Most governments at the time of the Constitutional Convention were unitary governments, in which power was centralized. The U.S., by contrast, adopted a system of confederal power, balancing power between two complementary but separate strands—one horizontal and one vertical. Our country is at a crossroads. A recent poll found that four out of five Americans don’t trust Washington. Americans are ready for change—real change that gives them, not Washington, greater control over their own lives.
What does it mean for a health care system to be considered “ethical”? Some claim the most ethical is a government-run system that guarantees universal coverage. Others think the system must control costs, or eliminate profits, or ration care to those most in need. But a consumer driven health care system is the one that best meets the criteria Americans want from an ethical health care system.
With the extraordinary turbulence of the global markets, the Obama Administration’s emphasis on stimulating the U.S. economy and creating U.S. jobs, and the increasing recognition from congressional appropriators that a strong patent system is critical to an innovation-friendly government, it is more important than ever that Congress pass a permanent legislative solution to the damaging practice of taxing innovation by diverting user fees away from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
The history of municipal broadband projects, especially municipal wireless programs, is a history of hubris, mismanagement and failure. Such projects have been plagued by (among other things) underestimates of costs and overestimates of subscriber take up. As federal officials consider disbursing billions of taxpayer dollars to extend broadband coverage to unserved and underserved areas, they should be wary of funding municipal broadband programs.
Simply trying to cut promised entitlement benefits is not a promising reform strategy. The solution lies in fundamental structural reforms to create new safety net programs that would be far more effective in achieving social goals, with only a fraction of the spending of current programs. This is the key to making entitlement reforms politically feasible.
Rather than stifling regulatory competition by centralizing regulation, insurance companies should be allowed to choose between an optional federal charter and mutual recognition among state regulators. Such expansion would create a 21st century regulatory system in which they can be globally competitive and better serve the American consumer.
FCC and legislative proposals to reserve a segment of spectrum for a content-filtered national wireless broadband provider would deprive many more entrepreneur-driven wireless services, small and large, of spectrum and capital. The risky business plan means a politically favored broadband provider looking for special treatment or bailouts in years to come.
Congressman Rick Boucher’s latest proposal to make significant changes to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) would make substantial and unwise changes to U.S. copyright law based on nonexistent problems, and would put the United States in violation of our trade treaties, all in order to relieve copyright infringers of legal liability. It’s still a bad idea.
The entire edifice of insurance regulation by state governments is a leftover from the New Deal. Since World War II, in virtually every industry other than insurance, this type of regulatory control has been replaced by more realistic, market-based mechanisms. The recent attempts by the State of Florida to regulate insurance prices demonstrate the compelling need to modernize today’s dysfunctional state insurance regulatory system.
The problems of insurance industry regulation merit the review currently underway at the Treasury Department. The review should concentrate on identifying the most critical problems these industries face as a consequence of government action (or inaction), and target a few discrete initiatives, such as regulatory competition, that should set the political process on a straight road to reducing those problems.