THINK TANK ROUND-UP: FEDERAL-STATE-MEGA PARTERNSHIP EDITION.

Once again, a foray into the white papers that make our world go round.

  • Better than First Class. In addition to tax breaks, the super-rich are getting discounts when the take private jets, according to a report by the Institute for Policy Studies. While a commercial flight pays $2,014 in taxes to fly from New York to Miami, a private jet only pays $236, despite incurring the same cost to air traffic control. The number of private jets has grown slowly but steadily over the past 30 years and according to this report will double in the next ten years. 
  • Terror and charity. OMB Watch has a comprehensive paper detailing how counter-terror policies have led to civil rights violations in the charitable sphere: "Lack of basic due process rights and use of secret evidence mean there is no protection against unsubstantiated evidence, mistake, or abuse. Organizations are unable to present evidence to an independent review body or hire defense counsel with seized funds. Challenging a designation in federal court is also problematic because the courts do not rule on the merits of Treasury’s evidence." While this issue got a good deal of attention following Treasury's initial crackdown after 9/11, the problems continue to drag on.
  • Economic growth for Africa. Last week we heard that the Cato Institute wanted to help Africa by withdrawing all G-8 fiscal aid. This week, the Heritage Foundation outlines a plan for the U.S. government to support African nations by expanding policies favorable to private foreign investment on the continent. The memo lauds the results of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) implemented in 2000. Recognizing Africa's continuing struggle with poverty, the report calls for more U.S. involvement and a possible free trade agreement when AGOA expires in 2015.
  • New American Heartland? Brookings issues a fascinating report on the economic growth and transition of "Mountain Megas" in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. Urban centers in these states are growing into huge super-regions conducive to job growth and sustainability, as well as the development of new infrastructure. The report suggests its time for a "new federal-state-mega partnership" to help these growing population centers address climate change, immigration, transportation and other regional and national challenges.

-- TAP Staff

Previous Round-Ups: 7/14/2008

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