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Hidden Debt, Hidden Deficits: 2017 Edition

by Joshua D. Rauhvia Analysis
Monday, May 15, 2017

Hidden Debt, Hidden Deficits – a data-rich study by Hoover Institution Senior Fellow Joshua Rauh -- that calls attention to the fact that almost no state or local government is running a balanced budget, with the reality being that runaway pension costs are consuming state and local budgets. Building off last year’s 2016 report, this year’s study of 649 U.S. pension systems found that systems in 2015 realized average investment returns of only 2.87%, yet the average discount rate that they chose was 7.36%.  This differs from last year's report, where they realized higher average returns.

The Structural Foundations of Monetary Policy: The Battle of Ideas

by Kevin Warshvia Analysis
Friday, May 5, 2017

Kevin Warsh delivers speech at the 2017 Hoover Institution Monetary Policy conference on The Structural Foundations of Monetary Policy. View Speech.

Once Upon A Time Jews Lived Here

by Samuel Tadrosvia Analysis
Thursday, March 16, 2017

For over six decades, Arabic-speaking people have undertaken a deliberate effort to erase the memory of the Jews who lived amongst them. The collective decision was successful with governments and citizens joining in eradicating the physical presence of the Jewish presence in Arabic-speaking countries, which had lasted for over twenty-five centuries. For the past decade, Arabic-speaking people have begun to show interest in this erased memory. In this essay, Samuel Tadros reviews two recent novels dealing with the presence and loss of Jews from Arabic-speaking countries. He explores how the authors attempt to depict these Jews against the background of the Arab Israeli conflict, as well as the limitations and taboos still shaping the attempt to remember.

California’s Polarization

by Richard Sousavia Analysis
Monday, February 6, 2017

With all due respect, I believe my colleague Sam Abrams has it all wrong. He argues that when examining California voter registration data at the county level, the polarization along party lines and the partisanship in the state are not as deep as commonly portrayed. He is, however, using the wrong metrics and drawing the wrong conclusions.

middle east

Ten Proposals On The Middle East For The New US Administration

by Russell A. Berman, Charles Hillvia Analysis
Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Of the foreign policy challenges that face the new administration in Washington, perhaps none is more significant than that of the Middle East.  From spawning terrorism to supplying the bulk of the world’s fuels to destabilizing Europe with a wave of migration, its problems reverberate far beyond its borders.  Under the Obama administration, Iran and Russia have been allowed to supplant the United States as a regional hegemon, and the result has been destabilizing to the point of threatening the international order. 

Responders of First or Last Resort: Central Bank Strategies in an Era of Ultra-Low Interest Rates

by Kevin Warshvia Analysis
Friday, January 6, 2017

Long after the Great Recession and Financial Crisis ended, most of the world’s major central banks have continued to maintain extremely accommodative policies. But with output growth still disappointingly low and inflation below target in many countries, should central banks adopt a new strategy?

Holiday Cheer from the Dismal Science: What's Behind the Numbers?

via Analysis
Wednesday, December 28, 2016

This is the statistical backup for the statements Edward P. Lazear made in the December, 2016 The Wall Street Journal op-ed Holiday Cheer from the Dismal Science”.

The Story of the Tunisian Revolution

by Samuel Tadrosvia Analysis
Monday, December 19, 2016

The simple narrative of a frustrated Tunisian street vendor's desperate act igniting the flames of Arab revolutions has captured the world’s imagination. Yet no serious examination has been undertaken to understand what actually took place in the halls of power that led to Tunisia’s strongman, Zein El Abedine Ben Ali, fleeing his country. In this essay, Samuel Tadros examines an important book written by two Tunisian journalists investigating the revolution. The story offers us important insights into the nature of Arab regimes, their inherent weaknesses, the culture of mistrust they sow, and how the powerful house Ben Ali had constructed was figuratively built on sand. The story of what transpired in Tunisia during its revolution stands as a cautionary tale regarding the narratives that have come to dominate the way the Arab revolutions and events in the broader region have been reported and understood.

World Puzzle

Strategic Planning for the New Administration

by Colin Dueckvia Analysis
Thursday, December 15, 2016

The next administration will face urgent, practical questions of how to organize its National Security Council decision-making process while developing a strong foreign policy strategy.  Strategic planning can help to make international success more likely, in part by providing the president with clear, well-informed policy options.  Yet no process can work if it does not fit the individual president.  To that end, the following essay examines the new president-elect's decision-making style, and then outlines six specific NSC recommendations: 1. Learn from private sector experience, 2. Develop and execute a meaningful national security strategy early on, 3. Restore a proper balance of responsibilities between the NSC and line departments and agencies, 4. Encourage the president's national security adviser to play the roles of honest broker, policy entrepreneur, and presidential agent, 5. Appoint and empower a strategic planning directorate on the NSC staff, and 6. Consider creating an effective strategic planning board.  In the end, the case is made that strategy is possible; bureaucratic consensus overrated; and defeatism unhelpful.

Preventing Operational Atrophy In The Long War

by Vince Gouldingvia Analysis
Saturday, December 10, 2016

Bad or nonexistent national strategy manifests itself in suboptimal military responses.  The 2011 withdrawal of U.S. ground forces from Iraq is a classic example.  It threw away success garnered by the 2007 “surge” on the premise that Iraqi forces, aided by airstrikes and special operators, could stabilize the post-hostilities phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Counterinsurgency operations must address their center of gravity: a secure living environment.  General purpose ground formations have historically been essential to achieving that end. Military forces should never be applied absent clear strategy; when they are, all the tools in the operational commander’s kit must be on the table.

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