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  • Author: Karen E. Young
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The economies of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) remain heavily reliant on natural resource revenue as a source of government spending and a driver of growth. Diversification efforts now often include new ways to generate revenue through state investments in energy projects abroad (including refining and petrochemical production) and national oil companies. Since 2015, the GCC countries have become more competitive with each other in altering their policy landscapes to streamline fiscal expenditure and attract foreign investment and resident investors. There is significant variation in policy approaches to foreign labor and tax. Each of these governments faces enormous strains on public finances and challenging economic outlooks, due to depressed oil prices, demographic pressures, high unemployment rates, and a lack of economic diversification. Debt has become a tool of choice, but the capacity to repay and the capacity to grow are both beginning to differentiate the GCC states.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Government, Natural Resources, Economy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Gulf Cooperation Council, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Dalibor Rohac
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: What distinguishes the governments of Hungary and Poland are not their views on immigration nor their defense of national sovereignty or Europe’s Judeo-Christian heritage. Rather, it is their distinctly authoritarian and anti-market features. With a new Fundamental Law, electoral reform, and other far-reaching changes adopted in Hungary on strictly partisan lines, as well as a politicization of the judiciary and attacks on free media and civil society in both countries, the Law and Justice Party (PiS) and Fidesz governments have sought to entrench themselves and prevent meaningful democratic contestation of their power. In both countries, key achievements of the post-1989 transition to the free enterprise system are being reversed. In Poland, for example, 40 percent of all banking-sector assets are now held by the government. Hungarian and Polish authoritarianism, as well as the rise of political kleptocracy in Hungary, pose a direct threat to the values on which the transatlantic alliance was built and America’s interest in the region. The United States cannot afford to become a cheerleader for either Fidesz or PiS, no matter how convincing their conservative bona fides might seem.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, Politics, Authoritarianism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eurasia, Poland, Hungary
  • Author: Anthony T. Lo Sasso
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The present upswing in state-level efforts to "do something about health care," combined with presidential campaign-related rhetoric, suggests that health care is back with a vengeance on the public consciousness. Many states are proposing what appear to be new strategies to cover the uninsured when in reality the "new" strategies rely on old approaches that have not proven highly effective in the past, notably community rating and guaranteed issue regulations. Using data culled from a popular health insurance distributor and the published literature provides a compelling portrait of the predictable distortions that can result from regulations aimed at improving perceived deficiencies in the non-group and small group health insurance markets.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Health, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: In October 1907, J. P. Morgan stemmed a financial panic by coercing other banks to join him in providing credit to Wall Street brokerage firms teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.[1] This year, over the weekend including March 15—the ominous Ides of March—James Dimon, head of JPMorgan Chase, was the one to act. With the Federal Reserve squarely behind him and assuming the risk, he prevented a Bear Stearns bankruptcy by agreeing to purchase the firm, providing it with a decent burial, at a price of $2 per share. Bear Stearns's stock had been valued at over $160 per share just a year ago. The $2 price virtually wiped out the value of that stock, one-third of which is owned by its 14,000 employees. This was clearly not a bailout for Bear Stearns shareholders, and whether or not the steps taken by the Fed on March 16 were sufficient to arrest a further collapse of available credit and the economy remains to be seen. As long as house prices keep falling, the underlying problem for credit markets and the economy remains.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The bursting of every bubble is followed by statements suggesting that the worst is over and that the real economy will be unharmed. The weeks since mid-March have been such a period in the United States. The underlying problem—a bust in the residential real-estate market—has, however, grown worse, with peak-to-trough estimates of the drop in home prices having gone from 20 to 30 percent in the span of just two months. Meanwhile, the attendant damage to the housing sector and to the balance sheets tied to it has grown worse and spread beyond the subprime subsector.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Douglas J. Besharov
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Finding that an op-ed by Michael Gerson poorly defined the conservative approach to social problems, Douglas J. Besharov outlined six principles that underlie the conservative position on government social programs. Besharov notes that being cautious about the possible ill effects of government intervention is not unique to conservatives. It is simply realistic to be skeptical about the federal government's ability to mitigate serious social welfare problems.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Government, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Amity Shlaes
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Democratic presidential candidates are invoking the New Deal as a model for addressing infrastructure, economic, and employment problems in the United States. But a careful look at New Deal spending suggests, in the words of Amity Shlaes, "not how much the public works achieved . . . [but] how little." Advocates for new federal government spending on highways, buildings, and roads should carefully weigh the need against the damage that comes from projects and jobs created for political reasons.
  • Topic: Government, Industrial Policy, Political Economy, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Scott Gottlieb
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Although John Edwards is no longer a presidential candidate, his attacks on the U.S. health care system will continue to resonate. As a candidate, he used the tragic case of Nataline Sarkisyan, who died while awaiting a liver transplant, as an indictment of the U.S. medical system and an argument for a European-style single-payer system. But AEI's Scott Gottlieb, M.D., argues that there is little support for Edwards's argument that a single-payer system would be better for people who need transplants. The data show, he says, that organ access in the United States, our willingness to transplant the sickest patients, and U.S. medical outcomes are among the best in the world.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States, California
  • Author: Amity Shlaes, Vincent R. Reinhart, Allan H. Meltzer, John L. Chapman
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: How fragile is our financial system? What are the implications of the Fed's actions on Bear Stearns? Do we need new ways of thinking about the risks the system entails? In recent articles, four AEI scholars have looked closely at the evidence of what went wrong and what is ahead.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Scott Gottlieb
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: In this article, AEI resident fellow Scott Gottlieb, M.D., describes how information about a new use of the breast cancer drug Herceptin was slow in reaching oncologists. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) delayed approving the new indication for almost two years, and during that period, the drug's sponsor could not distribute its findings about the new use. Proposed FDA guidelines on dissemination of information on unapproved uses of medical products, Gottlieb says, will establish a more appropriate standard for what kind of information should be shared.
  • Topic: Government, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Vincent R. Reinhart
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The Senate Banking Committee approved legislation on May 20 that would empower the Federal Housing Administration to provide relief to mortgage borrowers teetering on the brink of default. The House has already passed similar legislation. Only two months ago, mortgage aid was viewed as unlikely, but the odds now favor it becoming law. For this change of fortune, the legislation's chief sponsors, Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Representative Barney Frank (D-Mass.), should thank one person in particular: Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: John E. Calfee, Paul H. Rubin
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Senator Kennedy is expected to recover from his brain tumor surgery without any serious side effects, thankfully. And while the spotlight is on his recovery, the news of his malignant brain tumor should also shed some light on drug approval policies.
  • Topic: Government, Health
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Thomas P. Miller
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The periodic ritual of announcing the mounting size of the fiscal problem posed by Medicare has never been, and will never be, enough to generate productive reform. Most of us got the memo that we are overcommitted and underfunded. Merely pointing to the size of the problem—in terms of Medicare's massive unfunded long-term liabilities, near-term budget imbalances, future rates of taxation that will be needed to sustain the program, or Medicare's preemption of national resources that crowds out funding for other important public pro-grams and private activities—has had little effect.
  • Topic: Government, Health
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Samuel Thernstrom
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: In this article, Samuel Thernstrom, codirector of AEI's geoengineering project, notes that policymakers generally discuss two different ways to address global warming: cutting emissions and adaptation—that is, learning to live with a warmer planet. But there is another way to cool the planet, he says, "that could be fast, effective, and affordable." This strategy is geoengineering, and in this article, Thernstrom explains how it would work and why it is being ignored. In the race to respond to climate change, he says, it is time to invest in this alternative solution.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Environment, Government
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 09-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Part I of this Russian Outlook dealt with what might be called the errors of commission, or false attribution, in the "chaos-of-the-1990s" stereotype, which became a major theme of the Putin Kremlin's propaganda. The economic crisis of that era, mostly inherited from the decaying Soviet economy, was laid at the revolutionary regime's door. Yet the "chaos" legend also contains errors of omission, for, on closer inspection, there was a great deal in the 1990s besides the alleged "chaos."
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Government, Politics, Privatization
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eastern Europe, Asia, Soviet Union
  • Author: Robert W. Hahn, Anna Layne-Farrar
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Security in software networks relies on technology, law, and economics. As the cost of software security breaches becomes more apparent, there has been greater interest in developing and implementing solutions for different parts of the problem.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Government, Science and Technology
  • Author: Kevin A. Hassett, Alan D. Viard
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The statutory rate on corporate capital gains currently is equal to the statutory tax rate on ordinary corporate income. Although individual capital gains taxes have received an enormous amount of attention, both in the popular media and in the academic literature, corporate capital gains have received very sparse attention. In principle, however, the distortions that arise from corporate capital gain taxation are analogous to those that might arrive from individual capital gains taxation. Corporations might face a higher user cost of capital and they could find that their previous purchases have been “locked in” in the sense that asset sales are avoided because of their tax consequences.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Industrial Policy, Science and Technology
  • Author: Mark Falcoff
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Since its financial crisis six years ago, Argentina has faded somewhat from the headlines. This is no doubt due in large part to the disproportionate space our media outlets now devote to Iraq and Iran, but also to the fact that other Latin American news stories—particularly Fidel Castro's surgery and the antics of Venezuela's clownish president Hugo Chávez—have dominated coverage of the area. Argentina is not, however, a negligent regional actor.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Argentina, South America, Latin America, Venezuela
  • Author: Mark Falcoff
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The recent passing of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and the events surrounding his last illness, death, and burial remind us that we are living through the last moments of a Latin American drama which began nearly a half-century ago with the Cuban Revolution. The only thing lacking to bring the curtain down once and for all is the disappearance of Fidel Castro, who began the whole business. Though no one knows precisely when that eventuality will occur, the Cuban strongman's unprecedented decision last July to transfer effective power to his younger brother Raúl and his failure to reappear publicly after abdominal surgery after nearly six months suggest it cannot be far off.
  • Topic: International Relations, Civil Society, Government
  • Political Geography: South America, Cuba, Latin America
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: To the dismay and amazement of optimistic market players, not to mention Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, early in March former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan publicly assessed the probability of a recession this year to be one in three. This was a shock to those who had been carefully avoiding use of the “r word” while intensifying problems in the subprime mortgage market heralded the news that the housing correction, which had been declared “over” in January, was instead moving into a second, more intense, and unpleasant phase. Weaker investment (capital spending was actually a drag on fourth quarter growth) and an 8.7 percent drop in January durable goods orders further undercut hope for sustained general growth. The Fed's own economic outlook has looked to firmer capital spending as part of an economic recovery scenario.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government, Markets
  • Author: Kevin A. Hassett
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The financial-aid system for college students is in a state of disarray. Federal aid and programs administered through the tax code are bureaucratic and include unfair provisions. Congress should stop using programs with a track record of little success and start using those that will give students the opportunities—and financial aid—they deserve.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Education, Government
  • Author: John E. Calfee
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Looming on the horizon is a political battle over direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of prescription drugs.The Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) is up for renewal, as it has been every five years since 1997. First passed in 1992, PDUFA authorizes the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to collect fees from pharmaceutical companies submitting new drugs for approval, as well as a separate annual fee for each prescription drug on the market. (Before PDUFA, taxpayers alone funded FDA product reviews.) Because user fees cover most salaries of FDA drug regulators, the pharmaceutical industry, Congressional leaders, and the FDA itself all support renewal. But this time around, Congress is expected to tack on provisions dealing with drug safety and other matters, especially DTCA.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics, Government, Markets
  • Author: Charles Murray
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: In January, W. H. Brady Scholar Charles Murray stepped back from current education debates about reauthorization of the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act and education funding in the president's budget to ask more fundamental questions about the goals that should shape American education in the future. This On the Issues is adapted from essays published in the Wall Street Journal on January 16, 17, and 18, 2007.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Samuel Thernstrom, Lee Lane
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: President George W. Bush was widely expected to propose ambitious new initiatives to control greenhouse gas emissions in the State of the Union address on January 23. The week before the speech, his top environmental advisor told a Washington Post columnist that a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system would be “the most elegant” solution to climate change, raising expectations that a proposal along those lines might be forthcoming. In the end, however, the president proposed a remarkably modest (and poorly conceived) initiative to cut gasoline consumption by 20 percent in the next ten years. This was an important lost opportunity for leadership at a crucial juncture.
  • Topic: Development, Environment, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Washington
  • Author: Thomas Donnelly, Colin Monaghan
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The White House has recently taken important steps to ensure that the tenets of the Bush Doctrine endure beyond the end of President George W. Bush's administration, including a new strategy in Iraq and an increase in the size of U.S. land forces. But as time grows short, the president needs to attend closely to three matters. The first of these—a surge in U.S. efforts in Afghanistan—was discussed in the February 2007 edition of National Security Outlook, is a need as obvious and pressing as Iraq and an important factor in the urgency of rebuilding land forces, especially the Army. The second and third factors are less frequently discussed but essential for the long-term viability of the Bush Doctrine and the continuation of the Pax Americana: articulating a strategy for the “Long War” in the greater Middle East and devising a genuinely global response to the rise of China. This issue of National Security Outlook is devoted to the second factor, the strategy for winning the Long War in the Middle East.
  • Topic: Government, National Security, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, China, Iraq, America, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Thomas Donnelly
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: With the recent announcements of a new strategy for Iraq and a commitment to begin increasing the size of U.S. land forces, the White House has taken two important steps to ensure that the tenets of the Bush Doctrine endure beyond the end of President George W. Bush's administration. Since 9/11 and indeed since the beginning of this administration, strategy has been made by an odd combination of ad hoc improvisation and expansive rhetoric. The day-to-day business of fitting means to ends and filling in the policy blanks has either been delegated to subordinates, left to the bureaucracy, or put in the “too hard” box. As time grows short, Bush needs to attend closely to three further matters. The first is as obvious and pressing as Iraq and an important factor in the need to rebuild land forces, especially the Army: a surge in U.S. efforts in Afghanistan. The second and third factors are less frequently discussed but essential for the long-term viability of the Bush Doctrine and the continuity of the Pax Americana: articulate a strategy for the “long war” in the greater Middle East and devise a genuinely global response to the rise of China. This issue of National Security Outlook begins a series devoted to these three measures of the enduring meaning of the Bush Doctrine.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, National Security
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, China, Iraq, America, Asia
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The twentieth anniversary of the beginning of the Russian revolution (1987–91) is a fitting occasion to assess the true scale and the impact of the national spiritual liberation known as glasnost, and to put it into a broader context of the history of ideas and their role in revolutions. Such an examination is doubly useful today, when a steady stream of Kremlin-sponsored propaganda seeks to distort and minimize what glasnost has wrought.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Nationalism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The new Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke, is making what cynics would call a serious mistake: he is being honest with the markets. The Fed is uncertain about the future path of U.S. growth and inflation. The most basic tenet of the theory of economic policy is that in circumstances of elevated uncertainty, policymakers should do less. Therefore, in his April 27 testimony to the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, Bernanke suggested that the Fed might start doing less: Even if in the Committees judgment the risks to its objectives are not entirely balanced, at some point in the future the Committee may decide to take no action at one or more meetings in the interest of allowing more time to receive information relevant to the outlook [emphasis added]. The new Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke, is making what cynics would call a serious mistake: he is being honest with the markets. The Fed is uncertain about the future path of U.S. growth and inflation. The most basic tenet of the theory of economic policy is that in circumstances of elevated uncertainty, policymakers should do less. Therefore, in his April 27 testimony to the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, Bernanke suggested that the Fed might start doing less: Even if in the Committees judgment the risks to its objectives are not entirely balanced, at some point in the future the Committee may decide to take no action at one or more meetings in the interest of allowing more time to receive information relevant to the outlook [emphasis added]. After its May 10 meeting, the Feds Open Market Committee reinforced the message of more uncertainty about the direction of the economy, saying: The Committee judges that some further policy firming may yet be needed to address inflation risks but emphasizes that the extent and timing of any such firming will depend importantly on the evolution of the economic outlook as implied by incoming information [emphasis added]. Chairman Bernanke and virtually all of his colleagues on the Open Market Committee have made it clear, most forcefully in their May 10 statement, that they view the Federal Reserves most important mandated objective as one of maintaining low and stable inflation. A glance at any long-run chart of U.S. growth and inflation data clearly demonstrates the basis for this view. Since the early 1980s, when inflation was reduced and held to low and stable levels, U.S. economic performance has improved markedly. Growth has been higher and steadier; productivity growth picked up especially after 1995 and has remained higher ever since. Virtually all macroeconomic data have stabilized in a way that has reduced the duration and severity of recessions, so that the last recession (in 2001) was barely detectable. The Great Moderation is an often-used term that describes policymakers pride and satisfaction with the beneficial results of bringing down inflation and holding it at low levels.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Peter J. Wallison
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: At the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's (FDIC) recent hearings on Wal-Mart's application to acquire a bank-like institution in Utah that can accept FDIC-insured deposits, a representative of the National Association of Realtors testified that such an acquisition would violate the principle separating banking and commerce. No doubt the banks savored this rare support from the realtors, but what they may not have realized is that the joke is on them.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics, Government, Politics
  • Author: James Q. Wilson
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: When South Dakota passed a law banning all abortions save those that threaten the physical health of the mother, opponents of abortion were cheered and defenders of it outraged. I think both sides were mistaken.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Government, Health, Human Rights
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: On Tuesday, January 18, the yield on fifty-year inflation-protected U.K. government bonds (what the British call "indexed-linked gilts") dropped to 0.38 percent, about one-seventh the historical average of just over 2.6 percent for such debt instruments. Just a few months earlier, that yield had been over 1 percent, still extraordinarily low by historical standards, and especially low in an economy that has experienced fifty-three consecutive quarters of positive growth. A yield drop from 1 percent to 0.38 percent on a fifty-year bond corresponds to a 30 percent rise in its price over a period of just three months. That is an annual return of over 100 percent, much higher than the 13 percent annual increase in U.S. house prices at midyear and the 20 to 30 percent gains seen in the stock market before the March 2000 crash. The asset bubble has spread to long-term government bonds, especially those with inflation protection. What is going on here?
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Charles Murray
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The twenty-fifth anniversary of the Atlas Foundation provided Charles Murray with an occasion to consider the influence of classical liberal ideas on policy and also to speculate on what lies ahead.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Author: Nicholas Eberstadt
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Without a clearer understanding of the serious flaws in the government's official measure of poverty, most initiatives aimed at reducing poverty in the United States will be needlessly ineffective. New measures that take into account contemporary lifestyles and the dynamic U.S. economy will be more useful in helping the poor.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Poverty
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: James Q. Wilson
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: When President George W. Bush said that America hopes to spread democracy to all the world, he was echoing a sentiment many people support. Though Americans do not put “extending democracy” near the top of their list of foreign policy objectives (preventing terrorism is their chief goal), few would deny that if popular rule is extended it would improve lives around the world. Democracy, of course, means rule by the people. But the devil is in the details. By one count, the number of democracies quintupled in the second half of the twentieth century, but there are freedom- loving and freedom-disdaining democracies. Fareed Zakaria calls the latter “illiberal democracies.” Among them are Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Ukraine, and Venezuela.
  • Topic: International Relations, Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Venezuela
  • Author: Michael Rubin
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: After Hamas kidnapped nineteen-year-old Corporal Gilad Shalit on June 25, Israeli forces launched an assault on Gaza to win his release. Arab condemnation was swift. Saudi Arabia's pro- government al-Jazira daily called Israel “a society of terrorists.” Egypt's state-controlled al-Gumhuriyah condemned Israel's “heinous crimes” in Gaza. Following a July 8 meeting in Tehran, foreign ministers from countries neighboring Iraq denounced the “brutal Israeli attacks.”
  • Topic: International Relations, Government
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, Tehran, Gaza, Arab Countries, Saudi Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Vance Serchuk
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: When rioting sparked by a fatal traffic accident involving the U.S. military suddenly broke out in Kabul in May, most in the city were taken by surprise. Less shocking was the response of the Afghan National Police (ANP) to the unrest. Rather than dispersing the mobs and restoring order, Kabul's cops were reported fleeing their posts and, in some cases, joining the looters. “The reaction of our police was really shameful,” acknowledged Jawed Ludin, chief of staff to President Hamid Karzai. Unfortunately, the sorry performance of the ANP was not an isolated event, but a reflection of a much bigger problem. Nearly five years since the ouster of the Taliban and more than three since the fall of Saddam, the Bush administration has repeatedly stumbled in its efforts to create effective foreign police forces. In marked contrast to the army-building efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have begun to yield encouraging results, the indigenous police in both countries appear stuck in a transition to nowhere, slaughtered by insurgents and infiltrated by militias and warlords.
  • Topic: Government, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Middle East, Taliban, Kabul
  • Author: Edward Blum, Roger Clegg, Abigail Thernstrom
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Government memos leaked to the press are nothing new in Washington, yet they can still command a front-page, above-the-fold headline. The latest came on December 2, 2005, when the Washington Post trumpeted, “Justice Staff Saw Texas Districting as Illegal; Voting Rights Finding on Map Pushed by DeLay Was Overruled.” (Part of this story was recycled by the Post on Monday, January 23, in another front-page, above-the-fold story.) The story that followed loosely described the contents of a 2003 internal Department of Justice memo written by career staffers in the voting section of the civil-rights division. Those staffers—five lawyers and two analysts—had concluded that the Congressional redistricting plan Texas had recently submitted to them for approval was in violation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act because it “retrogressed”—or, more simply, “diminished”—the electoral position of blacks and Hispanics. Then attorney general John Ashcroft and the political appointees in the civil-rights division—as well as, incidentally, a career lawyer higher in the chain of command (a fact that the Post failed to note)—rejected the memo's findings and allowed Texas to implement the new plan.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington
  • Author: John E. Calfee
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: With the fourth Vioxx lawsuit currently under way, a fourth jury is in the thick of trying to determine whether Merck is indeed liable for any injuries that may or may not have arisen from the use of its blockbuster arthritis drug. The trials have highlighted bad tort bar science in all its dubious glory—from questionable pathology reports to seriously exaggerated claims about the dangers of Vioxx—but they also raise a deeper issue. Every drug presents patients and doctors with a trade-off between benefits and risks. But how can physicians and drug companies strike a balance in the age of a hyperactive litigation? Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) weighed in on that question when it published a long-awaited rule to simplify drug labels. Up to now, extensive, cringe-inducing lists of every imaginable side effect of a medicine were a drug company's best hope of immunizing itself from lawsuits down the road. The FDA wants to simplify those impenetrable reams of fine print by preempting state-court lawsuits claiming that an FDA-approved label failed to warn patients of a potential danger.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Health, Human Welfare
  • Author: Karlyn H. Bowman
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: What do Americans think about the health of the Social Security system and proposals to reform it? This AEI Public Opinion Study looks at how different pollsters have approached the issue. It provides historical data and includes trends on aspects of the debate from major pollsters.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: On December 13 the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee (FOMC) raised the federal funds rate, the principal tool for setting monetary policy, by 25 basis points to 4.25 percent. At the same time, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors greatly simplified what had been a tortured statement explaining the basis for their actions and the factors that will govern future actions. The statement was remarkably brief: Despite elevated energy prices and hurricanerelated disruptions, the expansion in economic activity appears solid. Core inflation has stayed relatively low in recent months and longer-term inflation expectations remain contained. Nevertheless, possible increases in resource utilization as well as elevated energy prices have the potential to add to inflation pressures. The Committee judges that some further measured policy firming is likely to be needed to keep the risks to the attainment of both sustainable economic growth and price stability roughly in balance. In any event, the Committee will respond to changes in economic prospects as needed to foster these objectives. (emphasis added).
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Let's begin with a riddle: Why is the dollar like a Republican president? Answer: Because the dollar faces incessant predictions of imminent collapse, but in the end it wins out over weaker alternatives.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Among the more remarkable features of the U.S. economy over the past five years—through a tech-stock collapse (from which we have still not recovered), the 9/11 disaster, and numerous chastening corporate scandals —has been the extraordinary resilience of American consumers. To paraphrase H. L. Mencken, no one has ever gone broke (at least not recently) by overestimating the willingness of Americans to spend money.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The persistence of annualized economic growth of about 3.5 percent—despite crude oil prices between $50 and $60 per barrel—has led many analysts to claim that the U.S. economy has already "absorbed" the shock of $2.35-plus-pergallon prices for self-serve regular gasoline along with a rise in heating oil costs of more than 30 percent over the last year. As if to underscore their insouciance over energy costs, American consumers accelerated the volume of vehicle purchases in June, especially those of light trucks that get only twelve or thirteen miles per gallon.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Clear signs of political and economic stress have emerged from Europe in recent weeks. Rumors have circulated about discussions of a possible breakup of Europe's currency union, and one renegade Italian official, Welfare Minister Roberto Maroni, expressed a wish that Italy could return to the lira in order to get some help from a weaker currency to relieve Italy's current recession. Perhaps more telling, 54 percent of Germans polled would like to abandon the euro and return to the deutschemark. Similarly, the inflationary impact of the move from the gilder to the euro was cited by many of the Dutch citizens who voted decisively against ratifying the European Constitution.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany, Italy
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Paul Samuelson once quipped elegantly that (falling) stock prices had predicted seven out of the last three recessions. There is indeed wisdom in the suggestion to ignore wiggles in the financial markets as indicators of the behavior of the real economy that produces goods and services.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The Federal Reserve's measured move toward a "neutral" federal funds rate, the short-term rate that keeps the economy growing at about 3.5 percent, is a tricky process. No one knows with certainty what the neutral fed funds rate is, and it changes over time. As long as the Fed keeps raising rates and the economy keeps growing at or above trend, it is reasonable to infer that the neutral fed funds rate is higher than the current rate. The corollary to that proposition is that rates have to be boosted above the neutral rate, inducing an asset market collapse, a real economy slowdown, or both to infer that the neutral rate has been exceeded. It is beginning to appear as though the current rate of 2.75 percent is at or above neutral. If so, that would be about a full percentage point below what many were guessing.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Douglas Besharov
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: For forty years, Head Start has sought to improve the life prospects of low-income children. Since 1965, about 20 million children have gone through the program at a total cost of more than $100 billion. Head Start was supposed to be reauthorized in 2003, but for two years Congress was immobilized as the Bush administration and its Republican allies pushed for what they saw as needed improvements in the program—while Democrats and the Head Start establishment argued that the proposals would hurt poor children. The impasse was broken earlier this year when key Republicans gave up their efforts to change the program. Committees in both Houses have now voted unanimously to expand eligibility for Head Start. The Senate bill would raise the income-eligibility cap from the poverty line to 130 percent of poverty (a roughly 35 percent increase in the number of children eligible for the program), and the House bill would allow programs to enroll more one-and two-year-olds, rather than their traditional target group of three- and four-year-olds (ultimately doubling the number of eligible children).
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Education, Government
  • Author: James Q. Wilson
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: My fellow Americans, we are winning, and winning decisively, in Iraq and the Middle East. We defeated Saddam Hussein's army in just a few weeks. None of the disasters that many feared would follow our invasion occurred. Our troops did not have to fight door to door to take Baghdad. The Iraqi oil fields were not set on fire. There was no civil war between the Sunnis and the Shiites. There was no grave humanitarian crisis. Saddam Hussein was captured and is awaiting trial. His two murderous sons are dead. Most of the leading members of Saddam's regime have been captured or killed. After our easy military victory, we found ourselves inadequately prepared to defeat the terrorist insurgents, but now we are prevailing.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Baghdad
  • Author: Lawrence B. Lindsey
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: In the company of history's great revolutionaries, Rose and Milton Friedman stand out as clear anomalies. Diminutive in stature and modest in speech and manner, they cannot easily be imagined manning the barricades or hectoring the crowds from a soapbox. Most important, unlike other visionaries who sought to change the world, the Friedmans did not say, “Put us in charge of the government, and we will make your life better.” Rather, they argued that governments then in charge should get out of the way so that individuals could get on with the job of making their own lives better. Their 1980 book Free to Choose successfully instigated a revolution in public policy because it offered conservatives both a rhetorical weapon and a legislative program. Until then, the Left had a clear advantage on both scores. Rhetorically, the Left promised compassion and equality and packaged them with programmatic action in the form of ever-increasing government power. Those opposed to an ever larger and more intrusive state were thus forced to defend hardheartedness and inequality, and to oppose legislative change.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics, Government, Politics
  • Author: Michael S. Greve
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Berlin is far from Baghdad, and the Germans at least want to keep it that way. But for all the obvious differences, Germany's inconclusive election results and the impending constitutional referendum in Iraq point to some identical obstacles to effective and constitutional government. These obstacles are proportional representation and “cooperative federalism.” As it happens, well-meaning UN officials, NGOs, and U.S. advisers have been urging these constitutional arrangements upon numerous fledgling democracies, including Iraq. That may not be good advice.
  • Topic: Government, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Europe, Middle East, Baghdad, Germany, Berlin