, would help the economy much more than would tax cuts.
  • Topic: Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Paul C. Light
  • Publication Date: 02-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The past six years have witnessed the most significant reshaping of the federal workforce in recent history. On the one hand, government clearly has lost weight. The total number of full-time federal employees has declined, as has the number of federal middle-level managers. On the other hand, government has gotten much taller, at least as measured by the number of layers at the very top of the federal hierarchy. This changing shape means that ordinary Americans will be less likely to contact a federal employee when they call a government 800 number, write an office, or use a service. It also means that the nation's elected and appointed leaders will be further from the front lines, and less likely to know what the public is getting for its tax dollars.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Todd Sechser
  • Publication Date: 12-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The United States has spent over $3 billion addressing the nuclear proliferation threat from Russia since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Programs managed by the Departments of Defense, Energy, and State have helped safeguard Russia's enormous stockpiles of nuclear material, dismantle nuclear-tipped missiles, and keep nuclear scientists employed in Russia and out of other nations' nuclear programs.
  • Topic: Security, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Jon B. Wolfsthal
  • Publication Date: 10-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Russia's nuclear weapons complex is spread across 10 remote, closed and formerly secret “nuclear cities,” which employ almost 1 million scientists, engineers and technicians. Moscow's economic collapse has left these former “jewels” in the Russian nuclear crown struggling to survive, and workers with access to nuclear materials and expertise routinely go for months without getting paid. The U.S. Department of Energy, as part of the Clinton Administration's cooperative threat reduction efforts, has launched the Nuclear Cities Initiative (NCI) to reduce the proliferation risks created by the poor economic conditions in these closed cities. By promoting the development of private industry in these cities, NCI seeks to prevent a brain drain of Russian nuclear experts to would-be nuclear-weapon states.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Steve H. Hanke, Kurt Schuler
  • Publication Date: 03-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: President Carlos Menem of Argentina has advocated replacing the Argentine peso with the dollar. Dollarization would benefit Argentina because it would eliminate the peso-dollar exchange-rate risk, lower interest rates, and stimulate economic growth.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Argentina, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Ivan Eland, Timothy M. Beard
  • Publication Date: 02-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Although the end of the Cold War reduced the likelihood of a nuclear exchange between the superpowers, several smaller rogue states, through their dedicated efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles, have emerged as potential threats to U.S. national security. National Intelligence Estimate 95-19 stated that no new missile threats to the United States would develop before 2010. However, given the curious circumstances of the estimate's release and the many analytical faults contained in the document, its results have been questioned.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, National Security
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: C. Richard Nelson, Jr. Gillespie, Brandon Grove Jr., David E. McGiffert
  • Publication Date: 07-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The implications of the transfer of the Panama Canal go well beyond U.S. relations with Panama. This complex transition provides an important lesson for Latin America and the rest of the world on how countries of vastly different size and outlook can work together. The success of this 20 year process lies mainly in first identifying the primary common interest of the United States, Panama and the major canal users: access to an open, safe and efficient canal. Important but secondary concerns, including U.S. military access to facilities in Panama, were addressed during the process but never were allowed to displace the primary interest. By focusing on this clear, compelling key objective, both Panama and the United States were able to accommodate fundamental changes in the political, economic and security context, including several changes in administrations, tough negotiations and even a military confrontation.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America
  • Author: Roger Kirk, Jack M. Seymour Jr., John Lampe, Louis Sell
  • Publication Date: 06-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Basic Factors Underlying a Regional Settlement 1. Any overall settlement in the Balkans should be area-wide and coordinated among the entities directly involved, the neighboring states, the key nations of the outside community, and the relevant political and economic international institutions. 2. It will have to include political arrangements, international security guarantees, and substantial economic assistance as a basis for genuine peace and reconciliation. 3. It must embrace generally accepted international standards, including respect for human rights and rights for ethnic minorities; right of return for all area refugees; rule of law; effective media freedom; and free elections supervised or, where necessary, organized by the international community. 4. The settlement should promote and institutionalize political and economic cooperation, regional trade and/or formal ties among the participating states and entities of the former Yugoslavia, and neighboring states as feasible, including the free flow of goods, labor and capital. 5. International assistance in reconstruction, economic reform and development of economic ties among the peoples of the region and with the European Community must be massive. It should, however, be designed to promote democratic institutions, market reform, adherence to peace agreements, and respect for human rights. 6. Such assistance should target the private sector, encourage local initiatives, and help governments pursue effective economic reform policies. It should seek to curtail corruption and the maintenance of unprofitable state industries. It should avoid encouraging international dependency. The purpose should be to build societies and practices conducive to self-reliance, international cooperation, and outside investment. Positive and negative lessons can be drawn from experiences in Bosnia. 7. The support of the broad population of Serbia will be necessary if peaceful and economically viable regional arrangements are to last. The reconstruction process implied in these arrangements will itself be an incentive for the Serbs to opt away from destructive nationalist policies and join in the regional reconstruction process. 8. Neither lasting peace in the Balkans nor democracy in Serbia can be achieved as long as Slobodan Milosevic remains in power. He has been indicted by the Tribunal in The Hague for crimes against humanity and his removal from power is a prime NATO objective. There are increasing and encouraging signs of popular Serb desire to be rid of Milosevic, but it is not certain that he will depart in the near future. 9. A regional settlement may have to be negotiated indirectly with, or imposed upon, Milosevic as the ruler of Serbia. It should nevertheless be made clear that the West condemns Milosevic\'s actions, that Serbia cannot resume its rightful place in Europe as long as it is governed by indicted war criminals, and that the West will help the people of Serbia in their efforts to bring forth new, democratic, cosmopolitan leadership in their country. 10. The Kosovar Albanians cannot be expected to live under Serbian control again for the foreseeable future. Arrangements short of formal independence such as an international protectorate or trusteeship are possible, indeed likely, for a transitional period. A more permanent and self-sustaining arrangement is highly desirable if it can be achieved without creating more instability in the former Yugoslav space and the neighboring area. 11. A credible international military presence is needed to encourage the return of the remaining Albanian-Kosovars, the continued residence of Serb-Kosovars and to maintain peace and order within Kosovo and on its borders. Such a presence will also be a lasting part of any transitional arrangement. Any foreseeable regional settlement will similarly require a prolonged foreign military presence. This settlement should, however, lay the foundation for an end to that presence by, among other things, providing for supervised demilitarization of the states and entities involved, and a comprehensive regional arms control agreement. 12. A central objective of any regional settlement should be to promote conditions that will encourage a stable political and military environment, economic growth, and increasing self-reliance. These changes will permit an end to the foreign military, political, and economic presence in the region, though no date for that termination should be set.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Kosovo, Balkans
  • Author: C. Richard Nelson, James E. Goodby, Tomohisha Sakanaka, W. Neal Anderson, Tomohide Murai, Shinichi Ogawa
  • Publication Date: 05-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The main challenge for Asia is to build a security community that transforms a legacy of military competition into security cooperation. This transformation will be difficult because of the high level of distrust among the states and considerable uncertainty about future relations. Asia lacks the kinds of developed, institutionalized multilateral security arrangements that contribute to transparency, confidence-building and long-term stability. Furthermore, a “ business as usual ” approach that focuses on managing bilateral relationships is unlikely to result in a security community. More attention needs to be devoted to multilateral security efforts. Without the reassurance of a network of cooperative arrangements, including verifiable arms limitations, potential adversaries may place their hopes in achieving unilateral military advantages. Such efforts could foster fears of regional domination and, in turn, a potential arms race that includes nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
  • Topic: Security, NATO
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, East Asia, Asia
  • Author: Donald L. Guertin, Richard E. Balzhiser, Christian Gobert, William J. Dirks, Joy C. Dunkerley, Stephen P. Pettibone
  • Publication Date: 02-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Despite the recent global economic slowdown, the demand for energy services is bound to increase over the long term in order to provide improved living standards for growing populations, in particular in developing countries. In recognition of its unique characteristics, the demand for electricity will rise even faster than total energy. Several studies present scenarios that show a doubling of global installed capacity over the next twenty years.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia