The Licensing Logjam

C. Jarrett Dieterle & Shoshana Weissmann

Conservatives and liberals tend to agree that occupational licensing requirements are often unnecessary and burdensome — and that they stand in the way of upward mobility. But despite this broad agreement, attempts at reform at the national level have been rare, and those reforms that have been pursued have had little impact. Much more could be done. While it is true that most far-reaching reforms must take place at the state level, there are many ways the federal government can reduce licensing barriers while paving the way for states to take further steps.

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Congress Indispensable

Philip Wallach

The problems that beset the U.S. Congress have driven many observers to conclude that the institution is obsolete and should just get out of the way and let the president govern. But Congress is no anachronism. The very features that would-be reformers find most exasperating — its messiness, balkiness, and cacophony — are actually those that render our federal legislature uniquely capable of maintaining the bonds that hold together our sprawling republic. A stronger and more confident Congress is increasingly essential. 


the public interest

Science and ideology in economics

Robert M. Solow

The Public Interest was a quarterly public policy journal founded by Irving Kristol and Daniel Bell in 1965. Throughout its four decades of publication, ending in 2005, it offered incomparable insight and wisdom on a vast range of challenges at the intersection of public affairs, culture, and political economy—helping America better understand and govern itself in a tumultuous time. National Affairs now hosts its archives, free of charge.

Taking On the Scourge of Opioids

Sally Satel

Major swaths of our country are experiencing an unprecedented epidemic of deadly drug abuse. An estimated 2.1 million Americans abuse or are addicted to opioids. But because this epidemic has not hit the major cities where our politics and culture are centered, the public and political response has been shockingly slow and halting. Now that our leaders increasingly do see this massive crisis, how can they best help to address it?

After Federalist No. 10

Greg Weiner

Federalist No. 10 is rooted in timeless political truths, but also in some less permanent assumptions. Madison assumes politics will occur at a leisurely pace. He imagines a government that does not concern itself with economic minutiae. And he is able to take for granted a reasonably broad consensus as to the existence if not the content of the public good. These assumptions may now be collapsing. So how can Madison's vision be restored and secured?

Putting Regulators on a Budget

Jeff Rosen

The spending undertaken by federal appropriators — just like private businesses and households — is restrained by a budget. But federal regulators face no such constraints. They can impose costs on the economy without limit, as long as they can somehow claim sufficient benefits connected to their rules. It is time for Congress to establish a regulatory budget to contain the cost of our administrative state.


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