AEI » Latest Content American Enterprise Institute: Freedom, Opportunity, Enterprise Wed, 26 Nov 2014 19:29:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Education that works Tue, 21 Oct 2014 20:49:30 +0000 AEI’s exclusive Vision Talks series convenes America’s leading scholars, thinkers, and practitioners to offer fresh perspectives on key areas of policy and public debate. These talks will be filmed and disseminated as standalone videos, such as Robert Doar’s “What works in helping the poor?” talk.

In the United States, we think of education as the key to equal opportunity. But while spending on education is higher than ever, student achievement — particularly for disadvantaged students — has not kept pace.

Myriad government efforts to improve educational attainment have shown mixed results at best. Is conventional thought on reforming education misguided? Is there a better way to foster excellence? What can parents, educators, and citizens do about it, and how can they make an effective case for change?

Please join us for four concise talks on why America needs to rethink education, what that thinking looks like in practice, and how compelling communication can turn ideas into action.

This event will not be live streamed.

If you have trouble registering, please contact

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Should government compensate the taxi cartels because of Uber? Wed, 26 Nov 2014 19:29:50 +0000 What about the losers from creative destruction? I got that question yesterday on Twitter, in the context of how the rise of Uber and other ride-sharing services affects the existing owners of taxicab medallions. As is seen in the above chart, these supply-limited medallions have been an excellent investment. Over the past 80 years,  Stewart Dompe and Adam  Smith note in a must-read new Mercatus report, “taxi medallions have generated annualized 15.5 percent rate of return. Put another way, the value of a medallion doubled, on average, every four and a half years.”

And now this rent-seeking racket of artificial scarcity is under threat. Sure, all pretty good news for low-paid drivers and service-starved consumers, but what about the medallion owners who paid such big bucks? Don’t they have a valid property right that is being made worthless by government regulators? Not long ago on the EconTalk podcast, host Russ Roberts and Duke University economist Mike Munger explored this very issue: 

Munger: … But I think the cost advantage is really a problem, because it actually raises a lot of questions about the nature of due process. Suppose that we don’t take any action and the value of these medallions falls to zero. Are we obliged to offer compensation, because we in effect made a regulatory decision that is a taking? This property right, this medallion, had significant value. We made a choice, without due process, that said we are going to reduce the value of this medallion to zero. Are we obliged to compensate?

Roberts: Who is ‘we’?

Munger: The state. Just like we would if we were taking your land under eminent domain to build a road.

Roberts: Yeah, I’m just giving you a heard time. Um, I don’t think that would win. But I’ll be interested.

Munger: It would not. And one of the reasons I wanted to bring it up was my good friend Peter Van Doren had an article at Cato this past week that’s a really terrific discussion of that, and in fact gives good reasons why “we”–in quotes–would not be obliged. Because it’s something different.

This is a sort of political property right that we all recognize is contingent on policy. It changes all the time. And it’s a restriction on competition. Now, the thing that kind of bothers me is you could say all property is. So I have 35 acres of pine forest south of Pittsboro, North Carolina. And suppose I were down there one day, and I heard some chain saws, and I walked back 300 or 400 yards into the woods, and I saw some guys with chain saws cutting down my trees? I’d say, What are you guys doing? They said, We’ve had a tremendous cost to manage; because we can just take these trees and sell them, we can really undercut you! And I’d say, It’s my land! He said: ‘You need to read Rousseau: The fruits of the earth belong to all and the earth to no one. So, we can just take this. And that piece of paper that you say has property–well, the state’s going to change that. As soon as they realize that you took this land from the Indians; it’s unjust. It’s not a real property right.’ This is the same argument that people make about taxing medallions: It was unjust, it was a restriction on competition; it’s not a real property right. Once we start saying property rights aren’t real, I’m not sure I have my pine forest any more, either.

Roberts: Well, it is certainly true that if you paid a million dollars six months ago and now you find that asset isn’t paying out–first of all you can’t resell it for a million, and secondly, it’s not the cash flow that you anticipated from it. Using the medallion isn’t coming through. That’s a real unpleasant surprise. You definitely lost money.

Mumger: Isn’t it a violation of due process? Because did we make a promise? The reason that you need this medallion is we are going to force anyone who provides transportation services to have a medallion. No one else can provide this. And so when you pay for it, you can in good faith think we’re going to protect your property right. And that’s why you pay for it.

Roberts: Yeah, it’s an interesting question. It’s a dangerous slope. Because what it does, of course, is set in stone all rent-seeking victories. It’s very depressing.

Munger: I think the answer is [that] there is a difference between private property and kind of reifying rent-seeking victories. … But if it’s clearly just a restriction on competition and entry into an industry where there would be big benefits, then we shouldn’t compensate. … But in the pine forest it makes sense. We don’t want it to be a commons. We don’t want everyone coming in and overfishing, overharvesting; and so it’s a solution to an externalities problem. Whereas the medallion–maybe it’s a solution to an externalities problem. That’s the argument we make–is we don’t want too much congestion. But if you look, there probably are not enough taxis in New York, particularly at peak times. And so I think the congestion story doesn’t hold up as well.


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Giving thanks for the invisible hand, the kaleidoscopic energy and productivity of the free market, and no turkey czar Wed, 26 Nov 2014 16:24:48 +0000 ...]]]> This post has been an annual tradition at CD now for several years:

Like in previous years, most of you probably didn’t call your local supermarket ahead of time and order a Thanksgiving turkey this year. Why not? Because you automatically assumed that a turkey would be there when you showed up, and it probably was there when you showed up “unannounced” at your local grocery store and selected your Thanksgiving bird.

The reason your Thanksgiving turkey was waiting for you without an advance order? Because of the economic concepts of “spontaneous order,” “self-interest,” and the “invisible hand” of the free market. Turkeys appeared in your local grocery stores primarily because of the “selfishness” and “self-interest” (maybe even greed in some cases) of thousands of turkey farmers, truckers, and supermarket owners who are complete strangers to you and your family. But all of those strangers throughout the turkey supply chain co-operated on your behalf and were led by an “invisible hand” to make sure your family had a turkey on the table to celebrate Thanksgiving this year. The “invisible hand” that was responsible for your holiday turkey is just one of millions of everyday examples of the “miracle of the marketplace” where “individually selfish decisions must lead to a collectively efficient outcome,” as economist Steven E. Landsburg observed.

In a 2003 Boston Globe article titled “Giving Thanks for the Invisible Hand,” syndicated columnist Jeff Jacoby offered a wonderful tribute to the miracle of the invisible hand that makes affordable turkeys available so efficiently every year at Thanksgiving through the power of “spontaneous order” and without the need for any central planning or a “turkey czar”:

Isn’t there something wondrous — something almost inexplicable — in the way your Thanksgiving weekend is made possible by the skill and labor of vast numbers of total strangers?

To bring that turkey to the dining room table required the efforts of thousands of people — the poultry farmers who raised the birds, of course, but also the feed distributors who supplied their nourishment and the truckers who brought it to the farm, not to mention the architect who designed the hatchery, the workmen who built it, and the technicians who keep it running. The bird had to be slaughtered and defeathered and inspected and transported and unloaded and wrapped and priced and displayed. The people who accomplished those tasks were supported in turn by armies of other people accomplishing other tasks — from refining the gasoline that fueled the trucks to manufacturing the plastic in which the meat was packaged.

The activities of countless far-flung men and women over the course of many months had to be intricately choreographed and precisely timed, so that when you showed up to buy a fresh Thanksgiving turkey, there would be one — or more likely, a few dozen — waiting. The level of coordination that was required to pull it off is mind-boggling. But what is even more mind-boggling is this: No one coordinated it.

No turkey czar sat in a command post somewhere, consulting a master plan and issuing orders. No one forced people to cooperate for your benefit. And yet they did cooperate. When you arrived at the supermarket, your turkey was there. You didn’t have to do anything but show up to buy it. If that isn’t a miracle, what should we call it?

Adam Smith called it “the invisible hand” — the mysterious power that leads innumerable people, each working for his own gain, to promote ends that benefit many. Out of the seeming chaos of millions of uncoordinated private transactions emerges the spontaneous order of the market. Free human beings freely interact, and the result is an array of goods and services more immense than the human mind can comprehend. No dictator, no bureaucracy, no supercomputer plans it in advance. Indeed, the more an economy is planned, the more it is plagued by shortages, dislocation, and failure.

It is commonplace to speak of seeing God’s signature in the intricacy of a spider’s web or the animation of a beehive. But they pale in comparison to the kaleidoscopic energy and productivity of the free market. If it is a blessing from Heaven when seeds are transformed into grain, how much more of a blessing is it when our private, voluntary exchanges are transformed – without our ever intending it – into prosperity, innovation, and growth?”

Bottom Line: As you celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow with your family, make sure to express some thanks and gratitude to the thousands of “invisible” strangers who won’t be there in person, but who were led by the “invisible hand” of the market over the last several months to make sure your holiday feast was possible.

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Here’s what we think we know about economic opportunity in America today Wed, 26 Nov 2014 16:13:30 +0000 A great summary from Scott Winship on how tough or easy it is these days to climb the opportunity ladder:

A just-released paper examined, better than any previous study, mobility across multiple countries using administrative data for each and the same methods and income concepts. That paper reported — for the U.S., Sweden, and Canada — the probability that a man raised by a father in the bottom fifth of earnings has earnings that exceed the bottom fifth of grown sons. The figures were 68 percent in the U.S. and Sweden and 69 percent in Canada. The essentially identical rates of upward mobility — also reflected in other measures in the paper — contradict the prior consensus that the U.S. features lower upward mobility than other nations, a conclusion that now appears compromised by data inconsistencies or driven by family structure differences that affect household income.

Upward mobility rates in the U.S. differ notably by race. Among whites, 74 percent of sons raised in the bottom make it out, compared with just 49 percent of African American sons. Even among whites, however, upward mobility is arguably insufficient. Just 37 percent of sons raised in the bottom fifth end up in the top three fifths, while equality of outcomes would put that figure at 60 percent. Among black sons, the figure is just 29 percent.

And while upward mobility probably has not declined in recent decades, neither has it increased. My own estimates, for example, indicate that 63 percent of sons born in the late 1940s and raised in the bottom quarter of family income made it out of the bottom quarter of earnings in early adulthood. For sons born in the early 1980s, the figure was 60 percent.

Of course, it is impossible to directly observe barriers to opportunity since we can neither observe the potential outcomes of children under different circumstances nor identify how their preferences form and evolve. Relative mobility rates cannot even be taken as prima facie evidence of unequal opportunity. However, we do know that there are large test score gaps when children enter school, which do not diminish much, if at all, over the course of primary and secondary schooling. We also know that college graduation rates are six times higher for children born in upper-income families than for those in lower-income families. Even children with test scores in the top quartile in eighth grade have dramatically different probabilities of getting a bachelor’s degree depending on whether they come from advantaged or disadvantaged families. 

And let me add that even if mobility is stable — to me, another discouraging sign of American economic stasis — higher inequality increases the economic penalty for an inability to move up the ladder. Anyway, rather than  a neat 10-point agenda for increasing mobility, Winship recommends lots of policy experiments in key areas such as education, marriage, and safety-net programs. Terribly reasonable stuff. But my key takeaway is that faster GDP growth is necessary but not sufficient in helping enhance opportunity to create the meaningful lives we wish to live.

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AEI Politics: Experts, highlights, and headlines Wed, 26 Nov 2014 15:00:40 +0000 ...]]]>

Politics and public opinion scholars

Karlyn Bowman
Senior Fellow
Research areas: US politics, Public opinion and polls, Media


Michael Barone
Visiting Fellow
Research areas: Politics, American government, Campaigns and elections


Tim Carney
Visiting Fellow
Research areas: culture of competition


Ramesh Ponnuru
Visiting Fellow
Research areas: Health care policy, Economic policy, Constitutionalism

Norman Ornstein
Resident Scholar
Research areas: US Politics, Congress, Elections


Arthur Brooks
Research areas: Culture, politics, and economic life in America, Philanthropy


Jonah Goldberg
Research areas: US politics & culture, Conservative & Progressive movement

Headlines and Highlights

Obama’s immigration goal: Enrage Republicans
Jonah Goldberg, Los Angeles Times 
Obama’s real immigration goal is twofold: Cement Latinos into the Democratic coalition, and force Republicans to overreact.

Obama’s incoherent immigration speech
Ramesh Ponnuru, Bloomberg View  
I count three ways President Barack Obama’s speech on immigration last night contradicted itself.

Obama mows down separation of powers and limits on executive power
Tim Carney, Washington Examiner
Obama’s immigration action is based on no statutory authority, but is instead an expansion of the idea of “prosecutorial discretion” — the notion that federal government can’t catch all scofflaws, and so it must set priorities.

Gruber and Obama’s big lie 
Jonah Goldberg, National Review Online
Obama administration health-care consultant Jonathan Gruber was discovered to have boasted that Obamacare was designed to exploit the “stupidity” of American voters and elude honest accounting by hiding both its cost and the taxes necessary to pay for it.

Will Congress use executive order on immigration as excuse for more gridlock
Norm Ornstein, National Journal  
With the determination of President Obama to issue his executive order on immigration this week, the lame-duck session in Congress takes on a fascinating set of twists.

Let’s really reform immigration–to encourage high-skill immigrants
Michael Barone, Washington Examiner  
America always needs high-skilled immigrants. And we don’t need to tie them to an employer. Despite all the taxes and regulations, this is still a free enterprise system; let them make their own way.

Where the polls were wrong–and maybe, why
Michael Barone, Washington Examiner
Were the polls wrong this midterm election cycle? Nate Silver, the nation’s most assiduous polling analyst, believes it was skewed towards the Democrats this year.

Don’t bet on Jeb
Ramesh Ponnuru, Bloomberg View
It would be better for conservatives if Sen. Marco Rubio ran for president in 2016 and Jeb Bush bowed out.

Election 2014: What the voters said   
Karlyn Bowman
The November issue of AEI’s Political Report provides a comprehensive picture of what voters had to say on Election Day, featuring exit-poll data from national House races since 1986.


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AEI Education: Experts, highlights, and headlines Wed, 26 Nov 2014 15:00:08 +0000 ...]]]>

Education scholars

Frederick Hess
Director, Education Policy Studies
Research areas: K-12 and higher education, School reform


Michael Q. McShane
Research Fellow
Research areas: K-12 education, Private and religious schools


Kevin James
Research Fellow
Research areas: Quality of higher ed, Higher ed financing (student loans)

Andrew Kelly
Director, Center on Higher Education Reform
Research areas: Higher education,  Education funding, Student loans


Katharine B. Stevens
Research Fellow
Research areas: Pre-K education, Teacher tenure

Headlines and Highlights

A pivotal shift in the new Child Care and Development Block Grant
Katharine B. Stevens, AEIdeas
The most striking aspect of the newly-reauthorized CCDBG is its pivotal shift from viewing child care solely as a babysitting service for working parents to seeing it, too, as a crucial opportunity for young children’s early development and learning.

Cami Anderson and the forces of unreason
Rick Hess, Rick Hess Straight Up 
Rick Hess reflects on the point of public debate in light of Cami Anderson’s visit to AEI in November 2014.

Bigger isn’t better for New York City pre-K  
Katharine B. Stevens, AEIdeas
While adding tens of thousands of pre-K slots in a matter of months makes for good headlines, unfortunately for New York City it does not make for good pre-K.

Education: A natural issue for Republicans 
Rick Hess, Michael McShane, National Review Online
The Republicans’ wave in the midterms might have had little to do with education, but an ascendant Republican party would do well to think about a coherent reform plan going forward.

What the GOP’s win means for education 
Rick Hess, Michael McShane, U.S. News & World Report
The midterms weren’t about education, but the GOP’s wave could have a big effect on schools.

What the midterm elections mean for pre-K
Katharine Stevens, AEIdeas
The outcomes of the governors’ races will make much more of a difference for pre-K than who controls the US Senate.

Don’t want more higher-ed regulation? Then we need more transparency
Andrew Kelly, Kevin James, National Review Online
Better student outcomes data would not cure every market distortion created by government’s involvement in higher education. But it would help consumers’ market discipline. And a more competitive market would actually reduce government intervention in the sector.

Higher ed on the campaign trail
Rick Hess, Forbes
At most, higher education has been on the agenda in about half of the races for governor and senator. Where it has come up, the discussion has been more of the same crowd-pleasing themes that are all too familiar—more funding, new scholarships, lower interest rates on new student loans, and loan relief for current borrowers.

Teacher quality, not quantity
Rick Hess, National Review Online
A NYC charter school makes the case that good teachers matter more than administrators.


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AEI Defense Policy: Experts, highlights, and headlines Wed, 26 Nov 2014 15:00:00 +0000 ...]]]>

Defense scholars

Thomas Donnelly
Co-Director, Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies
Research areas: Defense, National security


Mackenzie Eaglen
Resident Fellow
Research areas: Military readiness, Defense budget, Military personnel, Defense industrial base


William Inglee
Visiting Fellow
Research areas: Building partner capacity, Business of defense, National security policy


Jim Talent
Senior Fellow, Director, National Security 2020 Project
Research areas: Congress, US-China security relations

Gary Schmitt
Co-Director, Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies
Research areas: Intelligence, Europe, National security, American citizenship


William Greenwalt (Bill)
Visiting Fellow
Research areas: Defense acquisition/industry, Aerospace industry, Government procurement


Phillip Lohaus
Research Fellow
Research areas: US and foreign intelligence [capabilities], Middle Eastern and South Asian insurgencies


Roger I. Zakheim
Research Fellow
Research areas: National security legal issues, Impact of Congress on defense

Headlines and Highlights

Hagel’s departure more about policy than the person
Mackenzie Eaglen, The Hill
Unfortunately, it is likely that not much will be different three months from now regarding U.S. strategy to combat Islamic extremists even after a change at the top of the Pentagon.

The legacy of Chuck Hagel 
Mackenzie Eaglen, The National Interest
While he was not a noisy regular on all the Sunday talk shows, Secretary Hagel was competently managing the largest federal agency’s drawdown at a time of great global unrest.

The Hagel Opportunity 
Thomas Donnelly, The Weekly Standard
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s resignation gives congressional Republicans the opportunity to review our declining defense budget and create a measuring stick for the next president.

Hagel’s out: 4 key points to consider 
Danielle Pletka, AEIdeas
Secretary of Defense is a terrible job for anyone with any self-respect. The administration won’t listen to the military, won’t do what’s necessary to fight ISIS, al Qaeda or other groups.

A budget road map for rebuilding US military strength
Mackenzie Eaglen, The American
There is an emerging bipartisan consensus that Congress must overturn the entire Budget Control Act and not just sequestration. In the near term, the president and the military have outlined priorities on which Congress can take immediate action.

Politics is killing the Pentagon
Mackenzie Eaglen, The Hill
As growing crises abroad build momentum for reversing America’s latest builddown, there is a real risk policymakers will spend any new money on the wrong priorities.

News flash to the new Congress: Tiered readiness is here now
Mackenzie Eaglen, Real Clear Defense
The new Congress should recognize that tiered readiness is here now, and it will be their job to fix it.

Challenges to the US rebalance to Asia
Gary Schmitt
Until Washington admits it is engaged in a strategic competition with Beijing, the pivot to Asia likely will not have sufficient political backing to be carried out as needed.

5 national security priorities for Congress
Mackenzie Eaglen, US News & World Report
There will be no shortage of pressing national security issues to address when Washington returns to business.

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Immigration is a good thing, but who pays? Wed, 26 Nov 2014 14:46:35 +0000 ...]]]> There is an important but unanswered question associated with President Obama’s executive order on immigration. Will the approximately five million undocumented immigrants covered by the President’s action be eligible to receive welfare benefits? And if so, how much will those benefits cost?

In his speech announcing the new policy, the President said not to worry. While he was clear that undocumented immigrants would not be eligible for Affordable Care Act subsidies, the President appeared to deny the new group (mostly parents of children born in the United Sates) other kinds of federal benefits. “This deal does not,” the President said, “offer the same benefits that citizens receive.”

The official policy released by the Department of Homeland Security backs up the president’s words — and lack of detail. “This memorandum confers no substantive right, immigration status or pathway to citizenship. Only an act of Congress can confer those rights,” says Jeh Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security in the November 20 memo announcing the new policy.

But that is not the end of the story. There is a lot of wiggle room in the term “benefits” especially when some benefits are provided through the tax system. Low wage workers covered by the President’s plan are likely to be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit – one of our nation’s largest transfer programs for low income Americans. Even if there is an attempt to prevent eligibility for the EITC, I doubt the Internal Revenue Service, which admits that the current program has 20% payment error rate, is capable of discerning this group of non-citizen immigrants who would not be eligible from another group that is eligible.

But an even bigger question is what will happen at the state level. States are sure to come under pressure to offer state-funded benefits to the covered group. State law in New York, for example, requires that anyone residing in the state “under the color of the law” cannot be denied state funded assistance for which they are otherwise eligible. This would include the group of immigrants who will now be determined to be here legally because of the President’s new program. Receiving benefits will, of course, be contingent on whether they are otherwise eligible due to low income and other factors, but a high proportion of those eligible under the President’s plan have incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level which means it is likely that a significant proportion of the covered group could be eligible for means tested benefits.

In 2013, when Congress was seriously considering the proposed comprehensive immigration reform, which also expressly denied federal welfare benefits to undocumented immigrants who were to be offered a path to citizenship, New York City’s welfare agency (which I used to run) examined the cost to state and city welfare programs of including this new group in state funded welfare expenditures, an outcome we were convinced would be required by state law. The conclusion was not cheap – $540 million in annual costs by 2019 if the legislation had passed. As is always the case when examining welfare spending, the overwhelming bulk of these costs were due to higher Medicaid expenditures and since Medicaid is so expensive in New York City, the increased costs accounted for less than 2 percent of the annual Medicaid cost of more than $28 billion.

This discussion will play out in other states in different ways with different results but at least for some it will lead to higher welfare costs and caseloads, and for all, there will be great pressure to offer benefits to the covered group. “Coming out of the shadows,” as the President calls what will happen for the people he is trying to help, may also mean deciding it’s safe to apply for welfare.

The best part of the President’s speech last week was when he spoke approvingly of our country’s long history of welcoming and benefitting from immigrants, and he is right. Immigrants have clearly helped to make our nation great. I saw their contributions every day during my time as New York City’s welfare commissioner. The growth in foreign born population in New York City is, along with less crime and welfare and improved schools, one the essential keys to that city’s resurgence during the past twenty years.

But the President notably left out any mention of why immigrants would want to come to the United States in the first place — greater freedom for instance, or the rule of law, or a democratic form of government that works better than what they had lived under. That kind of pro-United States rhetoric is probably too much for the President’s lack of enthusiasm for American exceptionalism. But there is one aspect of American life that the President and his supporters would herald — the extension of government provided welfare benefits. The determination to extend government benefits is why the policy the President announced last week will lead to an increase in the size and cost of welfare.

Robert Doar is the Morgridge Fellow in Poverty Studies at the American Enterprise Institute. From 2007 to 2013, he was the commissioner of the New York City Human Resources Administration, the city agency responsible for the cash welfare, food stamp and Medicaid programs.

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AEI Foreign Policy: Experts, highlights, and headlines Wed, 26 Nov 2014 14:20:56 +0000 ...]]]>

Foreign policy scholars

Danielle Pletka
Senior Vice President, Foreign & Defense Policy Studies
Research areas: Terrorism, Middle East, Iran, South Asia


Michael Auslin
Resident Scholar & Director, Japan Studies
Research areas: Japan, US-Japanese relations, Asian maritime security


Dan Blumenthal
Resident Fellow
Research areas: China, Taiwan, East Asia, US-China relations


Sadanand Dhume
Resident Fellow
Research areas: S. Asian security, Political economy, Business, Radical Islam in
S. Asia, India & Pakistan


Frederick W. Kagan
Christopher DeMuth Chair & Dir., Critical Threats Project
Research areas: National security, US military, Afghanistan & Iraq


Michael Mazza
Research Fellow
Research areas: US Asia-Pacific defense policy, Cross-strait relations, Chinese military


Michael Rubin
Resident Scholar
Research areas: Iran, Syria, Middle East regional politics, Turkey, the Kurds, the Persian Gulf


Marc Thiessen
Research areas:  Counterterrorism issues, American presidential leadership


John Yoo
Visiting Scholar
Research areas: International law, Constitutional law


Leon Aron
Resident Scholar & Director, Russian Studies
Research areas: Russia, US-Russian relations


Roger Bate
Visiting Scholar
Research areas: Performance of aid agencies and NGOs


John Bolton
Senior Fellow
Research areas: Foreign policy, International organizations


Nicholas Eberstadt
Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy
Research areas: Poverty, Demographics, Entitlements, North/South Korea


Ahmad Majidyar
Senior Research Associate
Research areas: Afghanistan, Rise of terrorism & religious extremism in Pakistan, Iran


Roger F. Noriega
Visiting Fellow
Research areas: The Caribbean, Latin America, Canada


Derek Scissors
Resident Scholar
Research areas: US-China economic relations, Chinese investment, international finance (Asia)


Paul Wolfowitz
Research areas: Public-private partnerships, Entrepreneurship, Development issues, Africa


Katherine Zimmerman
Research Fellow & Sr. Analyst, Critical Threats Project
Research areas: Jihadist organizations, terrorism

Headlines and Highlights

Thanksgiving week, Iran edition
Danielle Pletka, AEIdeas
From now on, all nuclear wannabes can simply say that “military dimensions” of their nuclear weapons programs are off limits. Look at the precedent.

ISIS, Israel, and nukes: Iran faces crises
Matthew McInnis, American Enterprise Institute
More fully understanding the red lines that guide Iran’s security behavior could give American policymakers an enormous advantage in anticipating, shaping, and mitigating Iranian diplomatic and military activities.

Mexico’s security crisis: Will Iguala be a wake up call?
Roger Noriega, American Enterprise Institute
The recent kidnapping and probable murder of 43 students at the hands of corrupt local officials in Iguala, Mexico, should prompt the United States to invigorate security cooperation with Mexico to fight crime and secure the border.

How to check the president
John Yoo, National Review Online
By allowing as many as 5 million illegal aliens into the United States for the remainder of his term, Obama is violating the Constitution and Congress, and the courts must respond.

Nuclear talks with Iran falling apart as deadline nears: Bolton on Fox News’ ‘America’s Newsroom’
John Bolton, Fox News
The Iranians have a strong sense that they can get more out of the Obama administration. Iran is under no sense of urgency, and the letter to Iran’s Ayatollah illustrates that President Obama is desperate to make a deal.

Foreign policy and the new Congress
Danielle Pletka, AEIdeas
The 114th Congress will have a much tougher time than it did during the Clinton era. Barack Obama doesn’t respect the Congress and doesn’t believe the legislative branch matters.

Why a good nuclear deal is so hard for Iran
Matthew McInnis, AEI Top Three
The Iranians want and need a nuclear deal, but politics and the complicated dynamics of the Iranian leadership will make this exceedingly difficult. AEI Resident Fellow J. Matthew McInnis explains why he thinks Iran’s negotiators may end up shooting themselves in the foot.

Talks with Iran failing? What? Don’t be ridiculous
Danielle Pletka, AEIdeas
Despite the initial timeline of six months to a year for nuclear negotiations, Iran talks will most likely continue to stall as a result of the policies of the current administration and its allies.

Latest media appearances from our foreign policy scholars

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AEI Health: Experts, highlights, and headlines Wed, 26 Nov 2014 14:20:44 +0000 ...]]]>

Health scholars

Joseph Antos
Wilson H. Taylor Scholar
Research areas: Federal budget policy, Health care policy and financing, ACA


Scott Gottlieb
Resident Fellow
Research areas: Trends in medicine, FDA policies, Medical technology development, CMS policies


Sally Satel
Resident Scholar
Research areas: Political trends in Medicine, Mental health/Transplant/ Domestic drug policy


Ramesh Ponnuru
Visiting Fellow
Research areas:
Conservatives and health care policy


Tomas J. Philipson
Visiting Scholar
Research areas: Economics of pharmaceuticals, Health care trends

James C. Capretta
Visiting Scholar
Research areas: Market-based alternatives to the ACA


Thomas P. Miller
Resident Fellow
Research areas: Market-based alternatives to the ACA, Health insurance regulation, ACA


Roger Bate
Visiting Scholar
Research areas: international environmental and health agreements, Counterfeit pharmaceuticals


Thomas Peter Stossel
Visiting Scholar
Research areas: Medical innovation, Health care and health care policy

Headlines and Highlights

Unfulfilled Political Promises
Joe Antos, Debate Club
The Obama administration has wisely decided to lower expectations about new health coverage under the Affordable Care Act in the hope that by setting the bar low enough even mediocre enrollment gains become a political victory. That can hardly be considered a sign that Obamacare is working.

How to prepare for Obamacare’s collapse
Ramesh Ponnuru, Bloomberg View
Several million Americans could find their health insurance becoming vastly more expensive if the Supreme Court rules against the Obama administration in a pending case.

Obamacare hedges its bets
Joe Antos, AEIdeas
For once, the White House has decided not to over-promise what it can’t deliver in Obamacare.

Is the White House cooking the numbers on Obamacare?
Scott Gottlieb, Forbes
The HHS has lowered its expected 2015 enrollment to 9 million from 9.9 million lives. An earlier estimate from the Congressional Budget Office pegged that figure at 13 million. Is the HHS trying to lower enrollment expectations in the hopes of obscuring future failures?

Health care policy after the midterm elections
James C. Capretta, Health Affairs Blog
Republicans have been largely shut out of the health care policymaking business for the past six years. That will change modestly in 2015 as the party takes control of the Senate. But Republicans must be realistic about what they can do while President Obama remains in office. What the GOP can and should do is agree on where it wants to go, and begin to make progress toward that goal

Republican wave puts Obamacare in surgery, and these parts could be amputated
Scott Gottlieb, Forbes
Because the health care marketplace is rapidly changing to accommodate Obamacare, it could be harder to eventually implement market-based schemes. Conservatives have to start injecting more competition and choice into the market sooner rather than later.

Will a growing economy  waste health dollars?
Joe Antos, The American
Congress is unlikely to take on large-scale health care reform, but Americans don’t have to wait until policymakers get their act together. Changes in the employer-based insurance market have begun to give consumers greater control of health care spending.

Obamacare’s red ink
Joe Antos, The Morning Consult
When he signed the bill into law, the President said that the ACA is paid for and will help lift a decades-long drag on the economy.  More likely, the taxpayers will be doing the heavy lifting.

4 rules for replacing Obamacare
James C. Capretta, Politico
A Republican-controlled Congress would bring new opportunities to roll back Obamacare, but there would be risks too.

As the courts turn: The continuing legal perils of Obamacare
Thomas P. Miller, AEIdeas
A look at the recent ruling on State of Oklahoma v. Burwell and the legal journey of Obamacare.

Latest media appearances from our health scholars

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AEI Poverty: Experts, highlights, and headlines Wed, 26 Nov 2014 14:20:11 +0000 ...]]]>

Poverty scholars

Robert Doar
Morgridge Fellow in Poverty Studies
Research areas: Welfare, Poverty, Federal programs


Kevin Corinth
Resident Fellow
Research areas: Poverty, Homelessness assistance programs

Arthur Brooks
Research areas: Social entrepreneurship, Free enterprise, Philanthropy


Michael R. Strain
Resident Scholar
Research areas: US economy, Labor market policy, Labor economics, Federal budget

Headlines and Highlights

4 charts that expose the invisible side of homelessness
Kevin Corinth, AEIdeas
Using newly released data, these four charts go beyond the official numbers to expose what’s really going on with homelessness across America.

Start helping the helpers
Arthur Brooks, The New York Times
What is a “helping industry”? Technically, Airbnb — like Uber, Lyft and other innovative companies — is helping people by tackling the problem of “dead capital.”

Where’s the outrage?
Robert Doar, Inside Sources
Half a decade after the Great Recession, too many Americans are not earning their way out of poverty.

If DC closes its largest homeless shelter, where will it send the homeless?
Kevin Corinth, AEIdeas
DC Mayor Vincent Gray announced a plan Tuesday to shut down the district’s largest homeless shelter. He plans to replace it with several smaller shelters in “thriving neighborhoods.” But some are calling the plan unrealistic.

The US economic recovery is still on food stamps
Robert Doar, Real Clear Markets
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is supposed to respond to difficult economic conditions by providing financial assistance to purchase food to poor Americans. And as the economy strengthens, the number of SNAP recipients should decline – at least in theory…

Inequality is a partisan issue the central bank should avoid
Michael R. Strain, New York Times Room for Debate
It is perfectly appropriate for the Federal Reserve chair (occasionally) to discuss the size of the rich-poor gap, its trend over time, and its economic causes and consequences. But the Fed chair should do so as an impartial, dispassionate analyst.


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