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  • Backgrounder posted October 24, 2014 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. Federal Reserve Performance: Have Business Cycles Really Been Tamed?

    Central banks … will do wisely to lay aside their inexpert ventures in half-baked monetary theory, meretricious statistical measures of trade and hasty grinding of the axes of speculative interests with their suggestion that by so doing they are achieving some sort of vague “stabilization” that will, in the long run, be for the greater good. —H. Parker Willis, first…

  • Issue Brief posted October 23, 2014 by Mike Gonzalez Congress Must Stop Yet Another Attempt to Muffle Free Speech

    The National Science Foundation (NSF) might not be a household name, but it is a powerful federal agency. With an annual budget of $7.4 billion, it is “the funding source for approximately 24 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities.”[1] So when it decides to fund a major study aimed at reducing the diffusion of…

  • Legal Memorandum posted October 23, 2014 by Paul Larkin The Problematic Use of Nonprosecution and Deferred Prosecution Agreements to Benefit Third Parties

    Unlike what King John thought[1] or what Judge Dredd proclaimed,[2] the President of the United States is not “the law.” The Constitution is the nation’s fundamental law,[3] and the power to supplement it by legislation resides with Congress under Article I.[4] The President enjoys only whatever authority the Constitution or Congress grants him.[5] His principal domestic…

  • Makers of American Political Thought Series posted October 23, 2014 by Lee Edwards, Ph.D. The Conservative Mind of Russell Kirk

    In the early 1950s, intellectuals on both the Right and the Left who were at odds about almost everything, agreed on one thing: Conservatism as a defined philosophy and movement scarcely existed in America. Respected intellectuals on the Left such as Lionel Trilling argued that modern “liberalism is not only the dominant but even the sole intellectual tradition” in the…

  • Backgrounder posted October 22, 2014 by Edmund F. Haislmaier, Drew Gonshorowski Obamacare’s Enrollment Increase: Mainly Due to Medicaid Expansion

    W‌ith enrollment data now available for the second quarter ‌of 2014, it is possible to construct a complete picture of the changes in health insurance coverage that occurred during the initial implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), commonly known as Obamacare. The data show that in the first half of 2014, private health insurance…

  • Issue Brief posted October 21, 2014 by Daniel Kochis Countering Russian Propaganda Abroad

    Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has highlighted a Russian foreign policy approach that integrates raw military strength with a myriad of soft power tools to pressure adversaries. A key element of Russian soft power is the use of state-sponsored media to influence foreign audiences. Russian propaganda, often masquerading as legitimate news, is disseminated through…

  • Issue Brief posted October 21, 2014 by Ana Quintana Does the U.S. Need a “Plan Central America”?

    Due to the crisis on America’s southwest border, several Members of Congress and special interest groups have proposed replicating Plan Colombia in Central America. While it has become apparent that current U.S. policy toward Central America is not working, instead of creating a new plan, the U.S. should reform the existing system of the Central American Regional Security…

  • Issue Brief posted October 21, 2014 by David Inserra Refuge and Asylum: President Obama Should Not Abuse One of America’s Great Humanitarian Tools

    Several weeks ago, President Obama announced that the U.S. would begin accepting refugee applications for children from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (the so-called “Northern Triangle”) with legally resident relatives in the U.S. While the violence and poverty in these countries is real, it does not meet the legal justification for refuge or asylum. Such a program…

  • Backgrounder posted October 20, 2014 by Curtis S. Dubay How Tax Reform Would Help American Families

    Tax reform is one of the vital policy improvements necessary to revive the laboring economy. Despite widespread agreement on this fact, the prospects of Congress passing and the President signing a tax reform bill are low. One reason for this mismatch between political will and policy importance is a lack of pressure from American families on lawmakers. This is…

  • Issue Brief posted October 17, 2014 by David S. Addington Ebola: U.S. Government Civilian and Military Assistance in West Africa

    The U.S. government has substantial efforts under way in West Africa to provide humanitarian assistance to combat the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease and thereby also help prevent the spread of Ebola elsewhere. U.S. government civilians under the direction of the U.S. ambassador, and U.S. military personnel under the Commander of the Joint Force Command (JFC), work…

  • Backgrounder posted October 17, 2014 by Romina Boccia Eliminating Waste and Controlling Government Spending

    If one asks Americans how many cents of every dollar that the federal government spends they believe is wasted, their answer reflects a belief that Washington is vastly incompetent when it comes to managing taxpayer money. A 2014 Gallup poll reported that Americans think the federal government wastes 51 cents of every dollar they pay in taxes.[1] This year’s figure is…

  • Issue Brief posted October 15, 2014 by David S. Addington Ebola: The Basics

    The spread of the Ebola virus raises substantial public health concerns in the United States and abroad. With the proper leadership and use of available resources, the U.S. can address these concerns effectively. Appropriate U.S. government humanitarian assistance to address the Ebola situation in West Africa, and measured and coordinated deployment at home of federal,…

  • Special Report posted October 8, 2014 by Walter Lohman, Olivia Enos, John Fleming 2014 Asia Update: What’s at Stake for America

    Introduction Economy Political Security Introduction Often overlooked in the tumult of Washington’s foreign policy debates is the remarkable consistency of U.S. foreign and trade policies over time. This is due to one immutable factor: American national interests. When U.S. policy moves away from our national interest, not only does it cease to…

  • Issue Brief posted October 6, 2014 by James Phillips The Rise of Al-Qaeda’s Khorasan Group: What It Means for U.S. National Security

    The air strikes against Islamist terrorist groups in Syria that the U.S. launched on September 22 included strikes against a group that few Americans had heard about before: the Khorasan group. Although sometimes mistakenly characterized as a new terrorist group, Khorasan is a new tentacle of an old organization—the al-Qaeda high-command or core group. The rise of the…

  • Special Report posted October 1, 2014 by Paul Larkin, David E Bernstein, Randy E Barnett, Clark M Neily, III Economic Liberty and the Constitution: An Introduction

    Contributors Paul J. Larkin, Jr., is a Senior Legal Research Fellow in the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation. David E. Bernstein is George Mason University Foundation Professor at the George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, Virginia. Randy E. Barnett is Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory at the…