Agenda for the Nation

Brookings Institution Press
Free sample

More powerful and affluent today than ever, the United States has promising opportunities to influence the course of history. Yet these prospects are shadowed by significant perils and burdens. In this visionary book, leading scholars from the Brookings Institution and other prominent research organizations and universities analyze the major domestic and foreign policy problems facing the nation over the next five to ten years. The challenges on the domestic front are formidable: assuring fair but affordable access to health care, shoring up retirement income for an aging population, encouraging long-term economic growth, easing the growing pains of an increasingly diverse society, and reconciling energy policies with environmental concerns. In international affairs the central task is to use America's unprecedented power wisely and to protect a homeland that has been revealed as surprisingly vulnerable. Yet efforts must also focus on improving the economic fortunes of poorer countries, expanding trade, and reforming the rules that regulate the flows of capital across national borders. Is the United States government capable of rising to these vast and varied challenges? The concluding chapters of this book offer cautious optimism. While it is often criticized, the American political system is fundamentally resilient and flexible. Ambitious in scope, Agenda for the Nation provides thoughtful, constructive answers to questions of how the U.S. government can effectively serve its citizens and meet its global responsibilities in a world of opportunity and uncertainty.
Read more

About the author

Henry J. Aaron is a senior fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution, where he holds the Bruce and Virginia MacLaury Chair. Among his many books are Can We Say No? The Challenge of Rationing Health Care, with William B. Schwartz and Melissa Cox (Brookings, 2006), and Reforming Medicare: Options,Tradeoffs, and Opportunities, written with Jeanne Lambrew (Brookings, 2008). James M. Lindsay is vice president and director of studies of the Council on Foreign Relations, where he holds the Maurice R. Greenberg Chair. He was previously deputy director and senior fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution. His books include Defending America: The Case for Limited National Missile Defense (Brookings 2001). In 1996-97, Lindsay was director for global issues and multilateral affairs on the National Security Council staff. Pietro S. Nivola is a vice president of the Brookings Institution, where he is the director of Governance Studies. Among his previous books are Tense Commandments: Federal Prescriptions and City Problems (Brookings, 2002).

Read more

Reviews

Loading...

Additional Information

Publisher
Brookings Institution Press
Read more
Published on
Jul 29, 2003
Read more
Pages
432
Read more
ISBN
9780815796053
Read more
Language
English
Read more
Genres
Political Science / American Government / General
Political Science / International Relations / Diplomacy
Political Science / Public Policy / Environmental Policy
Political Science / Public Policy / General
Political Science / Security (National & International)
Read more
Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
Read more
Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
Read more

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
Pietro S. Nivola
With distrust between the political parties running deep and Congress divided, the government of the United States goes to war. The war is waged without adequately preparing the means to finance it or readying suitable contingency plans to contend with its unanticipated complications. The executive branch suffers from managerial confusion and in-fighting. The military invades a foreign country, expecting to be greeted as liberators, but encounters stiff, unwelcome resistance. The conflict drags on longer than predicted. It ends rather inconclusively—or so it seems in its aftermath.

Sound familiar? This all happened two hundred years ago.

What So Proudly We Hailed looks at the War of 1812 in part through the lens of today's America. On the bicentennial of that formative yet largely forgotten period in U.S. history, this provocative book asks: What did Americans learn—and not learn—from the experience? What instructive parallels and distinctions can be drawn with more recent events? How did it shape the nation?

Exploring issues ranging from party politics to sectional schisms, distant naval battles to the burning of Washington, and citizens' civil liberties to the fate of Native Americans caught in the struggle, these essays speak to the complexity and unpredictability of a war that many assumed would be brief and straightforward. What emerges is a revealing perspective on a problematic "war of choice"—the nation's first, but one with intriguing implications for others, including at least one in the present century.

Although the War of 1812 may have faded from modern memory, the conflict left important legacies, both in its immediate wake and in later years. In its own time, the war was transformative. To this day, however, some of the fundamental challenges that confronted U.S. policymakers two centuries ago still resonate. How much should a free society regularly invest in national defense? Should the expense be defrayed through new taxes? Is it possible for profound partisan disagreements to stop "at the water's edge"? What are the constitutional limits of executive powers in wartime? How, exactly, should the government treat dissenters, especially when many are suspected of giving aid and comfort to an enemy? As Americans continue to reflect on their country and its role in the world, these questions remain as relevant now as they were then.

Pietro S. Nivola
The American economy is in many ways uniquely unfettered. Nowhere else in the industrial world is it easier to set up a discount store, start a new airline, or shrink a payroll. But extensive economic deregulation has been matched by a burgeoning body of social law cracking down on business. From shareholder litigation and strict product liability to punitive environmental controls and workplace rules, entrepreneurs run a gauntlet of legal perils. The costs of this expanding and contentious agenda often exceed the value of its social benefits. The projected annual costs over benefits of the 1990 Clean Air Act, for instance, surpass the estimated value of U.S. exports blocked by all of Japan's known import restrictions. How sustainable is this situation amid the pressures of globalization? The contributors to this volume explore the question from a variety of perspectives.

U.S. policymakers frequently criticize the rest of the world for policies and practices that are said to constrict American commerce. Yet some trade disputes have been ignited by questionable rules made in the United States. Indeed, legal strictures have posed barriers to imports and possibly discouraged foreign investors, as well as interfered with some U.S. exports. At times the social regulatory regime has also stirred abrasive efforts to extend U.S. sanctions to foreign soil. Even if those frictions have been of minor consequences so far, inefficient legal and regulatory conventions exact a toll on U.S. productivity growth.

The book concludes that in a global economy the burdensome regulations of foreign countries deserve attention, but increasingly so do the burdens that American "adversarial legalism" imposes on itself and sometimes on others. Ideas and prospects for correcting the problem are discussed throughout.

The contributors include Lee Axelrad, Thomas F. Burke, Loren Cass, Robert A. Kagan, Mark K. Landy, Roger G. Noll, and David Vogel.

Pietro S. Nivola
In the early 1980s, American complaints about unfair trade practices began to intensify. Sunrise industries, such as manufacturers of semiconductors and telecommunications equipment, joined older complainants, including steel and textile producers, in seeking more safeguards against international competitors who priced their products too aggressively or whose governments subsidized exports or protected home markets. In this politically charged atmosphere, the U.S. government has devised increasingly stringent regulatory programs to address the claimed abuses and distortions. In this book, Pietro Nivola examines the strenuous effort to combat the objectionable trading practices of other countries. Through most of the postwar period, Nivola notes, policymakers had deemed it in the nation's economic and strategic interests to tolerate asymmetries and infractions in the international trading order. But that tolerance has been sharply lowered by heightened sensitivity to inequities, and a growing conviction that government should intervene, frequently and forcefully, to ensure a "level playing field." The book maintains that foreign protectionism lower East-West tensions, and alleged American decline in the face of international competition cannot fully explain the stiffening regulation of unfair trade. The world trading system, Nivola contends, is not more restrictive now than it was earlier. Cries about foreign commercial transgressions in recent years have remained shrill despite a formidable U.S. export boom and an improved current account valance. Much of the U.S. regulatory activity has acquired a political momentum of its own. The activity has increased not just because global competitive pressures have generally intensified but because we have developed more ways and inducement to complain about those pressures. Nivola cautions that trade regulations now bears too much of the burden for ameliorating economic imbalances and deficiencies. The tendency adds to a sense of frustration that fuels demands for additional regulations. While recognizing the need for an explicit and responsible trade policy, Nivola concludes that such a policy must be based, first and foremost, on realistic expectations. Trade actions need to compliment, not subordinate, a more basic agenda: improvement in the national rates of saving and investment, better preparation of the work force, control of runaway health care costs, less litigation, and more regulatory reform—all of which are likely to be far more consequential for the nation's long-term competitiveness and living standards.
Henry Aaron
Academic medical centers provide cutting edge acute care, train tomorrow's physicians, and carry out research that will expand the range of treatable and curable illnesses. But these centers themselves may need urgent care—experts generally agree that many are suffering acute—even life-threatening—financial distress. Many academic medical centers are suffering for several reasons: in-patient admissions are down, as many procedures that once required a hospital stay are now performed on an out-patient basis or in a physician's office ; managed care plans have negotiated discounted fees that cut hospital operating margins; the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 curtailed Medicare reimbursements, lowered margins and pushed some into the red; the revolution in information technology is imposing large new capital costs; and the character of medical education is receiving its most thorough review in decades. While there is a general consensus that medical centers are under pressure, experts disagree about the depth and pervasiveness of the current financial distress. Are they whining about financial pressures other, less-favored sectors find routine; or is the high quality American teaching hospital becoming an endangered species—that could face extinction if nothing is done. Because academic medical centers perform such important jobs, it is critical to determine the true nature and depth of their current financial problems—and then fashion analytically sound and politically sustainable solutions. This book brings together chief executive officers of major medical centers, university presidents, senior members of Congressional and executive office staffs, and leading analysts. These experts address the key issues and prescribe remedies both regulatory and legislative to ensure that the teaching hospital remains a picture of financial health. Contributors include Nancy Kane (Harvard School of Public Health), Jamie Reuter (Institute for Health Care Research Policy, Georgetown University), Peter van Etten (Juvenile Diabetes Foundation), Ralph Muller (University of Chicago Hospitals and Health System), James Robinson (School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley), David Blumenthal (Institute for Health Policy, Massachusetts General Hospital), Edward Miller (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine), Spencer Foreman (Montefiore Medical Center), Lawrence Lewin (Lewin Group), Gail Wilensky (Project HOPE), Robert Dickler (American Association of Medical Colleges), and Kenneth Shine (Institute of Medicine).
Henry Aaron
In the early 1960s America was in a confident mood and embarked on a series of efforts to solve the problems of poverty, racial discrimination, unemployment, and inequality of educational opportunity. The programs of the Great Society and the War on Poverty were undergirded by a broad consensus about what our problems as a nation were and how we should solve them. But by the early seventies both political and scholarly tides had shifted. Americans were divided and uncertain about what to do abroad, fearful of military inferiority, and pessimistic about the capacity of government to deal affirmatively with domestic problems. A new administration renounced the rhetoric of the Great Society and changed the emphasis of many programs. On the scholarly front, new research called into question the old faiths on which liberal legislation had been based.

In this book, the sixteenth volume in the Brookings series in Social Economics, Henry Aaron describes both the initial consensus and its subsequent decline. He examines the evolution of attitude and pronouncements by scholars and popular writers on the role of the federal government and its capacity to bring about beneficial change in three broad areas: poverty and discrimination, education and training, and unemployment and inflation. He argues that the political eclipse of the Great Society depended more on events external to it—war in Vietnam, dissolution of the civil rights coalition, and, finally, the Watergate scandal and all its repercussions—than on its intrinsic failings. Aaron concludes that both the initial commitment to use national polices to solve social and economic problems and the subsequent disillusionment of scholars and laymen alike rest largely on preconceptions and faiths that have little to do with research themselves.

Henry Aaron
People pay taxes for two reasons. On the positive side, most people recognize, even if grudgingly, that payment of tax is a duty of citizenship. On the negative side, they know that the law requires payment, that evasion is a crime, and that willful failure to pay taxes is punishable by fines or imprisonment. The practical questions for tax administration are how to strengthen each of these motives to comply with the law. How much should be spent on enforcement and how should enforcement be organized to promote these objectives and achieve the best results per dollar spent? Over the last few years, the U.S. Congress has restricted spending on tax administration, forcing the Internal Revenue Service to curtail enforcement activities, at the same time, that the number of individual filers has increased, tax rules have become more complex, and more business have become multinational operations. But if too many cases of tax evasion go undetected and unpunished, those who may have grudgingly paid their taxes may soon find it easier to join the scofflaws. These events in combination have created a genuine crisis in tax administration. The chapters in this volume evaluate the capacity of authorities to enforce the tax laws in a modern, global economy and examine the implications of failing to do so. Specific aspects of tax law, including tax shelters, issues relating to small businesses, tax software, role of tax preparers, and the objectives of tax simplification are examined in detail. The volume also builds a conceptual basis for future scholarship, with regard not only to tax administration, but also to such fundamental questions as whether taxpayers respond mostly to economic incentives or are influenced by their experiences with the filing process and what is the proper framework for evaluating the allocation of resources within the IRS.
Pietro S. Nivola
The American economy is in many ways uniquely unfettered. Nowhere else in the industrial world is it easier to set up a discount store, start a new airline, or shrink a payroll. But extensive economic deregulation has been matched by a burgeoning body of social law cracking down on business. From shareholder litigation and strict product liability to punitive environmental controls and workplace rules, entrepreneurs run a gauntlet of legal perils. The costs of this expanding and contentious agenda often exceed the value of its social benefits. The projected annual costs over benefits of the 1990 Clean Air Act, for instance, surpass the estimated value of U.S. exports blocked by all of Japan's known import restrictions. How sustainable is this situation amid the pressures of globalization? The contributors to this volume explore the question from a variety of perspectives.

U.S. policymakers frequently criticize the rest of the world for policies and practices that are said to constrict American commerce. Yet some trade disputes have been ignited by questionable rules made in the United States. Indeed, legal strictures have posed barriers to imports and possibly discouraged foreign investors, as well as interfered with some U.S. exports. At times the social regulatory regime has also stirred abrasive efforts to extend U.S. sanctions to foreign soil. Even if those frictions have been of minor consequences so far, inefficient legal and regulatory conventions exact a toll on U.S. productivity growth.

The book concludes that in a global economy the burdensome regulations of foreign countries deserve attention, but increasingly so do the burdens that American "adversarial legalism" imposes on itself and sometimes on others. Ideas and prospects for correcting the problem are discussed throughout.

The contributors include Lee Axelrad, Thomas F. Burke, Loren Cass, Robert A. Kagan, Mark K. Landy, Roger G. Noll, and David Vogel.

Pietro S. Nivola
With distrust between the political parties running deep and Congress divided, the government of the United States goes to war. The war is waged without adequately preparing the means to finance it or readying suitable contingency plans to contend with its unanticipated complications. The executive branch suffers from managerial confusion and in-fighting. The military invades a foreign country, expecting to be greeted as liberators, but encounters stiff, unwelcome resistance. The conflict drags on longer than predicted. It ends rather inconclusively—or so it seems in its aftermath.

Sound familiar? This all happened two hundred years ago.

What So Proudly We Hailed looks at the War of 1812 in part through the lens of today's America. On the bicentennial of that formative yet largely forgotten period in U.S. history, this provocative book asks: What did Americans learn—and not learn—from the experience? What instructive parallels and distinctions can be drawn with more recent events? How did it shape the nation?

Exploring issues ranging from party politics to sectional schisms, distant naval battles to the burning of Washington, and citizens' civil liberties to the fate of Native Americans caught in the struggle, these essays speak to the complexity and unpredictability of a war that many assumed would be brief and straightforward. What emerges is a revealing perspective on a problematic "war of choice"—the nation's first, but one with intriguing implications for others, including at least one in the present century.

Although the War of 1812 may have faded from modern memory, the conflict left important legacies, both in its immediate wake and in later years. In its own time, the war was transformative. To this day, however, some of the fundamental challenges that confronted U.S. policymakers two centuries ago still resonate. How much should a free society regularly invest in national defense? Should the expense be defrayed through new taxes? Is it possible for profound partisan disagreements to stop "at the water's edge"? What are the constitutional limits of executive powers in wartime? How, exactly, should the government treat dissenters, especially when many are suspected of giving aid and comfort to an enemy? As Americans continue to reflect on their country and its role in the world, these questions remain as relevant now as they were then.

©2017 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.