Congressional Brief: Public Lands

The federal government owns some of the nation’s most magnificent landscapes and treasured resources, but it also owns some lands with no particularly striking characteristics or special environmental value. Unfortunately, it has managed the public’s natural resources as poorly as it has managed the federal budget. Unable to balance land use and preservation, government management of public lands has shifted between periods of exploitation or overuse and periods of “protection” or “preservation” bordering on neglect. The result has been degradation of the public lands and the wildlife that depends on them.

Crisis Policy-Making: Immediate Action, Prolonged Regret

In a national emergency, perhaps the strongest urge of democratically elected officials is to "do something" immediately. Politicians believe that inaction sends citizens the message that their leaders are indecisive and perhaps incompetent to deal with the crisis. In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, Congress and the president are proposing a host of new security measures and other laws and regulations.

Waging the New War on Terrorism

We are now at war. President Bush and the U.S. Congress have made that clear and the public has evinced so far overwhelming support for their leaders' calls for waging a long, patient and difficult struggle against both those who attacked us so brutally on September 11 and those who support global terrorism.

Suing Gun Manufacturers: Hazardous to Our Health

The lawsuits against gun manufacturers are not just bad public policy, they are also dubious as matters of law. The courts have recognized that firearms are no different from many other potentially dangerous products and have consistently held that legislatures should decide whether guns should be legal and widely available.

Death by Quota

Is death sentencing really racially discriminatory? Those who claim there is a pattern of discrimination are ignoring a host of studies that show otherwise.

Government In Retreat

Technological changes are increasing the mobility of labor and capital around the world. Because of this mobility, governments no longer have a fixed supply of productive resources to tax and regulate. Instead, governments are in active competition with each other to make their countries attractive to workers and investors who have increasing freedom of choice about when they produce, save and invest. Because the most effective way to compete for capital and labor is to reduce the burden of government, government spending is no longer growing relative to the size of the economy in most developed countries.

Private Sector Alternatives in Urban Transportation

Throughout the 20th century, in the United States and in countries around the world, people have increasingly turned to government to solve problems they believe cannot be solved through the private marketplace. In recent years, however, scholars have discovered that government solutions to social problems often do not improve upon the private solutions of the marketplace.