Volume 5 (2008)

The Environmental Impact Adjustment Fee: Changing the Incentive Structure of Annual Registration Fees to Reduce Emissions of Traditional Pollution and Carbon Dioxide by Passenger Vehicles in California

Greg Spotts and Sherol Manavi

As a means to reduce tailpipe emissions of greenhouse gases and traditional pollutants by passenger vehicles, the authors propose an Environmental Impact Adjustment to California’s Vehicle License Fee. A plurality of California motorists would see no change to their annual registration cost, but owners of fuel-inefficient vehicles and older, high-polluting cars would pay from $20 to $135 more per year. Owners of highly fuel-efficient vehicles would enjoy a small reduction in their annual Vehicle License Fee. The authors also propose companion measures to require an immediate smog check of unregistered vehicles discovered during routine traffic stops and expand and improve the existing state buyback program that retires high-polluting older vehicles.

Armed and Not Dangerous: A Review of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Oversight of the Iraq Conflict Between 2002 and 2004

Matthew Singer

While President George W. Bush receives most of the scrutiny, blame, and praise for the current Iraq conflict, Congress has had an important role in overseeing the planning and execution of the war. Referencing transcripts of Senate Armed Services Committee hearings between 2002 and 2004, this paper uses four major criteria—attendance rates, quality and diversity of witnesses, evidence of partisanship, and assertions of institutional prerogatives—to assess the committee’s oversight of the Iraq conflict during that time period. This analysis concludes that the committee struggled to fulfill its duties in most of these categories. Overall, the committee’s oversight of the Iraq conflict must be considered a failure.

Exploring Government Partnerships to Improve Offender Reentry

Bridgette M. Bassford

Every year, 650,000 individuals are released from prison in the United States. Department of Justice statistics confirm that two-thirds of those released will commit additional crimes and return to prison shortly after their initial release. This failure in prisoner reentry comes at great expense to society not only in higher crime rates, but increased taxes and spending. In recent years, the government has recognized this dilemma and called upon the nonprofit community to partner with them in creating reentry programs aimed at reducing recidivism. The programs profiled here, the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency and the Maryland Reentry Partnership, offer a stimulating example of successful nonprofit/government collaborations. Focusing on pre-release and post-release support, both programs have shown a reduction in recidivism rates.

Book Review of Laurence J. Kotlikoff’s The Health Care Fix: Universal Insurance for all Americans

David H. Johnson

Book review.

Core Labor Standards and the Multilateral Trading System: Do Poor Countries and Their Workers Gain from a Linkage Between Labor Standards and the WTO?

Andreas Hatzigeorgiou

Labor standards are a focus of attention not only for workers, firms, and policymakers in developing countries, but also for increasing numbers of labor activists, economists, and others interested in international development. Commentators often assert that labor standards can be used to alleviate poverty and that the development community should agree on a universal set of global, enforceable labor standards in order to promote development. The purpose of this article is to investigate whether incorporating international labor standards into the multilateral trading system can effectively improve worker welfare in poor countries. The article reviews the theoretical and empirical literature related to this subject and scrutinizes the discourse surrounding it. The article concludes that stronger international enforcement of labor standards has the potential to improve worker welfare in certain cases. Nevertheless, linking this enforcement to the dispute settlement system of the World Trade Organization may harm workers in poor countries because it will likely result in rich countries’ imposition of new protectionist trade policies.

Sustainable Tourism Development in the Caribbean Island Nation-States

James Goodwin, JD

For many developing nations, tourism is an important pathway for development. In recent years, however, tourism has become associated with a number of economic, environmental, and cultural challenges. This article examines how sustainable tourism development could be applied in the Caribbean. The article begins with an introduction to the concept of sustainable tourism development and a brief history of the Caribbean tourism industry. The unique economic, environmental, and cultural challenges associated with tourism in the Caribbean are discussed, with particular attention given to the cruise industry. The article concludes with recommendations for addressing these obstacles, including increasing public participation among Caribbean citizens and taking steps to change tourist consumption patterns.

IT as Public Policy: The Case of Municipal Wireless Initiatives

Jeffrey A. Stone and Elinor M. Madigan

Municipalities across the nation are moving forward with wireless broadband initiatives designed to achieve a variety of social, political, and economic goals. At the same time, these municipalities are wrestling with criticism from private-sector providers that such initiatives do not involve critical public infrastructure and disrupt the market process. This paper performs a multi-faceted examination of the policy, administrative, and political issues involved with municipally-based wireless broadband initiatives. A discussion of the technical, social, political, and economic factors involved with municipal wireless initiatives is used to identify the driving factors, influences, and expected outcomes of these initiatives. Theoretical arguments, existing research, and recent policy approaches are examined in light of legislative action and technological advances.