Balkan Vol.3 (Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia)

former Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia1Yugoslavia2Yugoslavia3Yugoslavia4
Bosnia & Herzegovina


Serbia


Croatia


Slovenia


UK Vol.94 (Post-EUref #Brexit Vol.23)

Here are tweets on Brexit.


UK Vol.93 (Post-EUref #Brexit Vol.22: 2017 General Election – results, et al.)

Here are articles on the general election results, et al. Excerpts are on our own.

Election 2017 – UK results | @BBC

Interactive map: Britain’s general election 2017 – Live election results reported here, seat by seat | @economist

UK general election 2017 | @YouGov ElectionCentre

Election results 2017: full list and map | @FT
GE2017uk 649results

General Election 2017 (incl London interactive) | @standardnews

Live Now: U.K. General Election Results | @bpolitics

General election 2017: expert comment and analysis from @UCLPublicPolicy


Ungovernable  Hung Parliaments are so 2010 (27/5/2017) | @robfuller91 @medium

Corbyn, and an election surprise (26/5/2017) | @openDemocracy

Media coverage of the 2017 General Election campaign [report 3 – covering 18th-31st May inclusive] (w Video; 2/6/2017) | @lboroCRCC

Why do our party leaders tour the country? And will it affect Thursday’s election result? (4/6/2017) | @MiddletonAlia @PSABlog

2017 General Election live opinion poll | @gritdigital

UK Snap General Election Polling Results 19th April 2017 (PDF) | @opinion_life

UK general election 2017 poll tracker: All the latest results as Conservatives battle Labour Polls are a crucial part of the election wallchart – even if they’ve got a bad rep. Here are the latest results and analysis of what it all means (8/6/2017) | @mikeysmith,@taylorjoshua1,@danbloom1 @MirrorPolitics

We are becoming segregated into young and old communities without realising (5/6/2017) | Albert Sabater, Elspeth Graham, Nissa Finney (@univofstandrews) @ConversationUK

The Young Vote in 2017: Stat Attack (11/5/2017) | @bennosaurus @PSABlog

An economist views the UK’s snap general election (5/6/2017) | Jan Toporowski @OUPEconomics
… On 11 May the Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney reassured the markets that the ‘good Brexit deal’ would stabilise our economy after 2019, and the markets were duly sedated. …
… For the Europeans, this will be the fourth ‘deal’ that Britain will have secured: the first on entry in 1973; the second under Margaret Thatcher in 1984 when ‘we got our money back’; the third obtained by David Cameron in 2016; and the fourth that is to come resulting from our exit from the European Union.
… Indeed the more our politicians demand that we give them ‘a strong negotiating position’ with Europe, the more they are hedging their electoral promises with the alibi that, if they do not deliver, it will be because we did not give them a sufficiently ‘strong negotiating position’, or they were taken advantage of by the Europeans. …
In this respect the election is not needed at this moment, in particular for the Brexit process which leaves our government only 21 months to settle the complex questions arising out of Brexit. Out of these questions, the more obviously insoluble conundrums are Northern Ireland…

Dr Jonathan Leader Maynard discusses what more can be done to prevent UK terrorism (6/6/2017) | @Politics_Oxford

Observer editorial: There has been a shameful lack of leadership from all parties. But we can no longer tolerate Theresa May’s agenda for post-Brexit Britain (4/6/2017) | @guardian
… She has provided no further detail about her Brexit negotiating strategy, sticking to her disastrous mantra that no deal is better than a bad deal. She has signalled immigration control will be her top priority, even though securing it will mean leaving the single market, jeopardising everything else voters care deeply about – jobs and growth and the future of our public services.
There are echoes of Ed Miliband’s social democratic priorities in parts of her manifesto and she should be applauded for signalling that unfettered free markets are not the route to social and economic justice. She sets out proposals for greater state intervention in markets that stack the odds against consumers and workers and unfairly, and often obscenely, advantage CEOs and senior executives. Dropping the commitment to the triple lock on the state pension is a tentative first step towards recognising the need for intergenerational rebalancing.
But her manifesto is thin on detail and May is no stranger to adopting contradictory rhetoric and positions. …
But Corbyn’s ability to run a decent election campaign cannot be taken as a sign he would make a competent premier. Last summer, he failed to win the support of 80% of his MPs in a confidence vote. Many had vowed to give him a chance but withdrew support on grounds of competency, with stories emerging of a chaotic operation. …

The Conservative manifesto and social care: policy-making on the hoof (22/5/2017) | @MelanieHenwood @LSEpoliticsblog
… The publication of the Conservative Manifesto unexpectedly outlined a change of direction when Theresa May seemed to dismiss the ‘capped cost’ model of funding which was brought into legislation by the Coalition Government in the 2014 Care Act, and implementation was delayed by the incoming Conservative government in July 2015 on the grounds that it would give local government longer to prepare and to have adequate resources. The manifesto made no reference either to the Care Act, or to the capped cost model, but remarked that “where others have failed to lead, we will act”. Further detail will follow in a green paper, but the sketchiness of the proposals has already proved a major flaw.
The manifesto lamented the costs of caring for older generations, “borne by working people through their taxes” and proposed a way forward that would be “more equitable, within and across the generations.” Except, it hasn’t quite played out like that. Some might think that ditching legislation that has not yet been fully implemented is disingenuous; others may see it simply as May’s blatant attempt to stamp her own brand of conservatism all over policy and political doctrine, and distance herself from her predecessors. What this episode reveals more than anything is political naivety, poor judgement, and lack of understanding of the complexity of social care. …

Theresa May, Borrowing from Labour, Vows to Extend Protections for Workers (15/5/2017) | @_StephenCastle @nytimes
Since emerging as prime minister from the political wreckage of last year’s vote to quit the European Union, Theresa May has told Britain’s voters little about what she believes, aside from stressing her desire for a clean break from the bloc.
But with an election looming, Mrs. May is promoting some strikingly centrist social and economic policies, reaching out across the political divide to traditional supporters of the opposition Labour Party, many of whose incomes were squeezed after the financial crash. …
“We are seeing a willingness to think of intervention that would have been seen as anathema by hard-core Thatcherites,” said @ProfTimBale , professor of politics at @QMPoliticsIR. …
… May’s main election strategy is to argue that she is better placed than her less popular Labour rival, Mr. Corbyn, to provide the “strong and stable leadership” which has become her mantra. …
Analysts ascribe the intellectual basis of Mrs. May’s brand of conservatism to Nick Timothy, one of her two closest aides. Mr. Timothy was raised in Birmingham, one of Britain’s industrial heartlands, and is a admirer of the type of municipal politics practiced by Joseph Chamberlain, who transformed the leadership of the city in the 19th century and whose legacy has also been cited as an inspiration by Mrs. May. …

The political economy of the Conservative Manifesto: a hallucinatory celebration of the state (24/5/2017) | Abby Innes @LSEEI
… As Hans Werner Sinn notes, since governments have stepped in when markets have failed historically, it can hardly be expected that a reintroduction of the market through the backdoor will work. More problematically still, supply-side reforms assume that if you bring businesses into the state, you get the best of states and markets and not the worst of both regimes: a lean and more efficient bureaucracy and not an informationally and organisationally fragmented state increasingly beset by conflicts of interests; the dynamism of competitive enterprises and not the financially extractive practices of low-performing public service industry monopolies.
The challenge that faces the next government is that these reforms have failed in the terms by which they were justified. Ruth Dixon and Christopher Hood find that reported administration costs in the UK have risen by 40 per cent in constant prices over the last thirty years despite a third of the civil service being cut over the same period, whilst total public spending has doubled. Running costs were driven up most in the outsourced areas and failures of service, complaints, and judicial challenges have soared. Government has attempted to resolve these self-inflicted market failures with regulatory oversight to codify tasks – consider teaching or medical care – un-codifiable in their most important aspects. Bureaucratic monitoring at levels un-dreamed of in the 1970s has joined informational and structural fragmentation, professional demoralisation and increased costs. …
A voter could not tell from this manifesto whether a Conservative government would restore the integrity of the state or follow along the path of its supply-sider predecessors whose striking achievement has been a creeping corporate extraction of public authority and funding. It is worth remembering that their putative goal in theory was the night-watchman state of libertarian fantasy: a state that protects only contract, property rights and sovereignty and that has never existed in the history of capitalism, let alone democratic capitalism. The evidence of May’s current administration is that she endorses the supply-side diagnosis. The Conservative leadership is waving Disraeli’s hat but it is still wearing Milton Friedman’s trousers.

The Hard Brexit road to Indyref2 (14/3/2017) | @IPR_NickP @UniofBathIPR
… Two factors explain Nicola Sturgeon’s decision: the intransigence of Conservative-Unionism and the weakness of the Labour Party. Intransigence is in part an artifact of the Prime Minister’s governing style, which combines “personal animus and political diligence”, as David Runciman has written. She sticks to a position doggedly and keeps things close to her in No10. She is capable of ruthless revenge, to the point of petulance, as Michael Heseltine recently discovered. It is a statecraft that has served her well until now. It is not one that is suited to sharing power in a process of negotiation and compromise across a fractured union.
Her choice of the hard route to Brexit has also narrowed her scope for flexibility. …
History is in danger of repeating itself. The last time the United Kingdom was challenged by the aspirations for greater self-determination of a significant proportion of one its nations was during the long struggle for Irish Home Rule. Conservative-Unionists met that challenge by suppression, not accommodation. It didn’t end well.
The second factor is the decline of the Labour Party. …
Labour’s vacillation on Europe means that it is currently largely voiceless in the national debate on Brexit. It is shedding votes to the Liberal Democrats as a consequence. It fears a further loss of support to UKIP and the Conservatives if it backs membership of the single market and customs union in the Brexit negotiations. But the prospect of the breakup of the UK, the unstitching of the Northern Irish settlement, and economic decline in its heartlands should give it cause to consider the national interest, not just the party interest. …

Agricultural policy after Brexit (23/5/2017) | @Dieter_Helm @OUPEconomics @pixabay
… The CAP pays the bulk of the subsidies as a payment for owning land (called Pillar I). The economic effects of Pillar I subsidies are obvious: increasing the revenues per hectare raises the price of a hectare. Land prices capitalise the subsidies, creating barriers to entry. As a result, the CAP has also now established a fund to help young farmers get into the industry, in the face of the obstacles the CAP itself creates. The rest of the subsidy goes on rural development and environmental schemes (called Pillar II). These are often poorly designed.
…the first option is to shift some of the subsidy from paying to own land towards more spending on the environment – i.e. shifting the balance from Pillar I to Pillar II.
The second is more radical, switching to a system of paying public money for public goods. …

Local elections 2017: Six key lessons for the general election (5/5/2017) | @JohnCurticeOnTV @BBC

Local election 2017 results in England, Wales and Scotland – and what does it mean for the general election? (6/5/2017) | @Ashley_J_Kirk,@Patrick_E_Scott @Telegraph_Data,@Telegraph

UpVote episode 6: Labour’s surge and the secrets behind Brexit – Professor Paul Whiteley (@uniessexgovt) simulated the Brexit referendum a million times – and Remain won 66 per cent (w Voice; 1/6/2017) | @rowlsmanthorpe @WiredUK

Why Britain voted to Leave (and what Boris Johnson had to do with it) (4/5/2017) | Harold D. Clarke, Matthew Goodwin and Paul Whiteley @lsebrexitvote
… Though Leavers were divided on how to deal with immigration, our findings also point to the important role of ‘cues’ from leaders, specifically Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage. Johnson had a particularly important effect –if you liked Boris then even after controlling for a host of other factors you were significantly more likely to vote for Brexit. Farage was less popular among the professional middle-classes but he was more popular among blue-collar workers and left behind voters, underlining how these rival messengers were able to reach into different groups of voters. …

Why immigration was key to Brexit vote – Brexit reflected ‘a complex and cross-cutting mix of calculations, emotions and cues’ but anxiety over immigration was the dominant factor (15/5/2017) | Matthew Goodwin @IrishTimes
… Where did Remain go wrong? David Cameron and the Remainers recognised that many voters were risk averse and concerned about the economic effects of Brexit. “Project Fear”… Although a plurality of voters felt negatively about both sides, a larger number saw Leave – not Remain – as more positive, honest, clear about their case and as having understood people’s concerns. While more than twice as many people saw Leave rather than Remain as representing “ordinary people”, more than twice as many saw Remain rather than Leave as representing “the establishment”. …

The level of economic optimism within a country may be a key factor in determining voter turnout (1/11/2014) | Troy Cruickshank @LSEEuroppblog

P.S. 10 June


UK Vol.92 (Post-EUref #Brexit Vol.21: 2017 General Election – Manifestos of UKIP, Green Party)

Here are manifestos of United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and Green Party. Excerpts are on our own.

——- UKIP Britain Together: The UKIP 2017 General Election Manifesto (issuu or PDF)
3 Britain Together: Paul Nuttall, UKIP Leader
5 Introduction to the 2017 UKIP Manifesto
• Raise the threshold for paying income tax to £13,500, cut taxes for middle earners, abolish the TV licence and cut VAT on household bills
• Scrap tuition fees for science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine students
• Provide up to 100,000 new homes for younger people every year
• Maintain all pensioner benefits and the pensions Triple Lock
• Protect disability and carer’s benefits
• Spend a genuine two per cent of GDP on defence, plus £1 billion every year
• Fund 20,000 more police officers, 7,000 more prison officers, and 4,000 more border force staff
• Revive our coastal communities and fishing villages
• Cut Business Rates for the smallest businesses
• Commission a dedicated hospital ship to assist our armed forces and deliver humanitarian medical assistance worldwide
6 Brexit Britain: The Key Tests
THE EU PLAN TO STOP US LEAVING
Article 50 is not just a two-year process, as it makes provision for negotiations to extend for an indefinite time beyond that. We are likely to find ourselves facing protracted and tortuous negotiations with a recalcitrant, bullying EU for quite some time. The EU has no incentive to negotiate a ‘good deal’ for the UK because it does not want us to leave.
The UK has massive exposure to the liabilities of the European Central Bank, the European Investment Bank, and various other ‘financial mechanisms’ of the EU so long as we remain a member. We will be expected to contribute to any Eurozone bailouts. The EU will also have to plug a huge financial hole of some 12 per cent of the gross EU budget when Britain leaves. These are just two very good reasons for the EU to keep us dangling on the hook for as long as possible.
The longer the EU can keep Britain in, the greater the opportunity for a new government to reverse the referendum decision, or sign up to some kind of associated membership agreement which, to all intents and purposes, will be just like EU membership.
RESTORING BRITAIN’S FISHING INDUSTRY
… The EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) was cobbled together in 1970 as Denmark, Ireland, Norway and the UK were on course to join the then EEC. Together, these countries held 90 per cent of Western European fish stocks. 80 per cent of those stocks were British. …
THE 1964 LONDON CONVENTION ON FISHING
UKIP will repeal this little-known convention, an agreement between twelve European nations and the UK, which recognises the historic fishing rights of vessels from the contracting parties to fish in the band of waters between six and twelve nautical miles from the UK coast.
When the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy ceases to apply, the UK will automatically establish control of a 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone giving our fishermen sole access to the seas within 200 miles of the UK coastline, or at the mid-point between two countries’ coastlines. However, the existence of the pre-EU 1964 Convention could offer a back door to continued EU fishing in British waters, as vessels belonging to signatory nations could cite this legislation and claim ‘historic rights’ to fishing within the 6 to 12 nautical mile band around the UK. …
SECURING THE FUTURE OF OUR FISHERIES
…it could be worth as much as £6.3 billion to the UK economy in net-to-plate income alone. …
The British Passport
10 Sound National Finances, A Lower Cost of Living
UKIP has always made the case for lower taxes and an end to wasteful public spending programmes. We will scrap white elephant vanity projects such as HS2, replace the out-dated Barnett Formula with a fair funding formula based on need, reduce foreign aid to 0.2 per cent of Gross National Income, and end our financial contributions to the EU budget.
These savings will provide us with £35 billion to fund our public service priorities. By keeping taxation low and incentives for wealth creation high, we will unleash the hardworking, entrepreneurial instincts of the British people. …
13 Backing Business and Investing in British Jobs
BACKING SMALL BUSINESSES
Britain’s 5.5 million small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, making up 60 per cent of the jobs in the private sector, according to the Federation of Small Businesses. UKIP will support small businesses by:
• Cutting business rates by 20 per cent for the 1.5 million British businesses operating from premises with a rateable value of less than £50,000
BACKING BRITAIN’S SELF-EMPLOYED STRIVERS
… There will be no quarterly tax returns, and no increase in Class IV National Insurance or taxes for our self-employed strivers. UKIP’s goal is to keep taxes and red-tape to the minimum necessary.
15 Creating Coastal Enterprise Zones
16 Solving Britain’s Housing Shortage
Successive governments have failed to meet the housing needs of an increasing population. Of the 140,000 homes due to be built this year, 80,000 will be absorbed by population growth, exacerbated by immigration, so at best only 60,000 will begin to address the current chronic shortage. …
UKIP is the only party being realistic about what can be done to increase the housing supply and putting forward a viable solution: a bold policy to roll out high quality, low cost factory-built modular (FBM) homes, affordable on the national average wage of £26,000. …
HOW UKIP’S MODULAR HOMES BUILDING SCHEME WILL WORK
… UKIP’s proposal will bring up to 100,000 extra truly affordable homes onto the market every year. Combined with a traditional home building programme, we could build another one million homes by 2022. In addition, the FBM model would also make it feasible to deliver substantial numbers of new Council houses that have been promised, while traditional methods do not.
A REVIEW OF HOUSING ASSOCIATIONS
… Housing associations manage 60 per cent of the socially rented sector and have received £23 billion of Government funding in the past 14 years, but UKIP is not convinced they are benefiting either tenants or the taxpayer. We will launch a review into their operation.
18 Defending our National Health Service
… NHS Trusts are in deficit to the tune of £2.5 billion… UKIP will provide NHS England with an additional £9 billion a year by 2021/22. An additional £2 billion for social care will fully utilise the savings we will make from the foreign aid budget.
GIVING NURSES THE RESPECT AND RECOGNITION THEY DESERVE
… We will discontinue the one per cent pay increase cap for frontline NHS workers earning less than £35,000 (Band 6).
REMOVING BARRIERS BETWEEN THE NHS AND SOCIAL CARE
35,000 bed days are lost every month because of delayed transfers of care, and legal barriers can make it difficult to pass information between the two systems. …
A NATIONAL, NOT AN INTERNATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE
Treating those ineligible for care costs British taxpayers around £2 billion every year. …
ACCOUNTABLE MANAGEMENT
… We will limit the amount that can be spent on an external management consultancy contract to £50,000. The annual £589 million cost is far too high.
BANNING LABOUR’S DODGY NHS DEALS
… These Private Finance Initiative (PFI) deals financed £11.8 billion worth of new build but will ultimately cost the NHS £79 billion. 75 per cent of the syndicates involved are based offshore, so they do not even pay UK taxes on these enormous profits. …
21 Britain’s Challenging Mental Health Crisis
… UKIP will increase planned spending on mental health services by at least £500 million every year. This sum could fund 6,000 clinical psychologists to see 500,000 more adults and young people every year. …
CHALLENGING MEDIA STEREOTYPES
Elsewhere in this manifesto we condemn alien practices that oppress women, but we are not blind to our own failings. The ‘lad culture,’ which treats young women as sex objects and the ‘red circle of shame’ in celebrity magazines that hold women to unattainable levels of physical perfection are just two examples. Boys too are increasingly developing eating disorders and body image issues. …
ON-THE-JOB EDUCATION
To give students a head start into a job, UKIP will introduce a scheme similar to Germany’s Dual Vocational Training system, in which students attend classes at a vocational school and receive on-the-job training at a company. …
RIGHTING WRONGS IN HIGHER EDUCATION
… The politically motivated decision to increase university places has deceived and blighted a generation. UKIP will stop paying tuition fees for courses which do not lead at least two thirds of students into a graduate level job, or a job corresponding to their degree, within five years after graduation. …
24 A Brighter Future for Our Next Generation
27 Caring for Young Children; Supporting Families
29 Meeting our Responsibilities to the Elderly and the Disabled
GROWING OLD TOGETHER
The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services calculates £4.6 billion has been cut from social care budgets since 2010. The number of adults eligible to receive social care has plummeted by 28 per cent. …
…6,800 such patients every day cannot be discharged, so ambulances queue up outside A&E and planned operations are cancelled. This inefficiency costs the NHS approximately £1 billion a year, and it could get worse. …
Last year, research by BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours found 59 home care companies had already handed unprofitable contracts back to local authorities, and that one in four care homes may go out of business within three years. The Better Care Fund was supposed to improve liaison between the NHS and local councils and ease pressure on hospitals, but the Public Accounts Committee found it was ‘little more than a ruse.’ The freedom to raise council tax by two per cent to fund adult social care is of least help to councils in the poorest areas, who have less income from council tax, but the most pressing care needs.
The only answer is to reverse the cuts to care budgets. UKIP will put back money the Conservatives have removed, investing up to £2 billion every year into social care. …
INVESTING IN DEMENTIA RESEARCH AND TREATMENT
PROTECTING CARE AT HOME
In January, campaigning organisation Disability United exposed clauses in Continuing Healthcare policies that stated home-based care would only be provided if costs do not exceed residential placement costs by a certain percentage, generally ten percent. …
AN END TO UNFAIR BENEFIT CUTS
ENDING THE INJUSTICE OF PERSONAL INDEPENDENCE PAYMENTS
Personal Independence Payments, or PIPs, are replacing the Disability Living Allowance (DLA). Without a PIP, disabled people cannot access other benefits such as Carer’s Allowance or the charitable Motability scheme to get a powered wheelchair or accessible car. …
Some 300 people a day who have their benefits cut following reassessments are appealing against these new decisions, at a cost of £1 million a week to the taxpayer. They are right to appeal, as six out of ten appeals are successful, but while they await the outcome of their appeals, many are falling into debt, and have vital support or equipment taken away from them. 50,000 people have had accessible vehicles removed since PIPs were introduced. …
32 Fair, Balanced Migration
LABOUR’S GREATEST FOLLY
TORY IMMIGRATION FAILURE
BALANCED NET MIGRATION OVER FIVE YEARS
UKIP will establish a Migration Control Commission and set a target to reduce net migration to zero, over a five-year period. …
FAIR, EQUITABLE IMMIGRATION
To make immigration fair and equitable, we will introduce a new Australian-style points-based system, and a work permit system. Both will apply equally to all applicants, save for citizens of the Republic of Ireland, with whom we will maintain our current arrangements.
To give working class people in particular a chance to find employment, we will place a moratorium on unskilled and low-skilled immigration for five years after we leave the EU.
We will also operate a seasonal worker scheme based on six-month visas to support those sectors, such as agriculture…
A NEW INTERNATIONAL VISA SYSTEM
1. WORK VISAS
Highly skilled workers with a job offer sponsored by companies paying them a minimum of £30,000 per annum will have priority.
2. TOURIST AND VISITOR VISAS
…for up to twelve months.
3. STUDENT VISAS
4. FAMILY REUNION VISAS
We respect the right of British citizens to form relationships with non-British citizens; however, we will abolish the European Economic Area (EEA) family permit scheme and reinstate the primary purpose rule. …
ACCESS TO WELFARE AND THE NHS
All new migrants to Britain will be expected to make tax and national insurance contributions for at least five consecutive years before they become eligible to claim UK benefits, or access non-urgent NHS services, save for any exceptions stipulated by the Migration Control Commission, or if reciprocal healthcare arrangements are in place with their country of origin. All new entrants to the UK must have and maintain comprehensive private medical insurance for the duration of their stay, as a condition of their visa.
BRITISH CITIZENSHIP
Those arriving on Work Visas may apply for British citizenship after five years, provided they have worked, paid tax here, and maintained their medical insurance throughout that time. …
THE RIGHTS OF EU NATIONALS
UKIP will allow law-abiding EU citizens living in the UK before Article 50 was triggered the right to stay here indefinitely. We expect the same concession to be granted to British citizens living overseas within the EU.
EU nationals who entered the UK after 29th March 2017 will not have the automatic right to remain…
35 Britain United Under One Law for All
ONE LAW FOR ALL
EQUAL RIGHTS FOR ALL WOMEN
STANDING UP FOR WOMEN IN MINORITY COMMUNITIES
FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION
OTHER ‘CULTURAL’ CRIMES
SHOW YOUR FACE IN A PUBLIC PLACE
ENDING ISLAMIST EXTREMISM IN OUR SCHOOLS
39 Policing, Prison, Punishment
… Our approach to criminality contrasts starkly with that of the other parties. As Home Secretary, Theresa May was soft on crime. She went the way of the Labour party, putting the human rights of offenders before those of their victims, tiptoeing around even the most hardened criminals, instead of concentrating on protecting the public. …
… We will train and deploy 20,000 more police and employ 7,000 more prison officers.
STOP AND SEARCH
In 2014, Theresa May weakened Stop and Search, saying it was undermining relations with ethnic minority communities. UKIP warned this would lead to an increase in knife crime and, sadly, we have been proved right. …
THE 2003 LICENSING ACT
This Act relaxed opening hours for pubs, bars and clubs and increased the number of establishments able to serve alcohol. The social consequences have not resembled the ‘continental-style café culture’ Tony Blair claimed it would. A survey of emergency workers carried out in 2015 by the Institute of Alcohol Studies revealed 52 per cent of paramedics, 42 per cent of A&E doctors and three-quarters of police officers have been attacked in the course of their duties by people who were intoxicated. …
42 Britain’s New Role in the World
… UKIP will work constructively with President Trump. We value the special relationship between the UK and the US, and do not believe gesture politics from establishment politicians seeking to demonstrate their disapproval of his administration is helpful to our national interest. The values shared between the US and the UK will always outlast individual political administrations in either country. We are confident the Trump administration’s positive attitude to Britain will lead to a swift free trade agreement bolstering our common interests. …
UKIP supports the recent tradition of consulting parliament before our forces are committed to combat situations. We are proud of our pro-active role in opposing British participation in the planned bombing of Syria in 2013. …
… We see Russia as a potential important ally in the struggle against Islamist terror, and believe Russia should immerse itself in global rules-based relationships instead of seeming to glory in renegade status within the international community.
44 Defending Our Nation, Supporting Our Veterans
REBUILDING OUR ARMED FORCES
US President Theodore Roosevelt said the key to success in foreign policy was to “speak softly but carry a big stick.” In the modern era, British politicians have all too often shouted loudly while carrying a matchstick. …
THE ARMY
THE ROYAL NAVY
THE ROYAL AIR FORCE
A GENUINE COMMITMENT TO OUR NATO OBLIGATIONS
DEFENCE PROCUREMENT …
47 Trade, Not Aid
ETHICAL TRADE WILL ERADICATE POVERTY
… African farmers, for example, may export raw cocoa beans to the EU without paying any tariffs, but if they want to export chocolate, tariffs are high. It is the same with coffee. In 2014, the whole of Africa made just under £1.6 billion from raw coffee bean exports, but Germany alone made £2.6 billion just by exporting roasted beans, despite not growing a single coffee crop. …
THE WORLD IS OUR OYSTER
Of all the insults thrown at the Leave campaign by the Remain camp, one of the most ludicrous was the ‘little Englanders’ taunt. The polar opposite is true: those who voted for Brexit could see a brighter, more global and economically successful future outside the confines of a contracting and ever-more protectionist EU.
For decades our EU membership has been a factor in our diluted economic growth, flat-lining wages, and diminishing influence on the world stage. In future, we shall have wider and easier access to overseas markets. For British consumers, choice will increase, prices will fall, and we will not be so reliant upon monopoly suppliers. Increased competition is likely to fuel innovation and offer opportunities for the transfer of expertise and technology, which in turn means more jobs, and a stronger economy.
Leaving the EU is not about becoming ‘little Englanders,’ it is about putting the ‘Great’ back into Great Britain. It is about embracing new trading markets in all seven continents of the globe.
Naturally, we should like to agree a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the EU, and continue to trade on the same basis as at present. As the UK is the EU’s largest single export market, the EU should want to reach a swift and sensible trade deal with us. …
In circumstances where the EU continues to insist Britain pay a huge ‘divorce’ settlement of up to €100 billion, or continues to demand we accept the on-going jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice and allow the free movement of people, trading with the EU within the legal framework of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) would be the far better option. …
OUR TRADE PRINCIPLES
Post-Brexit, UKIP’s aim is to establish the UK on the world market as a low tax, low regulation economy. The UK will contribute to the World Trade Organisation’s aim for trade to flow as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible. We will reduce tariffs wherever possible, unless initiating anti-dumping measures, and oppose the establishment and continuance of protectionist customs unions such as the EU. …
50 Transport: Keeping Britain Moving
UKIP WILL SCRAP
HS2 Rail travel is essential but HS2 is not. This High Speed Rail project is unaffordable, requires massive borrowing, will blight people’s homes, and destroy valuable habitats. Spending £75 billion just to save a few minutes between London and Leeds is ludicrous and, we think, unethical. …
ENDING ROAD TOLLS
DEFENDING DIESEL DRIVERS
SAVING RURAL BUS SERVICES
AIR PASSENGER DUTY
LONDON AIRPORTS AND THE SOUTH EAST
THE BRITDISC
52 Protecting Our Environment
PROTECTING OUR ANCIENT WOODLANDS
Current legislation does not go far enough in protecting natural woodland habitats. We will amend the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) to give ancient woodlands ‘wholly exceptional’ status, putting them on a par with listed buildings, registered parks and gardens, and World Heritage Sites.
Major infrastructure projects will be required to give much more respect to irreplaceable natural habitats. HS2 is a prime example of this: we will scrap HS2 and ensure no infrastructure project will ever again be allowed permission to wreak such catastrophic environmental damage. …
CREATING SMALL GREEN SPACES
GENERAL ELECTION DAY IS WORLD OCEANS DAY
54 Food Production and Animal Welfare
… UKIP will continue to make available to the agriculture sector funds that would normally be paid to them via Brussels. We will introduce a UK Single Farm Payment (SFP) that operates in a similar way to the present EU system.
The major difference will be that UKIP’s SFP will be more ethical. It will end EU discrimination in favour of larger, intensive farms, and support smaller enterprises. Subsidies will be capped at £120,000 per year and, to make sure payments reach farmers, not just wealthy landowners, we will pay only those who actually farm the land.
Anti-Microbial Resistance is a problem for society as a whole. …
56 Our Future Energy Security
… UKIP will repeal the 2008 Climate Change Act and support a diverse energy market based on coal, nuclear, shale gas, conventional gas, oil, solar and hydro, as well as other renewables when they can be delivered at competitive prices. We will also withdraw from the Paris climate agreement and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, to enhance our industrial competitiveness. …
CUTTING DOMESTIC ENERGY PRICES
…2.3 million households are living in fuel poverty, meaning they spend more than 10 per cent of their total income to heat their homes to an adequate standard of warmth.
In addition to removing VAT from domestic fuel and scrapping ‘green’ levies to reduce household bills by an average of £170, we will review the ownership and profits of British utilities and the impact on consumers of steadily rising prices. We will not hesitate to table legislation to address any excesses we uncover. …
CUTTING THE COST OF INTENSIVE ENERGY USE
… Energy policies pursued by Labour and the Tories are arguably increasing global emissions and causing Britain to lose jobs and investment. They have created a lose-lose situation…
INVESTING IN SHALE GAS
58 Real Democracy
PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION
All votes should matter, so we will introduce a voting system that genuinely reflects the will of the people as a whole. In the 2015 general election, UKIP got 12.6 per cent of the vote but only one seat, while the SNP won just 4.7 percent of the national vote but took 56 seats. The current First Past the Post (FPTP) system we use for electing MPs to our national parliament is bad for voters, bad for government, and bad for democracy. …
SCRAP POSTAL VOTING ON DEMAND
ABOLISH THE HOUSE OF LORDS
… The average cost of each peer is £115,000 per year.
A FAIR DEAL FOR ALL FOUR NATIONS
A SMALLER HOUSE OF COMMONS
THE CITIZEN’S INITIATIVE
61 Keeping it Local
… UKIP is the only party to operate a ‘no whip’ system, so our councillors can always vote in the best interests of residents in their wards, because they are not bound by party politics.
We oppose the ‘cabinet’ system of local governance, which puts too much power in the hands of too few people. We advocate a committee system, which brings more openness and transparency, and facilitates cross-party collaborative working. …
UKIP believes in keeping Council Tax as low as possible. …
62 UKIP’s Five Year Fiscal Plan

Wales Into The World: Wales Manifesto – General Election 2017 (PDF)
2-3 Preface
6-7 Democracy
… UKIP believes that existing powers exercised by the EU over agriculture; fisheries; environment; and transport should pass to the National Assembly for Wales. We also want to see control over business taxes including rates and corporation tax devolved to Wales.
UKIP also recognises the cost of government bureaucracy has grown to levels unimaginable in 1999 when the National Assembly for Wales first came into being. The “Yes” campaign stated the annual cost of devolution to Wales would be in the range of £10-20million. In reality the cost of Welsh Assembly and Welsh Government administration has swelled to nearly £500million annually. In addition, Wales has retained twenty-two local authorities, each employing a highly-paid management team headed by a Chief Executive earning, in some cases, more than the Prime Minister. …
8-9 Economy
… Wales has been totally abandoned by mainstream politics. For many life can be tough. Many of our communities offer no stable decent work and, outside Cardiff, the idea of a metropolitan utopia that offers highly-paid professional careers is an alien concept to most. … UKIP would:
1. Raise the personal allowance to £13,500 so people can earn enough money to cover their basic living costs before they have to pay income tax. This will take those on minimum wage out of tax altogether.
2. Raise the threshold for paying 40% income tax to £55,000.
3. Ensure Brexit negotiations give us complete control over VAT. This means we can, and will, remove VAT completely from hot takeaway food, sanitary products and energy bills.
4. Restore British tax sovereignty, which we lost when we signed-up to the EU. We will end the practice of businesses paying tax in whichever EU or associated country they choose. Our membership of the EU enables companies to avoid paying some UK taxes with impunity and we will close this loophole.
5. Establish a Treasury Commission to monitor the effectiveness of measures designed to reduce tax avoidance and recommend further measures necessary to prevent large multinational corporations using aggressive tax avoidance schemes.
6. Support the devolution of Business Rates and Corporation Tax to the National Assembly for Wales. UKIP want to grow the Welsh economy and create a business-friendly environment which produces high-paying jobs for this and future generations. We need to move away from a publicsector and subsidy-based economy. We need a vibrant private sector. We need our own silicon valleys in Wales.
7. Allow the National Assembly for Wales to lower taxes on business, particularly in areas such as the Welsh valleys and deindustrialised communities. The focus would be on bringing investment to Wales. Investment in new high-tech jobs and skills.
10-11 Education
12-13 Energy
2. Support innovations such as the tidal lagoon project proposed for Swansea Bay. This offers a great opportunity for Wales and the wider UK. It is truly British in nature and is an example of UK design and innovation at its best. UKIP would give this pilot project the green-light to proceed to the build-stage and work with the industry to see its potential maximised across the UK.
14-15 Farming & Fishing
1. Introduce suitable and sustainable funding for farming, financed by the £10 billion annual savings from Britain’s membership of the European Union. For every £5 UK agriculture receives from the EU, British taxpayers have already contributed £10.
2. Support hill farming, a sector of the industry dominant throughout Wales. Hill farmers should receive additional headage payments on livestock within World Trade Organisation rules.
5. Oppose any move towards greater restrictions on cattle movements, which are already some of the strictest throughout Europe. It is our view that a new approach should be established to deal with the threat of Bovine TB by adhering to the advice offered by the British Veterinary Association and farming unions.
16-17 Health
…we do not believe a public service should have a monopoly on public expenditure to the detriment of all other services. The NHS cannot be a monetary black hole and the managers appointed to run it should not be permitted to continue to blame their failure to perform on a lack of funding. …namely that a scandalous proportion of NHS resources are being swallowed up by senior doctors and managers earning, in some cases, as much as £375,000 per year in overtime alone. …
18-19 Housing
1. Incentivise local development, bringing brownfield sites and derelict homes back in to use, so that they can be released for affordable housing.
3. Encourage new and innovative ways of building affordable homes, such as modular housing units, and houses built using sustainable materials.
4. Prioritise local people when allocating council and social housing. …
6. Scrap the punitive fees charged by letting and management agents so that tenants who choose to rent a home are better able to afford to do so.
8. Ensure developers create adequately-sized homes with parking provision and room to live. …
20-21 Security
UKIP believes that security should be the number one priority of any government. Sadly though, other parties disagree. For years police forces have seen their budgets slashed in real-terms and struggling to cope under pressure from an increased threat of terrorism, extremism and anti-social behaviour.
Of course, security is not solely the responsibility of our brilliant police officers, but jointly shared with the MOD, the security & intelligence services, HMRC and the Border Force. The introduction of highlypoliticised Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) has also failed to improve policing as intended. The argument that PCCs have a democratic mandate is also challengeable, considering that all Welsh PCCs were elected on turnouts of less than 50% of the electorate. …
22-23 Trade
Wales exported more to the EU than it imported in 2015. Wales does not need EU membership to trade with it. Moreover, Wales does not need a trade agreement with the EU in order to trade with it. The USA, China, Japan, India, Brazil and Russia are amongst the top ten exporters to the EU but they are not shackled to an agreement with it. They successfully trade directly by proactively using their seat at the WTO.
UKIP fully supports the UK reactivating its seat at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), where we can negotiate as a free and independent member unshackled from the EU. This will enable us to establish free trade agreements across the globe in the best interests of Wales and the UK. It will also enable the UK to work directly with the WTO, where necessary, to prevent vexatious actions by potential trading partners.
Less than 12.5% of the UK economy is accounted for by trade with the EU. Only 5% of UK businesses trade with the EU; the other 95% trade within the UK or outside of the EU. However, 100% of Welsh businesses will be shackled to EU regulations if we remain in the EU and may still be shackled to them if it signs up to a poorly negotiated variant of EFTA or EEA membership.
Wales does not need to accept free movement of people, nor any modified variant advocated by the Labour-Plaid Coalition of Losers’ recent white paper, to trade with the EU or access EU markets. Indeed, of the four existing EFTA countries, only two – Norway and Iceland – kept a free movement of people clause. The other two EFTA countries, including Switzerland, are not currently committed to any such clause. …
…it would be in the interests of many of the EU countries who export to the UK, to negotiate a bespoke agreement to reduce the unfavourable tariffs that they may otherwise be left with.
24-25 Transport
… This is only likely to get worse as our population increases and we lack a credible national plan for road improvement. …
… Anyone who travels to Europe, North America or Asia would know how much cheaper and more reliable passenger travel is outside of the UK. …

UKIP, GreenParty

——- Green Party The Green Guarantee – The Green Party For A Confident And Caring Britain – (PDF pages / various formats)
4 / A GREEN ECONOMY THAT WORKS FOR EVERYONE
• Take steps towards the introduction of a universal basic income, including a government sponsored pilot scheme, as a means to increase security and avoid the poverty trap.
• Reduce the gap between the highest and lowest paid, and increase the minimum wage to reach a genuine living wage of £10 an hour by 2020.
• End the gender pay gap, and require a minimum 40% of all members of public company and public sector boards to be women.
• Reform taxation to include a wealth tax on the top 1% of earners, investing in more staff at HMRC so they can work more effectively, and reinstate the higher level of corporation tax for large businesses.
• A Robin Hood tax on high value transactions in the finance sector, and inheritance taxed according to the wealth of the recipient.
• A phased in abolition of the cap on employees’ national insurance so that the wealthiest pay more.
• Support and promote small businesses, co-operatives and mutuals, and the roll out of high speed broadband.
6 / PROTECTING OUR ENVIRONMENT
• A public works programme of insulation to make every home warm and investing in flood defences and natural flood management to make every community safer.
• Active ongoing cooperation with businesses and other countries to limit global temperature increases to well below 2 degrees and aiming for 1.5 degrees.
• Introduce a one-off fine on car manufacturers who cheated the emissions testing regime and create a new Clean Air Act, expanding and funding a mandatory clean air zone network.
• Strong protection for the Green Belt, National Parks, SSSIs and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
• Tough action to reduce plastic and other waste, including the introduction of Deposit Return Schemes, with a zero waste target.
8 / MEMBERSHIP OF THE EU
• A referendum on the detail of whatever deal is negotiated for Britain’s departure from the EU, with the option to reject the deal and remain in the EU.
• Protect freedom of movement, press for remaining within the single market, and safeguard vital rights for people and the environment.
• Immediately guarantee the rights of EU citizens to remain in the UK and urgently seek reciprocal arrangements for UK citizens in the EU.
10 / OUR NHS AND PUBLIC SERVICES
• Roll back privatisation of the NHS to ensure that all health and dental services are always publicly provided and funded, and free at the point of access, via the introduction of an NHS Reinstatement Act. Scrap NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plans.
• Close the NHS spending gap and provide an immediate cash injection, to ensure everyone can access a GP, hospitals can run properly, and staff are fairly paid.
• Bring energy, water, railways, buses, the Royal Mail and care work back into public ownership to give communities real control of the public services that has been lost over the past 30 years.
• Increase funding for local authorities so they can provide good quality public services and invest in our communities, creating thousands of jobs. A single budget covering health and social services, to make life easier for people who need to access several types of service.
12 / EDUCATION FOR ALL
• Bring Academies and Free Schools into the local authority system, abolish SATS and reduce class sizes.
• Scrap university tuition fees, fund full student grants and greater public investment in further and higher education.
• Restore Education Maintenance Allowance and enable apprenticeships to all qualified young people aged 16-25.
• Address the crisis of teacher workload, with measures such as abolishing Ofsted, and reforming the curriculum so that it is pupil-centred, freeing up teachers to teach.
14 / OUR PROMISE TO YOUNG PEOPLE
• Protect young people’s housing needs by reinstating housing benefit for under-21s, stop Local Authorities declaring young people “intentionally homeless”, and invest in community house-building projects to provide affordable, secure housing options for young people.
• … Guarantee the rights of young people to study, work, live and travel in the EU, including through schemes like Erasmus.
• Reject the xenophobic Prevent strategy and pursue community-led collaborative approaches to tackling all forms of extremism instead.
• …removing VAT from sanitary products and ensuring that they are provided free of charge to those in extreme financial need.
• Enable every young person to take an active role in democracy, introducing non-biased political education and promoting active citizenship, as well as lowering the voting age to 16.
16 / A PLACE TO CALL HOME
• Giving tenants a voice by supporting the development of renters’ unions.
• A major programme to build affordable, zero carbon homes, including 100,000 social rented homes each year by 2022.
• End mass council house sales and scrap Right to Buy at discounted prices.
• Abolish the cruel and unfair bedroom tax.
• Action on empty homes to bring them back into use and a trial of a Land Value Tax to encourage the use of vacant land and reduce speculation.
• Help first-time buyers by aiming for house price stability – axing buy-to-let tax breaks, and backing community-led approaches to building affordable homes.
• Significantly improve housing choice for D/deaf, disabled and older people by requiring all councils to appropriately plan for their housing needs…
18 / A SAFER WORLD
• Cancel Trident replacement, saving at least £110 billion over the next 30 years.
• Increase the overseas aid budget from 0.7% of GDP to 1.0% of GDP.
20 / A CITIZENS’ DEMOCRACY
• Introduce proportional representation (PR) for parliamentary and local elections, and votes at 16.
• Increase diversity in representative politics, with job-shares, a 50/50 Parliament, and replacing the House of Lords with an elected second chamber.
• Defend the Human Rights Act and UK membership of the European Convention on Human Rights, and reinstate funding for the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
• Action to tackle racism and discrimination on the basis of faith or disability, real equality for LGBTIQA+ people, equal rights for mixed gender couples to have a Civil Partnership.
• Give power to local communities by allowing for 40% of the local electorate to secure a referendum on local government decisions or to recall their MP.
• End the sale of personal data, such as health or tax records, for commercial or other ends.
• Protect the BBC and tighten the rules on media ownership so no individual or company owns more than 20% of a media market, protecting against anyone having too much influence or undermining democracy.
• Give Parliament a vote on any new trade deals.
• Revive the role of democratic trade unions.
• Enable every young person to take an active role in democracy, introducing non-biased political education and promoting active citizenship.
22 / A PEOPLE’S TRANSPORT SYSTEM
• Return the railways to public ownership and re-regulate buses, investing in increased bus services especially in rural and other poorly served areas.
• All public transport should be fully accessible and step-free with a phase-in of free local public transport for young people, students, people with disabilities, and older people.
• Invest in regional rail links and electrification of existing rail lines, especially in the South West and North of England, rather than wasting money on HS2 and the national major roads programme.
• Cancel all airport expansion and end subsidies on airline fuel.
Invest in low traffic neighbourhoods and safe, convenient networks of routes for walking and cycling…
• Help end the public health crisis caused by air pollution by increasing incentives to take diesel vehicles off the roads.


UK Vol.87 (Post-EUref #Brexit Vol.16: 2017 General Election – Conservative Party Manifesto)

Here is FORWARD TOGETHER: THE CONSERVATIVE MANIFESTO (issuu or PDF) in May 2017. Excerpts are on our own.

FOREWORD pp.4-5
…build a Great Meritocracy…

FIVE GIANT CHALLENGES pp.6-10
Strong and stable leadership
… Despite predictions of immediate financial and economic danger, we have seen confidence remain high, record numbers of jobs and economic growth that has exceeded all expectations. …
Five giant challenges
1. The need for a strong economy.
2. Brexit and a changing world.
3. Enduring social divisions.
4. An ageing society.
5. Fast-changing technology.
Governing from the mainstream
… Rather than pursue an agenda based on a supposed centre ground defined and established by elites in Westminster, we will govern in the interests of the mainstream of the British public. We will get on with the job and take Britain out of the European Union. …
…there will be no ideological crusades. …
We will govern in the interests of ordinary, working families
We believe in the good that government can do
… If we want to overcome Britain’s enduring social divisions, we will need to give people real opportunity and make Britain the world’s Great Meritocracy. That will require government to take on long-ignored problems like Britain’s lack of training and technical education, as well as long-lasting injustices…
Our principles
… Because Conservatism is not and never has been the philosophy described by caricaturists. We do not believe in untrammelled free markets. We reject the cult of selfish individualism. We abhor social division, injustice, unfairness and inequality. We see rigid dogma and ideology not just as needless but dangerous.
True Conservatism means a commitment to country and community; a belief not just in society but in the good that government can do; a respect for the local and national institutions that bind us together…
A vision of a stronger Britain and a prosperous future

1. A STRONG ECONOMY THAT WORKS FOR EVERYONE pp.11-27
p.12 Summary
p.13 A strong economy is the basis for everything we want to achieve as a nation.
pp.13-16 THE FOUNDATIONS OF A STRONG ECONOMY
Sound money and responsible public finances are the essential foundations of national economic success.
Keeping taxes as low as possible
Paying your fair share of tax is the price of living in a civilised democracy but politicians should never forget that taxes are levied on businesses that employ people, and individuals who work hard and face tough decisions about how they spend their money. …
By 2020, we will, as promised, increase the personal allowance to £12,500 and the higher rate to £50,000. We will continue to ensure that local residents can veto high increases in Council Tax via a referendum. And we will not increase the level of Value Added Tax.
Corporation Tax is due to fall to seventeen per cent by 2020 – the lowest rate of any developed economy – and we will stick to that plan, because it will help to bring huge investment and many thousands of jobs to the UK. …
Increasing trade
…we want to negotiate a new deep and special partnership with the EU, which will allow free trade between the UK and the EU’s member states. As part of the agreement we strike, we want to make sure that there are as few barriers to trade and investment as possible. Leaving the European Union also means we will be free to strike our own trade agreements with countries outside the EU.
We will ensure immediate stability by lodging new UK schedules with the World Trade Organization, in alignment with EU schedules to which we are bound whilst still a member of the European Union. …
We will create a network of Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioners to head nine new regional overseas posts. These commissioners will lead export promotion, investment and trade policy overseas. We will reconvene the Board of Trade with a membership specifically charged with ensuring that we increase exports from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as England, and that trade policy is directly influenced by every part of our United Kingdom. …
Effective regulation
…we will continue to regulate more efficiently, saving £9 billion through the Red Tape Challenge and the One-In-Two-Out Rule.
… We will therefore examine ways in which the regulation of utilities and transport infrastructure can be improved to deliver a better deal for customers and sharper incentives for investment efficiency.

pp.16-18 NEW RULES FOR A CHANGING ECONOMY
Conservatives believe that if you value something, you must be prepared to reform it in order to conserve it.
Guaranteeing a decent wage
…now receive a minimum of £7.50 an hour. A new Conservative government will continue to increase the National Living Wage to 60 per cent of median earnings by 2020 and then by the rate of median earnings…
Rights and protections in the ‘gig’ economy
…the government commissioned Matthew Taylor, the chief executive of the Royal Society of Arts, to review the changing labour market. We await his final report but a new Conservative government will act to ensure that the interests of employees on traditional contracts, the self-employed and those people working in the ‘gig’ economy are all properly protected.
Stopping tax evasion
… We will improve HMRC’s capabilities to stamp down on smuggling, including by improving our policing of the border as we leave the European Union. We will also take further measures to reduce online fraud in Value Added Tax.
Protecting private pensions
… A Conservative government will act to tighten the rules against such abuse, and increase the punishment for those caught mismanaging pension schemes. We will build on existing powers to give pension schemes and the Pensions Regulator the right to scrutinise, clear with conditions or in extreme cases stop mergers, takeovers or large financial commitments that threaten the solvency of the scheme. …
Reforming rules on takeovers and mergers
… We shall also take action to protect our critical national infrastructure. We will ensure that foreign ownership of companies controlling important infrastructure does not undermine British security or essential services. We have already strengthened ministerial scrutiny and control in respect of civil nuclear power and will take a similarly robust approach across a limited range of other sectors, such as telecoms, defence and energy.
Fair corporate pay
… Senior corporate pay has risen far faster than corporate performance, and the gap between those paid most and those paid least has grown from 47:1 in 1998 to 128:1 in 2015.
The next Conservative government will legislate to make executive pay packages subject to strict annual votes by shareholders and listed companies will have to publish the ratio of executive pay to broader UK workforce pay. …
Better corporate governance
… To ensure employees’ interests are represented at board level, we will change the law to ensure that listed companies will be required either to nominate a director from the workforce, create a formal employee advisory council or assign specific responsibility for employee representation to a designated non-executive director. …

pp.18-24 A MODERN INDUSTRIAL STRATEGY
Our modern industrial strategy is designed to deliver a stronger economy that works for everyone – where wealth and opportunity are spread across every community in the United Kingdom, not just the most prosperous places in London and the south east.
… We will spend more on research and development, to turn brilliant discoveries into practical products and transform the world’s industries – such as the batteries that will power a new generation of clean, efficient, electric vehicles. … We will build on the success of world-beating sectors such as car and aero manufacturing, financial services, life sciences, digital technology and our creative industries… We will deliver the infrastructure – the road, rail, airports and broadband – that businesses need.
Increasing innovation
University investment funds
National Productivity Investment Fund
…a new £23 billion… This will include £740 million of digital infrastructure investment, the largest investment in railways since Victorian times, £1.1 billion to improve local transport and £250 million in skills by the end of 2020. …will take total spending on housing, economic infrastructure and R&D to £170 billion during the next parliament.
Future Britain funds
…backing British infrastructure and the British economy. We anticipate early funds being created out of revenues from shale gas extraction, dormant assets, and the receipts of sale of some public assets. …
The skills we need
… We will therefore ask the independent Migration Advisory Committee to make recommendations to the government about how the visa system can become better aligned with our modern industrial strategy. …
…we will double the Immigration Skills Charge levied on companies employing migrant workers, to £2,000 a year by the end of the parliament, using the revenue generated to invest in higher level skills training for workers in the UK.
Backing small businesses
The Conservative Party is the party of enterprise and of the entrepreneur. …
…we will ensure that 33 per cent of central government purchasing will come from SMEs by the end of the parliament. …
…we will use our buying power to ensure that big contractors comply with the Prompt Payment Code both on government contracts and in their work with others. …
Supporting industries to succeed
Our modern industrial strategy is not about ‘planning’ the economy. …
…advanced manufacturing, such as aero and automotive engineering…
Other industries, like the oil and gas sector, are transforming. The North Sea has provided more than £300 billion in tax revenue to the UK economy and supports thousands of highly-skilled jobs across Britain. …
… Life sciences, for example, employs 175,000 people and many of the world’s top medicines have been developed in the UK. We will continue to support research into the diagnosis and treatment of rare cancers and other diseases, including Genomics England’s work in decoding 100,000 genomes. …
Competitive and affordable energy costs
… Our ambition is that the UK should have the lowest energy costs in Europe, both for households and businesses. So as we upgrade our energy infrastructure…
A diverse energy mix
…while we do not believe that more large-scale onshore wind power is right for England, we will maintain our position as a global leader in offshore wind and support the development of wind projects in the remote islands of Scotland, where they will directly benefit local communities.
Natural gas from shale
We will set up a new Shale Environmental Regulator, which will assume the relevant functions of the Health and Safety Executive, the Environment Agency and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. This will provide clear governance and accountability, become a source of expertise, and allow decisions to be made fairly but swiftly.
Finally, we will change the proposed Shale Wealth Fund so a greater percentage of the tax revenues from shale gas directly benefit the communities that host the extraction sites. …
Investing in transport
We are working through one of the largest-ever investment programmes in our roads and railways, putting some £40 billion into transport improvements…
…our programme of strategic national investments, including High Speed 2, Northern Powerhouse Rail and the expansion of Heathrow Airport…
… We want almost every car and van to be zero-emission by 2050 – and will invest £600 million by 2020 to help achieve it. …

pp.24-27 STRONGER COMMUNITIES FROM A STRONGER ECONOMY
Prosperous towns and cities across Britain
… We will hold a Great Exhibition of the North in 2018, to celebrate amazing achievements in innovation, the arts and engineering. We will support a UK city in making a bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games. And in this 70th Anniversary Year of the Edinburgh Festival we will support the development of the new Edinburgh Concert Hall, reaffirming Edinburgh as the UK’s leading festival city and a cultural beacon around the globe.
Our countryside communities
… We will help Natural England to expand their provision of technical expertise to farmers to deliver environmental improvements on a landscape scale, from enriching soil fertility to planting hedgerows and building dry stone walls. …
We will continue to take action to improve animal welfare. We will implement our proposed reforms on pet sales and licensing and will make CCTV recording in slaughterhouses mandatory. …
…decide the future of the Hunting Act.
…a comprehensive 25 Year Environment Plan…
Our coastal communities
… To provide complete legal certainty to our neighbours and clarity during our negotiations with the European Union, we will withdraw from the London Fisheries Convention…

2. A STRONG AND UNITED NATION IN A CHANGING WORLD pp.29-45
p.30 Summary
p.31 The United Kingdom is embarking upon another era in our centuries-old story.
pp.31-35 OUR PRECIOUS UNION
We are a United Kingdom, one nation made of four – the most successful political union in modern history.
England
Scotland
…the 2012 and 2016 Scotland Acts…
… The United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union but some would disrupt our attempts to get the best deal for Scotland and the United Kingdom with calls for a divisive referendum that the people of Scotland do not want. We have been very clear that now is not the time for another referendum on independence. In order for a referendum to be fair, legal and decisive, it cannot take place until the Brexit process has played out and it should not take place unless there is public consent for it to happen. This is a time to pull together, not apart. …
… Building on the City and Growth deals we have signed across Scotland, we will bring forward a Borderlands Growth Deal, including all councils on both sides of the border, to help secure prosperity in southern Scotland. We will protect the interests of Scottish farmers and fishermen…
Wales
…The 2017 Wales Act…
… We will build on the Cardiff Capital region and Swansea Bay City region deals, and bring forward a North Wales Growth Deal… …such as linking economic development between Cardiff, Newport and Bristol. …
…S4C…the Welsh language…
Northern Ireland
…the 1998 Belfast Agreement…
A Conservative government will continue to work for the full implementation of the 2014 Stormont House and 2015 Fresh Start Agreements. This includes new bodies for addressing the legacy of the past in fair, balanced and proportionate ways which do not unfairly focus on former members of the Armed Forces and the Royal Ulster Constabulary. …
Shared institutions of Union
United Kingdom Shared Prosperity Fund

pp.35-37 LEAVING THE EUROPEAN UNION
… In her Lancaster House Speech, the prime minister laid out the twelve principles she intends to follow in seeking a new deep and special partnership with the European Union. We have explained our approach in the White Paper on the United Kingdom’s Exit from, and a new relationship with, the European Union, during the passage of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act, in the prime minister’s letter to the president of the European Council invoking Article 50, and in the Great Repeal Bill White Paper.
Repatriating EU law to the United Kingdom
…the rights of workers and protections given to consumers and the environment by EU law will continue to be available in UK law at the point at which we leave the EU. … Once EU law has been converted into domestic law, parliament will be able to pass legislation to amend, repeal or improve any piece of EU law it chooses, as will the devolved legislatures, where they have the power to do so.
… We will not bring the European Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights into UK law. We will not repeal or replace the Human Rights Act while the process of Brexit is underway but we will consider our human rights legal framework when the process of leaving the EU concludes. We will remain signatories to the European Convention on Human Rights for the duration of the next parliament.

pp.37-41 GLOBAL BRITAIN
… We will continue to champion British values around the globe: freedom, democracy, tolerance and the rule of law. …
British leadership in international institutions
Global partnerships and alliances
…our proposed deep and special partnership with the European Union… …our existing special relationship with the United States… …our close links with our Commonwealth allies…
A global champion of free trade
Promoting British culture around the world
Leading the world in development
…we will maintain the commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of our gross national income on assistance to developing nations and international emergencies.
Reforming asylum
… Wherever possible, the government will offer asylum and refuge to people in parts of the world affected by conflict and oppression, rather than to those who have made it to Britain. We will work to reduce asylum claims made in Britain and, as we do so, increase the number of people we help in the most troubled regions. We will continue to work with other countries in Europe, and the United Nations, to review the international legal definitions of asylum and refugee status. …
Protecting the global environment
…the Paris Agreement. We were the first country to introduce a Climate Change Act, which Conservatives helped to frame, and we are halfway towards meeting our 2050 goal of reducing emissions by eighty per cent from 1990 levels.
… We will work with our Overseas Territory governments to create a Blue Belt of marine protection in their precious waters, establishing the largest marine sanctuaries anywhere in the world.
Modern slavery
… As home secretary, Theresa May brought forward the Modern Slavery Act, the first of its kind in Europe, appointed the world’s first anti-slavery commissioner and set up the Modern Slavery Taskforce to bring together the heads of MI5, MI6 and the National Crime Agency to coordinate our response to criminal gangs operating across the world. …

pp.41-42 STRONG DEFENCE IN AN UNCERTAIN WORLD
… We will retain the Trident continuous-at-sea nuclear deterrent to provide the ultimate guarantee of our security.
We have the biggest defence budget in Europe and the second largest in NATO. We will continue to meet the NATO commitment to spend at least 2 per cent of GDP on defence and we will increase the defence budget by at least 0.5 per cent above inflation in every year of the new parliament.
The finest servicemen and women
… Under a Conservative government, British troops will in future be subject to the Law of Armed Conflict, which includes the Geneva Convention and UK Service Law, not the European Court of Human Rights. We will strengthen legal services regulation and restrict legal aid for unscrupulous law firms that issue vexatious legal claims against the armed forces. …
The best equipment for our armed forces
We plan to invest £178 billion in new military equipment over the next decade, creating high-skilled jobs across the whole country. For the first time in a generation the Royal Navy is growing. …
…HMS Queen Elizabeth…HMS Prince of Wales… Alongside our new Type 45 destroyers, we will build eight Type 26 anti-submarine frigates… We shall also deliver five Offshore Patrol Vessels.
For the Army we will deliver AJAX armoured vehicles, Apache attack helicopters, new drones, new missile and bomb systems, and better equipment for the Special Forces. The Royal Air Force will receive, with the Fleet Air Arm, the Lightning II strike fighter, as well as new Maritime Patrol Aircraft. …
Supporting our veterans
…the Armed Forces Covenant. …a one year holiday on Employer National Insurance Contributions… …a Veterans Board in the Cabinet Office.

pp.42-45 THE HOME OF DEMOCRACY AND THE RULE OF LAW
…collective faith in our democratic institutions and our justice system has declined in the past two decades. …
A flourishing and secure democracy
… We will continue with the current boundary review, enshrining the principle of equal seats, while reducing the number of MPs to 600, similar to other Western democratic chambers. We will retain the first past the post system of voting for parliamentary elections and extend this system to police and crime commissioner and mayoral elections. We will retain the current franchise to vote in parliamentary elections at eighteen. We will repeal the Fixed-term Parliaments Act. …
Celebrating public service
… We will continue to fund schemes to get graduates from Britain’s leading universities to serve in schools, police forces, prisons, and social care and mental health organisations. These programmes are now some of the UK’s largest graduate employers, taking the brightest and best from our universities and using their talents to tackle entrenched social problems. …
Reforming the justice system
Standing up for victims
…the Unduly Lenient Sentence Scheme…
Strengthening the police and security services
… We will create a national infrastructure police force, bringing together the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, the Ministry of Defence Police and the British Transport Police to improve the protection of critical infrastructure such as nuclear sites, railways and the strategic road network. We will strengthen Britain’s response to white collar crime by incorporating the Serious Fraud Office into the National Crime Agency… …the National Cyber Security Centre…
Punishment and reform
… The £15 billion annual cost to society of reoffending shows we have so much more to do to make the penal system work better. …
We will invest over £1 billion to modernise the prison estate, replacing the most dilapidated prisons and creating 10,000 modern prison places. …

3. THE WORLD’S GREAT MERITOCRACY pp.47-60
p.48 Summary
pp.49-54 A COUNTRY FOUNDED ON MERIT
The greatest injustice in Britain today is that your life is still largely determined not by your efforts and talents but by where you come from, who your parents are and what schools you attend. This is wrong. …
More good school places
… There are still 1 million children in primary and secondary schools rated by Ofsted as ’requires improvement’ or ’inadequate’. If schools across the Midlands and north of England had the same average standards as those in the south, nearly 200,000 more children would be attending good schools. …
… We will replace the unfair and ineffective inclusivity rules that prevent the establishment of new Roman Catholic schools, instead requiring new faith schools to prove that parents of other faiths and none would be prepared to send their children to that school. We will work with the Independent Schools Council to ensure that at least 100 leading independent schools become involved in academy sponsorship or the founding of free schools in the state system…
A knowledge-rich curriculum
… To maintain progress as children go through secondary school, we will improve schools’ accountability at key stage 3. We will expect 75 per cent of pupils to have been entered for the EBacc combination of GCSEs by the end of the next parliament, with 90 per cent of pupils studying this combination of academic GCSEs by 2025. …
Supporting teachers
… We will increase the overall schools budget by £4 billion by 2022, representing more than a real terms increase for every year of the parliament. We will continue to protect the Pupil Premium to support those who need it. …
World-class technical education
… We have already introduced high quality apprenticeships that can reach to degree level and beyond for the 200,000 young people who choose to enter full-time vocational study after their GCSEs each year. …
We will start by replacing 13,000 existing technical qualifications with new qualifications, known as T-levels, across fifteen routes in subjects including construction, creative and design, digital, engineering and manufacturing, and health and science. We will increase the number of teaching hours by fifty per cent to an average of 900 hours per year and make sure that each student does a three-month work placement as part of their course. …
… We will deliver our commitment to create 3 million apprenticeships for young people by 2020 and in doing so we will drive up the quality of apprenticeships to ensure they deliver the skills employers need. …
Career learning
More people in work
…we will offer a holiday on their employers’ National Insurance Contributions for a full year. …

pp.54-55 A COUNTRY THAT COMES TOGETHER
Controlling immigration
…with annual net migration standing at 273,000, immigration to Britain is still too high. …
Integrating divided communities
…help women in particular into the workplace, and teach more people to speak English. …
Defeating extremism
a Commission for Countering Extremism

pp.55-58 CONFRONTING BURNING INJUSTICES
To make Britain the world’s Great Meritocracy…we must look beyond divisions in educational opportunity.
The gender pay gap
… We will require companies with more than 250 employees to publish more data on the pay gap between men and women. …
The race gap
The mental health gap
…since 2010 we have increased spending on mental health each year to a record £11.4 billion in 2016/17, with a further investment of £1 billion by 20/21…
The disability gap
…the landmark Disability Discrimination Act of 1995. …
Preventing domestic violence
Reducing homelessness
…full implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act. Our aim will be to halve rough sleeping over the course of the parliament and eliminate it altogether by 2027. …

pp.59-60 CUTTING THE COST OF LIVING
Fair markets for consumers
… As Conservatives, we believe in markets as the best means to bring about prosperity and innovation, but we should act firmly and fast when a market works against the interests of consumers. Since 2010, we have capped the cost of credit for expensive payday lenders and will shortly ban letting agent fees. …
… We will strengthen the powers of consumer enforcement bodies to order fines against companies breaking consumer law and deliver redress for wronged parties. … We will strengthen the hand of online consumers. …
… A Conservative government will reform and modernise the home-buying process so it is more efficient and less costly. We will crack down on unfair practices in leasehold, such as escalating ground rents. We will also improve protections for those who rent… We will make billing for telecoms customers fairer and easier to understand… We will reduce insurance costs for ordinary motorists by cracking down on exaggerated and fraudulent whiplash claims. …
Fair energy markets
… First, we will ensure that smart meters will be offered to every household and business by the end of 2020…
… We will introduce a safeguard tariff cap that will extend the price protection…
… We will improve the energy efficiency of existing homes, especially for the least well off, by committing to upgrading all fuel poor homes to EPC Band C by 2030. …
Fair debt
…a “Breathing Space” scheme…

4. A RESTORED CONTRACT BETWEEN THE GENERATIONS pp.61-73
p.62 Summary
pp.63-64 DEALING WITH THE DEFICIT
… Conservatives believe in balancing the books and paying down debts – because it is wrong to pass to future generations a bill you cannot or will not pay yourself. …

pp.64-66 AN AGEING SOCIETY
Guaranteed annual increases in the state pension
A decade ago, pensions were in crisis and poverty blighted the retirement of many older people. It was wrong and it has been a Conservative government that has helped to put it right. By introducing the Pensions Triple Lock and the new State Pension, we have lifted the incomes of millions of older people, reducing pensioner poverty to historically low levels. …2020, and when it expires we will introduce a new Double Lock, meaning that pensions will rise in line with the earnings that pay for them, or in line with inflation – whichever is highest. …
… We will promote long-term savings and pensions products, including the Lifetime ISA, to encourage and incentivise more people to make provision for long-term needs, including a house purchase and retirement.
A long-term plan for elderly care
… We have already taken immediate action, putting £2 billion into the social care system and allowing councils to raise more money for care themselves from Council Tax. …
Under the current system, care costs deplete an individual’s assets, including in some cases the family home, down to £23,250 or even less.
First, we will align the future basis for means-testing for domiciliary care with that for residential care, so that people are looked after in the place that is best for them. This will mean that the value of the family home will be taken into account along with other assets and income, whether care is provided at home, or in a residential or nursing care home.
Second, to ensure this is fair, we will introduce a single capital floor, set at £100,000, more than four times the current means test threshold. This will ensure that, no matter how large the cost of care turns out to be, people will always retain at least £100,000 of their savings and assets, including value in the family home.
Third, we will extend the current freedom to defer payments for residential care to those receiving care at home, so no-one will have to sell their home in their lifetime to pay for care.
the Dilnot Report
…our forthcoming green paper will also address system-wide issues to improve the quality of care and reduce variation in practice. This will ensure the care system works better with the NHS to reduce unnecessary and unhealthy hospital stays and delayed transfers of care, and provide better quality assurance within the care sector. …
…we will meanstest Winter Fuel Payments, focusing assistance on the least well-off pensioners, who are most at risk of fuel poverty. …

pp.66-70 OUR NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE
The money and people the NHS needs
First, we will increase NHS spending by a minimum of £8 billion in real terms over the next five years…
Second… Last year we announced an increase in the number of students in medical training of 1,500 a year…
Third, we will ensure that the NHS has the buildings and technology it needs to deliver care properly and efficiently. …
Fourth…we will recover the cost of medical treatment from people not resident in the UK. … And we will increase the Immigration Health Surcharge, to £600 for migrant workers and £450 for international students…
Fifth, we will implement the recommendations of the Accelerated Access Review to make sure that patients get new drugs and treatments faster…
Holding NHS leaders to account
…NHS England… …the Five Year Forward View. … We will also back the implementation of the plan at a local level, through the Sustainability and Transformation Plans…
…in time for the start of the 2018 financial year, we will make non-legislative changes to remove barriers to the integration of care.
We will introduce a new GP contract to help develop wider primary care services. …
We will also help the million and more NHS clinicians and support staff develop the skills they need…
Exceptional standards of care, wherever, whenever
…we will make clinical outcomes more transparent so that clinicians and frontline staff can learn more easily from the best units and practices, and where there is clear evidence of poor patient outcomes, we will take rapid corrective action. …
…we will give patients, via digital means or over the phone, the ability to book appointments, contact the 111 service, order repeat prescriptions, and access and update aspects of their care records, as well as control how their personal data is used. …
…waiting times data for A&Es… …our National Diabetes Prevention Programme…
… Already 17 million people can get routine weekend or evening appointments at either their own GP surgery or one nearby, and this will expand to the whole population by 2019. …
We will retain the 95 per cent A&E target and the 18-week elective care standard…
… We will extend the scope of the CQC to cover the health-related services commissioned by local authorities. …
In cancer services, we will deliver the new promise to give patients a definitive diagnosis within 28 days by 2020…

pp.70-72 HOMES FOR ALL
… We will meet our 2015 commitment to deliver a million homes by the end of 2020 and we will deliver half a million more by the end of 2022. We will deliver the reforms proposed in our Housing White Paper to free up more land for new homes in the right places…
…maintaining the existing strong protections on designated land like the Green Belt, National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. …government building 160,000 houses on its own land. …
We will enter into new Council Housing Deals with ambitious, pro-development, local authorities to help them build more social housing. …
…sold privately after ten to fifteen years with an automatic Right to Buy for tenants… We will enter into new Council Housing Deals with ambitious, pro-development, local authorities to help them build more social housing. …
…we will continue our £2.5 billion flood defence programme that will put in place protection for 300,000 existing homes by 2021.

pp.72-73 CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
High-quality childcare
…a Conservative government will introduce, this year, thirty hours of free childcare for three and four-year-olds for working parents who find it difficult to manage the costs of childcare… …we will immediately institute a capital fund to help primary schools develop nurseries where they currently do not have the facilities to provide one…
Children’s and young people’s health
… We are seeing progress: smoking rates are now lower than France or Germany, drinking rates have fallen below the European average and teenage pregnancies are at record lows. …
… Half of all mental health conditions become established in people before the age of fourteen. … A Conservative
government will publish a green paper on young people’s mental health before the end of this year. …
Protecting vulnerable children and families
… Placing a child under the oversight of social services and taking a child into care are amongst the most serious duties the state may discharge. We will demand all local authorities be commissioners of the highest-quality family support and child protection services, removing these responsibilities from the weakest councils and placing them in trust. We will ensure that councils provide consistency of care and cannot relocate vulnerable children far from their home when it is not in their best interests to do so. We will review support for Children in Need to understand why their outcomes are so poor and what more support they might require, in and out of school.
Finally, we shall explore ways to improve the family justice system. The family courts need to do more to support families, valuing the roles of mothers and fathers, while ensuring parents face up to their responsibilities.

5. PROSPERITY AND SECURITY IN A DIGITAL AGE pp.75-83
p.76 Summary
p.77 … These new technologies provide us with new and faster ways to communicate, learn, travel, have fun and do business. They accelerate the pace of change – ushering in new norms in the space of years rather than decades; challenging our laws and regulations to keep pace.
pp.77-80 A DIGITAL CHARTER
The best place for digital business
…our world-leading Enterprise Investment Scheme and Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme… …open new offices of the British Business Bank in Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Manchester and Newport… When we leave the European Union, we will fund the British Business Bank with the repatriated funds from the European Investment Fund.
… By the end of this year, 19 out of 20 premises will have access to superfast broadband and our Universal Service Obligation will ensure that by 2020 every home and every business in Britain has access to high speed broadband. … We will introduce a full fibre connection voucher for companies across the country by 2018 and by 2022 we will have major fibre spines in over a hundred towns and cities, with ten million premises connected to full fibre…
… By 2022 we will extend mobile coverage further to 95 per cent geographic coverage of the UK. By the same date, all major roads and main line trains will enjoy full and uninterrupted mobile phone signal, alongside guaranteed WiFi internet service on all such trains. …
The safest place to be online
… We will put a responsibility on industry not to direct users – even unintentionally – to hate speech, pornography, or other sources of harm. …
… To create a sound ethical framework for how data is used, we will institute an expert Data Use and Ethics Commission…
…we will bring forward a new data protection law…to ensure the very best standards for the safe, flexible and dynamic use of data and enshrining our global leadership…the National Data Guardian for Health and Social Care on a statutory footing…
We will continue with our £1.9 billion investment in cyber security and build on the successful establishment of the National Cyber Security Centre…
A free media
…the Leveson Inquiry… We will repeal Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2014…

pp.80-82 DIGITAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC SERVICES
… We will therefore create a new presumption of digital government services by default and an expectation that all government services are fully accessible online, with assisted digital support available for all public sector websites. …local issues and public transport…roadworks, planning applications and bus routes… …’schools maps’…
…central and local government will be required to release information regularly and in an open format, and data will be aggregated and anonymised where it is important to do so. We will incubate more digital services within government and introduce digital transformation fellowships…
…we shall roll out Verify, so that people can identify themselves on all government online services by 2020, using their own secure data that is not held by government. … …the ’Once-Only’ principle in central government services by 2022 and wider public services by 2025. …
Digital infrastructure
… We are leading the world in preparing for autonomous vehicles and will press ahead with our plans to use digital technology to improve our railways… Smart grids will make the most efficient use of our electricity infrastructure and electric vehicles, and we will use technology to manage our airspace better to reduce noise pollution and improve capacity. …
Digital land
…the property development industry… …we will combine the relevant parts of HM Land Registry, Ordnance Survey, the Valuation Office Agency, the Hydrographic Office and Geological Survey to create a comprehensive geospatial data body within government…

pp.82-83 A FRAMEWORK FOR DATA AND THE DIGITAL ECONOMY
Some people say that it is not for government to regulate when it comes to technology and the internet. We disagree. …
An international settlement
…a framework for data ethics…

CONCLUSION p.84


Central Asia Vol.3

Uzbekistan

cf. Uzbekistan country profile (12/14/2016) | @BBC   Uzbekistan: Economy | @ADB_HQ   Uzbekistan | @StateDept   Uzbekistan | Observatory of Economic Complexity @MIT   Trains in Uzbekistan    UZBEKISTAN AND KAZAKHSTAN: A TALE OF TWO TRANSITION PATHS? (PDF; 2004) | Asad Alam and Arup Banerji @WorldBank   Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan Deploy Troops In Dispute Over Border Mountain (3/23/2016) | @pragpete @RFERL   Public health risk assessment and interventions – Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan (PDF; June 2010) | @WHO   Uzbekistan & Kyrgyzstan map (PDF) | @FAO   Uzbekistan, Tajikistan Flights Loom, And Prices Soar (2/1/2017) | Kamila Ibragimova @EurasiaNet   Central Asia: Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan | @WWF   Uzbekistan’s View of Security in Afghanistan After 2014 (PDF) | Matthew Stein @ Foreign Military Studies Office   Uzbek Railways awarded new Afghan operations and maintenance contract (3/22/2015) | @andrew_grantham   Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran Combined Tour 23 days | @NasrinInfo

(Excerpts are on our own.)

Brothers Again: Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan – Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev visited his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev in Astana. (3/24/2017) | Catherine Putz @Diplomat_APAC   … Nazarbayev, a long-time proponent of regional integration initiatives, never quite found a receptive partner in Uzbekistan’s first president, Islam Karimov. … Nazarbayev said that the two leaders would sign 75 contracts worth nearly $1 billion at a Kazakh-Uzbek business forum on March 23. … Uzbekistan has the population advantage, with more than 30 million to Kazakhstan’s 17 million; but Kazakhstan has had the economic advantage with a GDP of $184.4 billion in 2015, to Uzbekistan’s $66.7 billion. …

Dammed or Damned: Tajikistan and Uzbekistan Wrestle Over Water-Energy Nexus (4/2/2013) | Shavkat Kasymov @WorldPolicy   … Tajikistan consumes an average of 39,000 barrels a day, mostly from Uzbekistan… A main point of contention is a controversial hydroelectric project, the Rogun Dam, in the works since the 1960s. The project has been advertised by Tajik leaders as a path to energy and economic independence, but Uzbeks claim it will stop their share of the flow of the Vakhsh River, a resource that is crucial to its cotton monocrop economy. … The bulk of it is consumed by the Tadaz aluminum plant, a major source of revenues for the state budget. …

Afghanistan, Uzbekistan Trade Relations Strengthened (1/3/2017) | @TOLOnews   … “When we import goods from Pakistan, it takes nineteen days, but when we import from Uzbekistan, it takes nine days,” said Rasa. …construction materials will be imported from Uzbekistan and that Uzbek companies will invest in road construction, bridges and railways in the country. …

Uzbekistan, key to Afghan war drawdown, to ban foreign military bases (8/30/2012) | Abdujalil Abdurasulov @csmonitor   … When Pakistan closed the main NATO supply route in November, the Northern Distribution Network (NDN), a route that relies on Uzbekistan, took up the slack – about 75 percent of all non-lethal cargo was shipped through the NDN supply route mostly via Uzbekistan. … Uzbekistan is trying to send a message to Russia and its neighbors that Tashkent is not going to make a U-turn and host US bases on its territory. … Tashkent-based political analyst Farkhod Tolipov says Uzbekistan’s ban is in an effort to prevent militarization in the region. “Any new base will only lead to a geopolitical competition.” …

Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan: Staying Away (PDF) | S. Frederick Starr @SilkRoadStudies   … Uzbekistan has the region’s largest military force and Turkmenistan one of the smallest. And Uzbekistan inherited from Soviet times the largest establishment of heavy industry, while Turkmenistan began with the smallest. … No sooner did the Uzbeks arrive in Central Asia in the thirteenth century than they began settling in the region’s ancient cities, with their capital at Bukhara. … In gestures directed against what they openly call Russian colonialism, both Latinized their alphabets (the only states in the region to do so) and have marginalized the Russian language. … With respect to Turkmenistan, it can push Iran to seize the initiative in supplying Pakistan and India with gas; create access problems at Turkmenistan’s expanded Black Sea port of Turkmenbashi… Russia can easily invent and apply other restrictions to prevent Uzbek goods such as fruits and vegetables from entering its market. Considering that Russian-Uzbek bilateral trade reached $7 billion in 2013… Russia has already begun to play the “water and electricity card” against both Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. …Kambarata hydropower plant and effectively controls the Toktogul reservoir and power plant, both in Kyrgyzstan. …democratization and human rights. … Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan are the main bellwethers for stability and instability in Central Asia as a whole. …they value their trade with Russia, which for each country is valued at approximately $7 billion per annum. …unclear whether Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, too, will be drawn into the Eurasian Economic Union, remain outliers constantly under pressure from Moscow, or become beacons of sovereignty, self-determination, coordination and cooperation in the region…


Free papers, reports, et al. Vol.1

Here are @_WorldSolutions’ recent RTs which include free PDFs of papers, reports, et al.


Africa Vol.6 (South Africa)

cf. An economy for the 99% | @Nina_Kirsten @KPMG_SA   UK and South Africa Relations post Brexit (w Video; 3/13/2017) | @MatterConcern (@SABCNewsOnline interview with the outgoing British High Commissioner to South Africa)

SouthAfrica_WorldSolutions


Balkan Vol.1 (Romania, Bulgaria)

Romania


Bulgaria


Illinois Vol.4

cf. Blue Man Show


US Policy Changes Vol.63 (Deregulation/Reform/Inequality Vol.7)

Here are articles on inequality, financial reform, tax, et al. Excerpts are on our own.

America on the Brink of Oligarchy (8/23/2012) | Paul Starr (@WilsonSchool) @NewRepublic
The Unheavenly Chorus: Unequal Political Voice and the Broken Promise of American Democracy
By Kay Lehman Schlozman, Sidney Verba, and Henry E. Brady (Princeton University Press, 693 pp.)
Oligarchy
By Jeffrey A. Winters (Cambridge University Press, 323 pp.)
The MoveOn Effect: The Unexpected Transformation of American Political Advocacy
By David Karpf (Oxford University Press, 237 pp.)
… Americans in the top fifth in socioeconomic status (a combined measure of income and education) are “roughly twice as likely to go to the polls as those in the bottom quintile” but about eight times more likely to make a political donation. …
… In research cited by Schlozman and her co-authors, Martin Gilens of Princeton University analyzed nearly two thousand questions in public-opinion surveys about proposed national policies from 1981 to 2002. On issues where opinion varied by income, he found that the policies finally adopted were strongly related to the preferences of upper-income people, and not at all to what the poor or even middle-income Americans wanted.
…twelve thousand organizations listed in the Washington Representatives directory. Contrary to a widespread misunderstanding, only a small proportion of groups represented in Washington (12 percent) are associations made up of individuals. The majority are corporations, governmental bodies, and associations of institutions. By sheer numbers, “representation of business is dominant.” In contrast, most workers who are neither professionals nor managers have no group in Washington representing their occupational interests, unless they are unionized—and only 7 percent of private-sector workers are now unionized.
The Unheavenly Chorus estimates that union members accounted for 25 percent of political activity in 1967 but for only 18 percent in 1990, and for just 11 percent in 2006. Meanwhile, corporations and the wealthy have been busily converting “market resources into political advocacy.”
… When C. Wright Mills wrote about “the power elite” in the 1950s, he was specifically referring to decision-makers at the pinnacle of corporate, military, and civilian bureaucracies. Winters rejects elite theory as a “detour,” and reaches back to an older tradition of thought stressing the distinctive role of wealth as a foundation of power. He traces his theory of oligarchy to Aristotle (“whenever men rule by reason of their wealth, whether they be few or many, that is an oligarchy”) and to Machiavelli, who was concerned with the means by which a republic could limit the power of wealth. …
… If a Michael Bloomberg decides to run for office, Winters points out, it is not because he is trying to keep his wealth safe from rivals or necessarily to advance his material interests. In a civil oligarchy, rather than seeking out the spotlight, the superrich can use their money to exert political influence, and they can hire the busy “worker bees” of what Winters calls the “Income Defense Industry,” including banks, investment advisors, and law and accounting firms. …particularly to the creation of tax shelters so costly that they are available only to the ultra-rich. …oligarchs have an interest in pushing tax obligations down to the mass affluent through a lower threshold for the highest tax bracket, which deflects some of the burden and may win the super-rich more allies in opposing higher marginal rates.
…the “lion’s share” of recent gains in income and wealth have gone “to a sliver of the population,” the top “1/10th and even 1/100th of the top 1 percent of households.” If political participation were the key, economic gains should at least have been diffused more widely among the mass affluent. …market-generated returns have also diverged because of changes in technology and the global economy, and although aggressively egalitarian policies might have limited the breakaway gains at the top, those policies were blocked by a conservative ideological resurgence that cannot be reduced to the influence of big money.
… Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corporation pays a tax rate of only 9.8 percent (compared with the statutory rate of 35 percent), because 90 percent of its earnings come from hotels and casinos in Singapore and Macao. Obama has proposed ending the deductions and credits that enable Sands to shelter billions in revenue from taxes. Adelson is also facing a Justice Department investigation of potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in his Macao dealings. Another big GOP donor, the Texas financier Harold Simmons, has used political contributions to win favorable legislation in his own and other states advancing his nuclear-waste business…
…David Karpf’s The MoveOn Effect… …@dailykos @DFAaction @BoldProgressive…
… In recent decades, while conservatives developed into a strong and cohesive political force, the rise of specialized, issue-based progressive advocacy led to a proliferation of separate agendas. So the rise of politically oriented “issue generalists” on the liberal side is a welcome development. In addition, the new groups are cheap to run, and they easily scale up to large dimensions.
…to suggest that the Internet is a “weapon of the strong” is to miss a crucial point: online organization does not depend on patronage by the wealthy. The new low-cost methods of organizing are especially important at a time when one of the central threats to American democracy is the entrenchment of oligarchic power. …

A Wasted Crisis?: Why the Democrats did so little to change Wall Street (7/12/2013) | Paul Starr (@WilsonSchool) @NewRepublic
…political changes have undermined whatever dignity and respect members of Congress once had. …
… But financial reform posed a difficult test for several reasons—the political power of the industry, the complexity of the issues, and the complicity of leading Democrats in the policies that helped to bring about the crisis.
…@OpenSecretsDC, which tracks political donations, “the financial sector is far and away the largest source of campaign contributions to federal candidates and parties.” Thanks in part to federal policy, finance has become the dominant sector of the economy, increasing its share of total domestic profits from 15 percent in the early 1980s to 41 percent in the early 2000s. The financialization of the economy promotes the financialization of politics, as money finds its way to power. …
… The ultimate basis of finance’s power is structural: if governments adopt policies that genuinely threaten financial markets, capital will migrate elsewhere, credit will tighten, and economic growth will suffer. But the more complicated the markets become, the more difficult it is to know where the danger point lies. Complexity amplifies the industry’s influence in discussions about alternatives, because its CEOs and lobbyists can make inflated claims of perilous repercussions from change that legislators do not know enough to discount. …
… Removing those barriers did exactly the opposite. …Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut…
… Robert Kaiser’s Act of Congress is a step-by-step, journalistic narrative of the legislative process from the eruption of the financial crisis in September 2008 through the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in July 2010. In Kaiser’s telling, Congress overcame special-interest pressures and partisan obstruction, worked through complex issues, and enacted substantial and intelligent legislation. In stark contrast, Jeff Connaughton’s The Payoff is a burn-all-bridges memoir of a longtime lobbyist who became a top aide to a liberal Democratic senator and says that Dodd-Frank was shot through with holes as a result of special-interest pressures and the connivance of both Dodd and the administration. And in the most weighty and analytical of the books, Political Bubbles, the political scientists Nolan McCarty, Keith T. Poole, and Howard Rosenthal argue that 2008 was a “wasted crisis” because American democracy failed not only in the run-up to the bailouts, but also in the aftermath. Dodd-Frank, they say, exemplifies a long historical pattern (except for the New Deal) of weak and often counterproductive governmental responses to breakdowns in the financial system.
… Frank and Dodd shared…the practical wisdom required to get things done. …
“Dodd’s personal attributes were even more important,” Kaiser writes. Not as brilliant as Frank but “bright enough,” Dodd was popular with other senators and shrewd in dealing with them, always looking for ways to address the “substantive concerns of his colleagues, especially Republicans.” In a memorable episode…
… Frank agreed to two concessions: a limit on the supervisory authority of the new agency that the law would establish to protect consumers, and a change in the formula for assessments paid to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which would shift more than $1 billion in annual fees from the community banks to the big banks. Wall Street would not like it, but by peeling off the hometown banks, Frank reduced local pressure on the Blue Dogs and other representatives to oppose the bill.
… Social scientists distinguish among three dimensions of power. Who wins and who loses in overt conflict is only the first dimension. The second dimension is control, often implicit, over what gets on the agenda and the issues and alternatives that never even come up for discussion. The third dimension involves the terms of debate, the ways of thinking about problems. …
… The industry opposed the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created under the law as well as other provisions, such as a watered-down version of the Volcker Rule…
…Jeff Connaughton…
… Dodd, whom Connaughton describes as “Machiavellian,” readily made concessions to Republicans who were not going to vote for the bill, while ignoring his own Democratic colleagues. …
In Political Bubbles, McCarty, Poole, and Rosenthal… “We favor a strong set of simple rules rather than regulatory discretion,” they write. “The thirty-seven pages of Glass-Steagall are much to be preferred to the nearly three thousand pages of Dodd-Frank.”…
… “Washington rushed to bail out the commercial and investment banks and American International Group (AIG), but did little to relieve small debtors” and Congress passed Dodd-Frank, which “leaves ample opportunities for future bubbles.”
… Institutionally, the key development has been the increased use of the filibuster in the Senate. Together, the growth in ideological polarization in Congress and the exploitation of institutional choke points have led to gridlock, blocking legislative adjustment of policies as conditions change. And in the case of finance, that failure to update policy has effectively meant deregulation, because of the creation in recent decades of new financial products not envisioned under the New Deal regulatory regime. …
…a consumer coalition in 2009 announced it would raise $5 million to support financial reform; in comparison, the lobbying expenditures by the finance industry in 2009 and 2010 totaled around $750 million.
… Dodd-Frank’s establishment of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the ACA’s insurance reforms and expansion of coverage. As a result of those provisions, I wouldn’t say that Dodd-Frank was a “waste” of a crisis or that the ACA was a mistake—but both laws leave key interests undisturbed and therefore do not deal with critical problems in either finance or health care. …
Yet the battles over financial reform and health care differed in at least one way. Financial reform never had the public’s attention the way health care did. According to McCarty, Poole, and Rosenthal, “it was not because the public was divided, even along partisan lines, over the causes of the crisis or the need to reregulate the financial services industry.” In their view, skepticism about government’s ability to restrain Wall Street and confusion about what ought to be done dampened public engagement.
… During the debate over Dodd-Frank, neither Obama nor congressional leaders even tried to arouse public concern about Wall Street and build support for a stronger bill. Ironically, anger over Wall Street and the bailouts found its expression in the Tea Party in 2010. …
… Connaughton’s memoir is a reminder about such deceptions as Goldman Sachs’s sale of derivatives to customers who didn’t know that those derivatives had been designed to go bust, and Lehman’s shift of liabilities off its balance sheets before it went broke, and the tower of speculation built on liar loans and other subprime mortgages. Millions of people have lost their homes, whole communities have been devastated, but somehow the government does not have the ability or the will to prosecute the executives…
The Bankers’ New Clothes: What’s Wrong with Banking and What to Do about It, Anat Admati and Martin Hellwig… …the debts of the five biggest banks in the United States as of March 2012 totaled $8 trillion, a figure that they say would have been higher under European accounting standards. …

What Is Hillary Clinton’s Agenda?: She’s had so much to say on so many issues that voters may not know what she wants to accomplish. (6/20/2016) | Paul Starr (@WilsonSchool) @theprospect
… In 2010, congressional Democrats and the president prevented the extension of the tax cuts for the rich enacted under George W. Bush, increasing the top marginal income tax rate back to its level during the Clinton administration (39.6 percent) and reducing tax cuts on investment income and estates. When these changes went into effect in 2013, the top 0.1 percent paid $50 billion in taxes more than they would have paid under the previous rules. Partly as a result of a provision in the ACA, the tax rate on capital gains has gone from 15 percent to 23.8 percent. …


US Policy Changes Vol.53 (Hospitality/Entertainment Vol.3)

Here are articles on hotel industry, digital divide, et al. Excerpts are on our own.

Steady Growth Projected for U.S. Hotels in 2017 And 2018 (1/25/2017) | @1HotelNews
… “Demand has outpaced supply in terms of growth for seven consecutive years, but we expect that to change in 2017 and continue in 2018,” said @HiteAmanda @STR_Data. …
For total-year 2017, the U.S. hotel industry is predicted to report a 0.3% decrease in occupancy to 65.3%, a 2.8% rise in average daily rate (ADR) to US$127.34 and a 2.5% increase in revenue per available room (RevPAR) to US$83.20. RevPAR grew more than 3.0% for each year from 2010 to 2016. …

Travel and Hospitality Industry Outlook 2017 – An analysis of travel disruptors (w PDF) | @DeloitteCB
PDF p4
Strong economic indicators help fuel travel demand in 2017
Economic fundamentals for consumer spending are solid going into 2017. The labor market continues to strengthen. An average of 181,000 jobs were added per month in 2016. As the labor market tightens further, income growth is likely to edge up in the short to medium term. Disposable personal income was up 3.4 percent towards year end, and average hourly earnings are accelerating. For consumers, income growth is corresponding with rising asset prices. House prices crossed their pre-2008 peaks and key equity indices hit all-time highs in November. This boosted household wealth and aided consumer spending. Overall, consumer confidence remains elevated, even after the exhausting election cycle of 2016.
Projecting the influence of that election cycle on consumer spending and the broader economy, however, remains difficult. Notwithstanding, travel companies have good reason to remain optimistic. Improvements in the job market have helped boost family income for the first time since 2007, and should help the US travel industry sustain a growth rate significantly faster than GDP. The US leisure travel market notched its fourth straight year of five percent growth in 2015, reaching $341 billion. Stronger growth (closer to six percent) is projected for 2017, pushing the market closer to $381 billion by the end of 2017.
… One of the biggest challenges hoteliers will face in 2017 is sustaining growth as online private accommodation aggregators flood the marketplace with new inventory. There is little doubt that companies like Airbnb already compete head-to-head with hotels in certain segments of the market. Some of this business may be additive, as travelers take more or longer trips than they would without the option, but perhaps more importantly, private accommodations have altered consumer expectations on a fundamental level—by redefining what and where a hotel is. The hotel industry has proved to be extremely resilient during this marketplace shift. Industry forecasts project continued success, estimating a 4.3 percent gain in hotel revenues for 2017. This is phenomenal growth considering one in three US leisure travelers stayed in some form of private accommodations in 2015.

FCC Chairman Pai vows to close broadband “digital divide”: Pai voted against previous broadband expansion orders, but has plans of his own. (1/25/2017) | @jbrodkin @ArsTechnica
…against an FCC order that updated the 31-year-old Lifeline phone subsidy program so that poor people can use a $9.25 monthly household subsidy from the Universal Service Fund to purchase home Internet or mobile broadband. …
In December 2014, the FCC decided that ISPs who accept government subsidies to build rural broadband networks must provide speeds of at least 10Mbps for downloads and 1Mbps for uploads, instead of the previous 4Mbps/1Mbps standard. The move was opposed by AT&T, Verizon, and cable industry lobbyists. …
…in September 2016 he outlined a “digital empowerment agenda.” The plan included “remov[ing] regulatory barriers to broadband deployment,” changes to pole attachment rules, and “dig once” policies that install broadband conduit when roads are dug up during any road and highway construction project. …
Pai also proposed creating “gigabit opportunity zones” in areas where average household income is below 75 percent of the national median. …

Media and Entertainment Outlook 2017 – Growth opportunities and challenges in an on-demand world (w PDF & Video) | @DeloitteTMT

Predictions 2017: No Rest For The Weary In The Media Industry (11/4/2016) | @MelissaRParrish @Forbes
…four predictions…
– Big, established media companies will disrupt themselves. As consumers’ media consumption continues to both increase in the aggregate and fracture across even more devices… The AT&T/Time Warner deal isn’t the end…
– Marketers will step up to change the advertising calculus. …
– Agencies relationships will get more complicated and contentious. Revelations around fraud, kick-backs, and the commoditization of advertising tech rocked the agency world in 2016. …
– The contracting ad tech ecosystem will result in more expansive deployments. …

The State of the Media Industry 2017 (10/26/2016) | TheMediaBriefing

2016 Entertainment & Media Industry Trends: To survive the rapid transition to a direct-to-consumer future, companies across the E&M sector need an effective fan-centric strategy — or risk decline and irrelevance. (w PDF) | @DeborahBothun & Christopher A. H. Vollmer @PwC


US Policy Changes Vol.51 (Miscellaneous Vol.6 – inequality and democratic responsiveness)

Here is an academic paper: Inequality and Democratic Responsiveness: Who Gets What They Want from Government? (PDF; Aug 2004) | Martin Gilens @PUPolitics @HarvardWCFIA. Excerpt is on our own.

Previous research
Quantitative analyses of the link between public preferences and government decision making have taken three main forms… The most prevalent approach, often labeled “dyadic representation,” examines the relationship between constituency opinion and the behavior of representatives or candidates across political units… This work typically finds strong correlations between constituents’ preferences and legislators’ voting behavior.
A second approach examines changes over time in public preferences and the corresponding changes (or lack of changes) in public policies. …fairly high levels of congruency between the direction of change in opinion and the direction of change in government policy, especially for salient issues or cases with large changes in public preferences.
Finally, using a third approach… …public preferences for policy change expressed at a given point in time with subsequent changes (or lack of changes) in government policy… …substantially higher levels of consistency between public preferences and government policy for issues that the public deemed more important… …an extremely strong influence of public mood on policy outputs…

Limitations of research on democratic responsiveness
… Even if individual legislators’ votes strongly reflect the preferences of their constituents, actual policies may not coincide with aggregate preferences. … policies are shaped by the complex interactions among multiple units of government, by the congressional committee system, by the degree of autonomy granted to the various federal agencies, and by many other characteristics of our governmental structure. …
The second approach… For example, if public support for increasing environmental regulation declined from 90% to 75% over some time period, we might conclude that support for environmental regulation weakened. But if actual regulation was reduced during this period, it would clearly be contrary to, not consistent with, the preferences of the public.
The third approach… …the possibility of spuriousness. … Increases in defense spending following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan may have coincided with increased public support for defense spending. But lawmakers were likely responding to some combination of public preferences and real-world events, and it is extraordinarily difficult to assess the relative importance…
Finally, it is important to acknowledge that surveys of public preferences are at best imperfect measures of what the public wants from government. One important limitation is the willingness of respondents to express opinions even about issues on which they have no clear or consistent views. … …government responsiveness to public preferences is much lower for questions which elicit large numbers of “Don’t Know” responses.
… First, public opinion may be “uncrystalized” about a new or unfamiliar issue. …latent opinion represents something like “what the public would prefer after having considered the issue more fully.”
A second… For example, the public might express support for humanitarian intervention abroad. But… A policy maker attempting to respond to public opinion would need to take both current expressed support, and latent potential opposition into account.
… For our purposes, it is important to recognize that democratic responsiveness is a subtle phenomenon and that…

Assessing inequalities in democratic responsiveness
…an aspect of democratic responsiveness largely ignored in previous work: whose preferences are influential in shaping government policy.
While the notion of “equal representation” is a central element of normative democratic theory, there are good reasons to expect that different sub-groups of the population will be more or less successful at shaping government policy to their preference. …

The current project
…further explore biases in government responsiveness to public preferences asking how successful different population sub-groups are in shaping government policy and how such differences have changed over time, across issue-area, or in response to changing party control of national political institutions. …

Data

Imputing preferences by income, education, or age level
Because the surveys employed were conducted by different organizations at different points in time the demographic categories are not always consistent. …

FINDINGS
Consistency versus influence
… For example, a policy change opposed by 51% of the public and one opposed by 99% of the public would both be inconsistent with public preferences, but the latter clearly represents a greater failure of policy to reflect public preferences.
Overall relationship between preference and policy
… A strong status-quo bias is evident among these 754 proposed policy changes: even policy changes favored by 90% of Americans occurred only 4 times in 10…
Salient and non-salient issues

INCOME AND THE PREFERENCE-POLICY LINK
Policy agreement and disagreement across income levels
… Consequently, the association between government policy and the preferences of poorer Americans may arise not due to these citizens’ influence on government outcomes but to the fact that poor and wealthy Americans share policy preferences most of the time. …
On the other hand, among the 300 questions where preferences differ more strongly by income level, policy outcomes are unrelated to preferences among the poor, and highly related among the rich…
…poor people might hold attitudes that consistently differ from those held by middle-income or wealthy Americans, and if so the lack of responsiveness to their preferences might actually reflect a well-functioning democracy. Middle-income respondents might better reflect the preferences of the median voter on most issues and the responsiveness of government policymakers to the preferences of these Americans might therefore serve as a more appropriate test of biases in representation. …

DIVERGENT POLICY PREFERENCES OF RICH AND POOR
Economic policies
“Pure” economic policies. …rich and poor in the aggregate appear to express preferences that reflect their groups’ differing economic self interest.
Foreign economic policies. … On free trade… rich Americans express solid support while the poor are mildly opposed.
…U.S. aid to developing countries and to Russia and the former Soviet Union. On these questions, the rich expressed solid support while the poor were equally strong in their opposition. …
Health care. … The poor, for example, were strongly supportive of tax funded national health care (in the abstract at least), employer mandates, and government guarantees of universal health care. The rich were only mildly supportive these first two proposals, but shared the poor’s enthusiasm for the last. …
Social security. …the two reform proposals with the clearest redistributive implications (increasing the tax on Social Security benefits of higher income retirees and raising the retirement age) produced no differences in support between rich and poor. On the other hand, directing the government to invest part of the Social Security surplus in the stock market was strongly opposed by poor Americans while the rich were evenly split. …
Welfare reform. …rich and poor expressed equal (and enthusiastic) support: work requirements, job training, child care, and time limits for welfare recipients. The rich were supportive of cutting overall spending in contrast to the poor (who were evenly split), while the rich similarly expressed solid support for eliminating increases in benefits to women who have additional children while on welfare (the poor were again split on this proposal). …

Social issues
Civil rights. … The rich and poor differ most dramatically when asked about affirmative action for individual hiring, promotion, or college admissions. …
Homosexuality. …rich Americans expressed somewhat higher levels of support for gays and lesbians including a slight tendency toward allowing gays to serve in the military, somewhat stronger support for extending legal protections (for example, against job discrimination), and somewhat lower levels of opposition to gay marriage than poor Americans. …
Abortion and school prayer. Rich Americans expressed substantially greater support for abortion and less support for school prayer than did the poor. …
Campaign finance reform. … Rich Americans differed more substantially from the poor over public financing of elections, expressing mixed views in contrast to the solid opposition of the poor.

Summary of divergent policy preferences
… Without exception, when differences between the rich and poor did emerge, the rich favored more conservative policies. However, it is important to point out that rich Americans did support many policies that would be expected to disproportionately benefit the poor. …
… Many other policy areas in my data set produced few systematic differences between the preferences of the rich and the poor, including defense policy, drug policy, education, gun control, terrorism, and crime. …

Causal inference
… The link between public preferences and government policy might arise through some combination of (1) the influence of the public’s preferences on political decision makers’ actions, (2) the influence of decision makers’ statements on the public’s preferences, and (3) the response of both decision makers and the public to “real world” events and conditions. …
… If the cross-state association between high income constituents’ views and senators’ votes is due primarily to the influence of the public on elected officials rather than the other way round, then the broader association between the public’s preferences and government policy outputs is also likely to reflect the influence of high income Americans on elite decision makers.
… If the primary path of influence is from public preferences to government policy, we might expect income to be the stronger moderator… …if the primary causal path is politicians shaping the public’s preferences or attentive citizens responding to changing conditions and events, we might expect education to be the stronger moderator…
…the association between policy outcomes and the preferences of high income Americans declines only modestly when we control for the preferences of those with high levels of education… …biases in government responsiveness across income groups primarily reflect something other than interest in or attention to politics.
For example, a study of donations to congressional candidates in 1996 found that four-fifths of donors who gave $200 or more had incomes in the top 10% of all Americans… Since not only the propensity to donate but the size of donations increases with income level…
…a government that is democratic in form but is in practice only responsive to its most affluent citizens is a democracy in name only. …
Most Americans think that public officials don’t care much about the preferences of “people like me.” Sadly, the results presented above suggest they may be right. …


US Policy Changes Vol.50 (Infrastructure Vol.5 – Water)

Here are articles on water. Excerpts are on our own.

Investing in water: Comparing utility finances and economic concerns across U.S. cities (12/14/2016) | Joseph Kane @BrookingsMetro
cf. https://twitter.com/_WorldSolutions/status/820261737555324928
SUMMARY
INTRODUCTION
Understanding water investment challenges at the city level
Comparing water investment across different cities
– Only a handful of drinking water utilities in the largest cities nationally rank highly across six major categories of water finance and related economic indicators.
– More than three-quarters of large drinking water utilities are able to cover their operating expenses each year.
– Many large drinking water utilities carry high levels of long-term debt—up to 96 percent of the value of their current assets—making it difficult to accelerate new capital investments.
– On average, large drinking water utilities are charging higher rates to cover needed costs, although the specific rates can vary widely from city to city.
– Many cities with large drinking water utilities are experiencing gains in income and population, but they are still struggling to balance affordability concerns, particularly for lower-income households.
Exploring potential strategies and innovations
CONCLUSION

The aging water infrastructure: Out of sight, out of mind? (3/21/2016) | Patricia Buckley, Lester Gunnion, Will Sarni @DU_Press
… The number of water main breaks across the country, from Syracuse to Los Angeles, is staggering: 240,000 per year… The direct cost of these leaks is pegged at $2.6 billion per year. … The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that, while the cumulative cost to households from degrading water/wastewater infrastructure will add up to $59 billion (in 2010 dollars) over the period between 2013 and 2020, the cost to business will be more than double that, at $147 billion.
EVOLUTION OF THE SYSTEM
SAFEGUARDING THE WATER SUPPLY
[The problem with lead]
THE ISSUES: AGING, FUNDING, PRICING
… The AWWA estimates that the cost of restoring underground pipes will total at least $1 trillion over the next 25 years, without including the cost of constructing new infrastructure or repairing treatment plants. Separately, the USEPA’s 2011 Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment (DWINSA) estimated that the United States will require $384 billion in capital investment over the next 20 years to ensure that drinking water standards are in compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act. … …the USEPA’s 2012 Clean Watersheds Needs Survey estimates that $271 billion in capital investment will be needed over the next 20 years to address water-related health problems and ensure that watersheds are compliant with the Clean Water Act.
… In 2012, most Americans paid less than $3.75 per 1,000 gallons of safe water. … …even though US water prices increased by 41 percent between 2010 and 2015,32 the average US household spent just $530 on water in 2014—only about 20 percent of the average amount spent on gasoline ($2,468).
… One of the most commonly proposed solutions for recovering costs is by shifting a greater degree of cost recovery to fixed fees from usage-based fees. …
… In December 2015, for instance, the US Congress passed a five-year, $305 billion transportation bill that, among other things, lifted a ban on the issuance of tax-exempt bonds with loans for projects under the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA). …
[Water prices worldwide]
THE PATH FORWARD
… With regard to innovative funding, we have seen the emergence of green bonds, such as the 100-year bonds used by DC Water, and public-private partnerships, such as that in Bayonne, New Jersey. …

A Tale of Two Public-private Partnership Cities (6/10/2015) | @whartonknows
… The water came from reservoirs 50 miles northwest of the city, delivered through an outdated aqueduct in need of frequent repair that the city could ill afford. Like many other cities, Bayonne had deferred maintenance on its water systems. Its excessive debt burden led to a poor credit rating that made further borrowing more expensive. …
Bayonne’s sewer system, pumping an average of 8.3 million gallons of wastewater daily, had similar challenges, including outdated infrastructure…
… Only a few months after Sandy…a joint venture partnership for both water and wastewater operations with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) funding 90% of the effort with United Water, a unit of French giant Suez Environnement S.A.
… In 2013, Moody’s Investor Service upgraded Bayonne’s bond rating from Baa1 with a negative outlook to Baa1 with a stable outlook, in particular citing the city’s recent progress in reducing its debt burden through the lease-sale of the MUA operations.
KKR and United Water further pledged to funnel another $157 million into the water systems over the 40-year length of the contract, with about $2.5 million a year earmarked for maintenance and upgrades. …
… “We receive $2.5 million per year, which is a nice chunk of money guaranteed. What the partnership does is remove the need for political will for the maintenance of the system. …
…@foodandwater…
…“Private Equity, Public Inequity,”…
…@NWFinancialGrp…
…the city could save almost $35 million over its 40-year contract, compared to operating the water utilities on its own. …
A Private Sector Lifeline for Rialto
… According to “Private Capital, Public Good,” a research paper from the Brookings Institution, Rialto’s “historically underfunded system also struggled to meet pension liabilities, which were starting to weigh on the utility’s ability to affordably raise capital in the tax-exempt market.” …
…state revolving loan funds and municipal bond financing often have not been sufficient to meet local needs. …
In 2013, Rialto entered into a 30-year, $300 million public-private partnership (P3) agreement with Veolia Environnement S.A.’s Veolia Water as the operator of the project. Ullico, a labor-owned insurance and investment company, was the lead finance partner, along with Table Rock Capital. …

The Path to Water Innovation (PDF; Oct 2014) | Newsha K. Ajami, Barton H. Thompson Jr., David G. Victor @hamiltonproj,@StanfordWoods
Abstract
… Today, it provides sufficient water to support over 315 million people, almost 55 million acres of irrigated farmland, and a $16 trillion economy. …
… Yet, in comparison to the electric power sector, investment in water innovation is extremely low. …
… Among the main management and policy barriers are (1) unrealistically low water pricing rates; (2) unnecessary regulatory restrictions; (3) the absence of regulatory incentives; (4) lack of access to capital and funding; (5) concerns about public health and possible risks associated with adopting new technologies with limited records; (6) the geographical and functional fragmentation of the industry; and (7) the long life expectancy, size, and complexity of most water systems. …
We focus on several recommendations: (1) pricing policies that would both better align with the full economic cost of supplying water and decouple revenues from the volume of water supplied; (2) regulatory frameworks to create an open and flexible governance environment that is innovation friendly and encourages valuable new technologies; and (3) financing and funding mechanisms, such as a public benefit charge on water, that can help raise sufficient funds to implement innovative solutions.

Chapter 1: Introduction
…almost 40 percent of the pipes used in the nation’s water distribution systems are forty years old or older, and some key infrastructure is a century old. On average, about 16 percent of the nation’s piped water is lost due to leaks and system inefficiencies, wasting about 7 billion gallons of clean and treated water every day…
… Research and development (R&D) is a public good that is likely to be suboptimal in scale without public financial support…
… First… Improper water pricing undercuts both the incentive for water-conserving technologies by water users and the financial stability needed to finance the adoption and implementation of new water technologies by the water suppliers. …
Second… …many current regulations frequently hinder the adoption of cost-effective technologies.
Third, we call for a public benefit charge on water to allow for more public funding for water innovation.

Chapter 2: Background
THE WATER SECTOR
FIGURE 1. Water Distribution and Use Cycle
…155,000 drinking-water systems and 15,000 wastewater systems exist…
… While private water suppliers still outnumber public suppliers in the United States, public suppliers today furnish water to about 80 percent of the nation’s domestic and commercial users and almost 20 percent of its industrial users. …
Public water entities are seldom subject to regulation by state public utility commissions. As a result, local political processes provide the principal oversight of public water suppliers. …
COMPARISONS TO THE ENERGY SECTOR
… First…
Second…
…the nature of ownership. …
…state-owned enterprises (SOEs)…
FIGURE 2. Comparison of U.S. Patents Filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty for Clean Energy and Water Purification, 1999–2011

Chapter 3: State of Innovation in the Water Sector
…53 percent of the water sector’s capital spending goes to system expansion, followed by 37 percent for replacing existing infrastructure and 10 percent for compliance. …
INNOVATION FRONTIERS IN THE WATER SECTOR
FIGURE 3. Size of the Major International Water Markets, 2010
… First, water managers assumed that demand for fresh water would increase with population and that the only way to ensure a balance between supply and demand was to find new sources of supply. …
… Water managers, moreover, generally looked to large-scale, centralized infrastructure projects to increase supply, on the assumption that large-scale projects would generate significant economies of scale and provide greater operational flexibility…
… Finally…if they designed water systems to meet current hydrologic conditions, those systems would also meet future conditions. …
1. Supply enhancement. …technologies that promise more-drought-resistant water supplies, such as reclaimed water or desalination; or that can reduce energy use, such as recycling technologies that extract significant energy from wastewater… …technologies that allow more-localized resource enhancement strategies, such as rainwater and storm water capture, and small-scale water reclamation.
2. Demand management. …technologies that encourage or enable water-use efficiency…or water conservation… Examples range from water-efficient appliances to drip irrigation to smart irrigation controllers. …smart meters…
3. Governance improvement. … Smart metering and advanced data collection methodologies…
These three categories cover a wide variety of technological innovations including:
• Smart water.
• Efficiency and conservation.
• Purification.
• Alternative sources.
• Storage (surface and ground).
• Groundwater.
EVALUATING PATTERNS OF INNOVATION IN WATER AND CLEAN ENERGY
Innovation Indicators: Investment Trends
…clean energy and water…
… In the United States, investments are dominated by venture capital activity in both sectors, but especially in the water sector where venture capital and corporate ventures account for 53 and 24 percent, respectively, of total investment dollars (figure 4b). By comparison, investment banking is the largest global contributor to both clean energy and water, at 31 and 27 percent, respectively, of total investment dollars (figure 4a).
… The United States accounts for approximately 50 percent of global investment deals in both the clean energy and water sectors…
… There were 4,193 venture capital deals for clean energy, raising $20 billion at an average of $4.8 million per deal. By contrast, 372 deals raised $800 million in venture capital for the water sector, at an average of $2.2 million per deal…
FIGURE 4. Sources of Investment Dollars for Global and U.S. Innovation in the Clean Energy and Water Sectors, 2000–13
Venture Capital Investment
FIGURE 5. Number of Deals and Relative Contribution of Investment Types for Global and U.S. Innovation in the Clean Energy and Water Sectors, 2000–13
FIGURE 6. Global and U.S. Investments in Clean Energy and Water by Venture, Corporate and Corporate Venture, and Public Sources, 2000–13
Corporate Investment
… First, some corporations might be seeking to improve their own internal operations. … Second, corporations might be looking for new market opportunities. …
FIGURE 7. Number of Patents Relative to Market Size for Solar and Wind Power Industry, 2000–11
Public Investment
…in the United States the clean energy sector has benefited from about $8 billion in public investment over the past thirteen years, while only $28 million in public dollars has gone to the water sector over the same period. …
Innovation Indicators: Patents
FIGURE 8. Patent Filings with Patent Cooperation Treaty for Water Purification and Clean Energy by Country, 1999–2011
FIGURE 9. Number of U.S. Patents Filed in the Clean Energy and Water Subsectors, 1999–2012

Chapter 4: Explaining Patterns of Innovation
PRICING PRACTICES
FIGURE 10. Tariff Price and Domestic Use per Capita, 2012
The pricing of water in the United States affects innovation in several ways. First, it reduces the revenue available to water suppliers to invest in innovation. …
…about 16 percent of the treated water in the United States is lost to leaky pipes and system inefficiencies. This translates to 7 billion gallons of clean water per day that is produced without generating any revenue for the water service providers…
…about 30 percent of the water in the United States falls under the category of nonrevenue water, meaning water that has been extracted, treated, and distributed, but that has never generated any revenue because it has been lost to leaks, metering inaccuracies, or the like…
Second…the extraction of water from a river or stream can have significant environmental costs. Because prices do not reflect such costs, however, analyses to decide whether to extract additional water for a growing city or to invest instead in water recycling and reuse…
Third, the underpricing of water can undercut incentives that water users would otherwise have to invest in new technologies to reduce water use. …
FIGURE 11. Relative Capital Investment to Revenue Ratio for Several Utility Services
… States with the highest electricity costs—such as Hawaii and California—have seen the most active programs to advance wind, solar, and other forms of renewable electricity. …
REGULATIONS
…(1) ensuring a significant market for recycling technology, (2) encouraging the diffusion of such technology, (3) enabling the refinement and improvement of recycling technology through actual use, and (4) driving the development of less-expensive recycling technologies.
TABLE 1. Regulatory Drivers and Barriers to Adoption of Water-Recycling Innovations
FIGURE 12. Importance of Industry Issues, 2012
LACK OF ACCESS TO CAPITAL

Chapter 5: Infusing Innovation into the Water Sector
IMPROVE WATER PRICING POLICIES
FIGURE 13. Number of Clean Energy Patents and Price of Electricity, 2001–11
BOX 1. California’s Decoupling Experience
DEVELOP INNOVATION-FRIENDLY REGULATION
…each state conduct a systematic review of its regulatory practices relating to the water sector. …:
• State legislators and regulators should avoid geographically inconsistent regulations. …
• Legislators and regulators also should consider crosssector impacts when adopting new regulations. …
• State regulations should provide sufficient flexibility to avoid blocking the timely adoption of new and innovative technologies. …
• State legislators and regulators should consider the appropriateness of rules that encourage the adoption of new technologies. …
INSTITUTE A MECHANISM FOR RAISING PUBLIC FUNDS FOR INNOVATION
FIGURE 14. Governance Structure of Public Good Charge for Electricity in California

Chapter 6: Conclusion

Chapter 7: Questions and Concerns
How can states and local agencies be encouraged or incentivized to implement the proposed reforms?
Would states need to build additional capacity or provide additional funding for these reforms?
Should there be a mandate for these pricing reforms?
What will be the potential obstacles or resistance to these reforms?
• Salience.
• Financial Impacts.
• Complexity.


US Policy Changes Vol.48 (Healthcare Vol.4)

Here are articles on healthcare. Excerpts are on our own.

Repealing Federal Health Reform: Economic and Employment Consequences for States (1/5/2017) | Leighton Ku, Erika Steinmetz, Erin Brantley, Brian Bruen @commonwealthfnd
see Exhibit 1~5
Findings and Conclusions: Repeal results in a $140 billion loss in federal funding for health care in 2019, leading to the loss of 2.6 million jobs (mostly in the private sector) that year across all states. A third of lost jobs are in health care, with the majority in other industries. If replacement policies are not in place, there will be a cumulative $1.5 trillion loss in gross state products and a $2.6 trillion reduction in business output from 2019 to 2023. States and health care providers will be particularly hard hit by the funding cuts.

The problems with ‘repeal and delay’ (1/3/2017) | @joeantos @AEI
…plan to move quickly to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the early weeks of 2017, with a delay in the date of when key aspects of the repeal would become effective until perhaps 2019 or 2020. …
…too much risk of unnecessary disruption to the existing insurance arrangements upon which many people are now relying to finance their health services, and…unlikely to produce a coherent reform…
Possible Legislative Scenario
… Congressional leaders have mentioned using H.R. 3762 from the just-completed Congress as the blueprint for what they plan to do in the new year. H.R. 3762 was passed early in 2016 (and then vetoed by President Obama) using the budget reconciliation procedure, which allowed it to be approved in the Senate with a simple majority vote. …
… Only provisions that directly change taxes or entitlement spending can be included in such bills, which means H.R. 3762 could not repeal large sections of the ACA that are more regulatory than budgetary in nature. A partial repeal bill passed using reconciliation could put an end date on funding for the premium credits and cost-sharing subsidies provided in the ACA, and reduce the federal government’s payments to states that have adopted the ACA’s Medicaid expansion. … The repeal bill will almost certainly eliminate the tax penalty associated with enforcement of the individual mandate but is likely to delay repealing the tax credits and Medicaid expansion until at least 2019.
… The law’s current requirements regarding essential health benefits, and the prohibition on the use of a person’s health status by insurers when setting premiums or benefit offerings, were not altered in H.R. 3762; they could not be altered in a reconciliation bill taken up in 2017, either. …
Congressional leaders have said that they would move forward after enactment of the partial repeal bill with a replacement effort that could involve a series of bills rather than one large reform plan. …
Greater Instability With ‘Repeal And Delay’
… Thirty-six percent of the national marketplace is being served by only one insurer in 2017.
… Even if the number of those dropping out in 2017 is small, it will be lead to further losses for insurers, and make it even more difficult for them to justify continued participation in 2018. There is a real danger that many parts of the country would be left with no insurance plans at all offering coverage on the ACA exchanges in 2018.
… The political firestorm that would ensue from several million people losing their insurance could be enough to force the GOP to reverse course and take steps to provide some kind of emergency insurance for this population, which could be even more costly than the ACA. …
Steps To Stabilize The Exchanges Difficult To Enact
… The Obama administration has paid exchange insurers to reduce the level of cost-sharing for exchange enrollees with incomes below 250 percent of the federal poverty line. …
… Reinsurance is funded by a tax on insurers, with $20 billion in the first two years going to fund the program and $5 billion to go toward deficit reduction. Faced with a shortfall in revenue collection, the Obama administration used all of the funds for reinsurance and none for deficit reduction. …
A third… …the Trump administration might broaden the criteria used to exempt individuals from the penalty…
– Full and clear funding of the cost-sharing subsidies. …
– Funding and Extension of Insurance Risk Mitigation Features of the ACA. …
– Maintain the individual mandate’s tax penalties until the replacement plan is fully operational. …
… Until a new insurance structure is put in place, Americans without access to employer coverage have no other choice but to get coverage from ACA-regulated plans. However, years of GOP rhetoric denouncing the individual mandate, the subsidies for insurance companies, and excessive spending of the ACA will make it difficult for Republicans to pass a bill that includes the kinds of provisions that are needed to stabilize the existing market, even temporarily. …
Passing ‘Replace’ Becomes Much Harder Politically After Repeal
…the reconciliation bill…would have lowered federal spending by $1.4 trillion over 10 years, and reduced taxes by $1.1 trillion over the same period. The net effect would have been to lower the deficit by $317 billion over a decade.
… A replacement bill that provided assistance to low-income households, through either Medicaid or a refundable tax credit, would necessarily increase spending relative to the post-repeal baseline. For many in the GOP, it could be very difficult to vote for a bill that would increase spending by a few hundred billion dollars relative to the post-repeal baseline, even if the overall cost would be less than the ACA.
…cuts in Medicare and Medicaid are controversial, even among Republicans. … It seems certain that whatever is done will leave a replacement plan with far less budgetary space to work with…
The Plan To Pass Replace In Steps Signals There Is No Plan
News stories suggest Congress is considering moving forward with a replacement plan in a series of smaller bills rather than one big bill. This is a signal that Republicans in Congress may not have a clear vision of what they want to do.
…it is necessary to put together a coherent series of policies across Medicaid, employer-sponsored insurance, and the non-group insurance market. …

Paying for an ACA replacement becomes near impossible if the law’s tax increases are repealed (12/19/2016) | Loren Adler and Paul Ginsburg @BrookingsEcon
…repealing the ACA before replacing it would cause significant disruption in the individual health insurance market and risk imploding the market altogether if no replacement emerges – all but ensuring that millions of Americans who purchase their own insurance (many of whom had insurance pre-ACA) will become uninsured. …
TAX CUTS WILL ACCELERATE THE EXHAUSTION OF MEDICARE’S TRUST FUND
Specifically, the reconciliation repeal bill from earlier this year eliminated $680 billion (over ten years) of taxes on high-income households and the health care industry (e.g., insurers, device manufactures, and drug companies). In addition to increasing deficits, by rescinding the 0.9% Hospital Insurance Trust Fund payroll tax on wages above $200,000, these tax cuts would also accelerate the exhaustion of Medicare’s Part A Trust Fund by four years, from 2028 to 2024.
NOT ENOUGH MONEY LEFT FOR REPLACEMENT AFTER REPEALING THE ACA’S TAXES
…it would net roughly $500 billion in deficit reduction over the ten-year budget window. Lawmakers would likely create an “ACA replacement fund” with the bill’s deficit reduction – a sort of piggybank that they could subsequently tap into to pay for a replacement plan. It’s unclear how well this approach adheres to Congressional rules, but it is similar to how the “Medicare Improvement Fund” or “SGR Transition Fund” banked savings from one bill to help pay for increased Medicare spending in the form of “doc fixes”…
… Consequently, only about 40 percent of the $1.24 trillion cost of the ACA’s coverage expansion from 2019-2026 would be available.
… First, given recent budget scoring changes, lawmakers will likely count the roughly $200 billion of additional dynamic savings that ACA repeal produces (that is, CBO estimates that ACA repeal would slightly increase economic growth, and in turn revenues). …
Altogether, then, this relatively aggressive course of action could generate roughly $850 billion to fund an ACA replacement plan, still only two-thirds as much funding for coverage expansion as under the ACA. …
RECONCILIATION REPEAL BILL ALREADY INCREASES LONG-TERM DEFICITS
While the reconciliation ACA repeal and delay bill reduces deficits by roughly $500 billion in the first decade, it would actually begin adding to deficits around 2035 and be scored by CBO as increasing debt over the long run. This result occurs because the revenue lost from the bill’s tax cuts grows significantly faster than the savings from eliminating the ACA’s coverage provisions, although this is primarily due to one provision, the Cadillac tax on high-cost employer-provided health insurance plans. …

How to create TrumpCare and make it great (12/6/2016) | Alice M. Rivlin @thehill @BrookingsEcon
… Fortunately, the basic structure of the existing law features consumer choice among competing private health plans, which many Republican plans also espouse. This should give the framework strong appeal to market-oriented Republicans — once it no longer has President Obama’s name on it. ObamaCare offers those who do not have affordable coverage from their employment or other sources a range of choices on electronic marketplaces and income-related subsidies through the tax system to help them pay for their chosen plan. …
… But these popular features of current law, plus rules against charging older people more than triple the rate for younger ones made the Obamacare marketplaces difficult to sustain without repairs. …
… Republicans also complained that the law required covering benefits that not everyone needed (single men don’t want maternity coverage), did not allow bare-bones protection only against medical catastrophes, and did not give states flexibility to use their Medicaid funds to fund innovative solutions to achieving broader insurance coverage. …
… The challenge for the new team will be to craft a deal that relaxes the age rules to make it more attractive for younger, healthier people to buy at least bare-bones insurance and gives them strong incentives to enroll without an actual mandate; allows insurance companies to make at least a modest profit by off-loading some of the costs of the very sick onto subsidized reinsurance or high risk pools; and gives people who live in sparsely populated rural areas more options at affordable cost. …
… Interstate compacts to broaden insurance pools across state lines might play a role in cracking the perennial problem of covering rural areas, and other Republican favorites, such as health savings accounts and medical malpractice reform, should also be part of the package. …
…namely capping the exclusion of employer-paid health insurance benefits from taxable income…

Keeping tabs on a potential ACA repeal: Three questions to watch (11/15/2016) | @mollyereynolds @BrookingsGov
Do Republicans lay the necessary groundwork for a quick move in January?
…whether congressional Republicans actually adopt it in either the lame duck or early January will be a key signal of how quickly they plan to move.
Do Republicans follow the template from the 2015–16 “test drive”?
… Among the constraints created by the Byrd Rule are requirements that provisions are not “merely incidental” to deficit reduction, with the definition of “merely incidental” adjudicated by the Senate Parliamentarian. …
A second useful marker of how assertive Republicans intend to be involves the Medicaid expansion. …
How long do Republicans give themselves to come up with a replacement?
… Of the process of developing the plan, one Republican congressman said, “if you live in the Republican conference… I don’t think Jesus could get everyone to agree on everything.” …

Solving surprise medical bills (w PDF; 10/13/2016) | Mark Hall, Paul Ginsburg, Steven M. Lieberman, Loren Adler, Caitlin Brandt, and Margaret Darling @BrookingsEcon & @SchaefferCenter


US Policy Changes Vol.47 (Miscellaneous Vol.5 – political dysfunction)

Here is an article on political dysfunction: TWENTIETH-CENTURY REMEDIES (PDF; 2014) | STEPHEN SKOWRONEK @Yale @BU_Law,@BULawReview. Excerpt is on our own.

American history shows us that when governmental processes appear to break down, old institutions can be redeployed to operate in new ways, and new institutions can be built around them to reorient the work of the whole.
In the early years of the twentieth century, reformers overcame widespread fears of governmental dysfunction by redeploying the presidency; their solutions to the newly emergent problems of governing under the Constitution worked around new conceptions of presidential leadership. …

INTRODUCTION
Political dysfunction is not a new concern. …
The progressives responded to the crisis of governability in their day by redeploying the institutions embedded in the constitutional framework, especially the presidency. …
In recent years, much has been made of the misalignment of institutional forms and reform aspirations that followed in the wake of the progressive turn. …
… The question is whether we should expect any remedy improvised pragmatically in midstream to suffice indefinitely. … One model cast the President as an agent of democratic transformation, a leader who could be counted upon periodically to break through the knot of interests protected by the Constitution, thereby opening the government to new possibilities and revitalizing the political system at large. The other model cast the President as a policy entrepreneur, a political facilitator who would bring together actors across dispersed and relatively independent institutions to orchestrate timely responses to national problems as they arose. …
…undertaken simultaneously, for example, during the New Deal and the Great Society. But facilitating policy is not the same thing as transforming the polity. …
… Obama came to the presidency steeped in the progressive tradition, and his rise to power joined together the progressives’ twin aspirations for political leadership. …

I. COMPETING ASPIRATIONS FOR A PROGRESSIVE PRESIDENCY
At the beginning of the twentieth century, the progressive historian Henry Jones Ford described presidential leadership as “the work of the people, breaking through the constitutional form.” Ford perceived a paradox in the Constitution’s framing. The Framers fashioned the presidency as a conservative counterweight to congressional impulsiveness but, by worrying so much about the power of Congress, they inadvertently constructed an institution able to deploy itself to achieve purposes far more unsettling than the congressional purposes the Framers initially feared. Ford extrapolated from the examples of Presidents Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln, suggesting that the two apparent anomalies of presidential leadership in the nineteenth century were similar to one another, and that their similarities might serve as a model for democratic transformation in the twentieth century.
… During the New Deal Era, President Franklin D. Roosevelt exemplified Ford’s theory of presidential power, and the promise of presidentially led political breakthroughs imprinted itself indelibly on the American imagination. … Faith in the presidency’s regenerative capacity was revived at the end of the twentieth century in agitation on behalf of a Reagan “Revolution.” President Obama himself nodded to the Reagan Administration’s exemplification of reconstructive leadership. …
… Jackson’s destruction of the National Bank and Lincoln’s eradication of slavery eliminated the institutions that supported the old governing elite. Opening the government to previously excluded interests and concerns, and changing the trajectory of affairs, hinged on outright repudiation of a prior constitutional settlement. …
… President Roosevelt railed against intransigent justices and economic royalists in the old Jacksonian style, but beyond that, the parallels were already beginning to strain. Unlike Jackson or Lincoln, Roosevelt could not get rid of the institutions against which he arrayed himself. …and in his efforts to set the terms for their incorporation into his new order… he repeatedly went down to defeat. …
… Government is rearranged and reoriented by breaking up the infrastructure that supports the politics of the past. Renewal is achieved by cutting deeply enough through extant arrangements of government to reset the standards of legitimate national action. Dysfunction is resolved by restructuring the government’s basic mode of operations and installing within those operations a new common sense about the government’s purposes. …
… The Affordable Care Act of 201025 (ACA) is rightly considered a historic achievement, but threading the needle on healthcare reform has also become emblematic of the distinction I am drawing, the distinction between negotiating a policy fix for a pressing national problem and releasing the government from ingrained constraints. …

II. PRESIDENT OBAMA’S CHOICE
… But notwithstanding the alignment of so many of the trappings of a presidentially led political reconstruction, President Obama, even more than President Reagan, shied away from any attempt at ground clearing. …
… Obama perceived this new reality – the reality that, for all intents and purposes, the interdependence of interests has rendered the reconstructive option counterproductive, that the value of “ruthless pragmatism” has supplanted the value of resolute insurgency, that we were “all in this together.”
…twentieth-century government was built on the counsels of rationality and managerial responsibility, …respect for these siren songs preempts a fundamental redirection of affairs. …
With the insurgents’ rejection of collaboration and cooperation, the objectives of presidential leadership in the problem-solving mode have grown even murkier. President Obama, with his initiatives blocked on all fronts, has begun to match his opponents’ resistance by stiffening his own repudiative posture. His second term appears to be devoted to stigmatizing conservative intransigence as irrational and untenable, thereby abetting the insurgency’s implosion. In this, Obama has crystallized a new, curiously defensive form of progressivism. …

CONCLUSION
…the frustration of transformative ambitions appears to have deepened the cultural appeal of the reconstructive ideal, even as that appeal is being registered in increasingly wild and dangerous delusions. Barack Obama may be correct that, as a practical matter, threading the policy needle is the best a President today has to offer, but he stretches to convince us that a new, more vital regime can be created without action aimed directly at the institutional structure of interest representation. …
… What we face today is the exhaustion of an old remedy. … The question to be confronted today is whether the mechanisms upon which we have relied historically for negotiating transitions are still effective and whether they still portend a reasonable resolution of the challenges we face. …
If the goal is to renew American government once again, faith in the presidency appears unlikely to suffice. The reformers of the twentieth century should instruct us by example, not by prescription. The challenge is to do again what they did: to conjure some new mechanism for working through dysfunction and to reconfigure our institutions so as to bypass the limitations of the old.


US Policy Changes Vol.41 (Deregulation/Reform Vol.6 – Finance, Federal Reserve)

Here are articles on financial deregulation, and reforms of the Federal Reserve System and the International Monetary System. Excerpts are on our own.

Adapting regulation for the FinTech world (12/4/2016) | @Aarondklein @RegBlog @BrookingsEcon
With the stroke of a pen, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) quietly modernized regulations associated with a 38-year-old law to bring consumer safeguards to today’s mobile world.
…wide-ranging protections to pre-paid cardholders. …protections to cover electronic person-to-person payments, like those made via PayPal.
Congress solved this problem by enacting the Electronic Funds Transfer Act of 1978 (EFTA). The Act offered a straightforward solution: clear guidelines assigned liabilities to the parties regarding their rights and responsibilities concerning this new piece of property, the debit card. EFTA, and its associated regulations, assigned limited liability to consumers of between $50 and $500, assuming that the consumers reported their loss in a responsible and timely manner. Banks assumed substantial liability, which subsequently motivated them to create secure networks with robust fraud detection.
… In the Coasean world, the proper role of government is to assign property rights clearly, allow them to be traded, and then get out of the way. Relying upon several key assumptions of perfect information and no transaction costs, Coase theorized that the market would efficiently sort out the rest. While the real world often violates these assumptions, the Coase Theorem is practical enough to rank among the most cited economic theories. In the case of assigning liability and property rights for financial transactions, Coase’s ideas have worked remarkably well.
…the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. First, the legislation explicitly brings remittances into the EFTA framework. I worked on this section of Dodd-Frank both prior to and during its enactment. By including remittances, EFTA expanded to cover transactions that occur outside of the banking system and traditional consumer accounts. Dodd-Frank also moved responsibility for EFTA from The Federal Reserve to the CFPB. …
… Use of these cards reportedly has grown from $1 billion in 2003, to $40 billion in 2010, and researchers expect pre-paid cards will generate $100 billion this year. …
Moving money is all about trust. Markets work more efficiently when consumers, businesses, payment processors, and financial institutions all trust each other. The CFPB’s actions in modernizing EFTA regulations marks an important step forward in creating a regulatory regime that enhances trust, provides the legal and regulatory framework to assign rights and responsibilities, and allows the market to work and innovate. …

Message to the candidates: Hands off the Federal Reserve (10/25/2016) | Alan Blinder @BrookingsEcon

The international monetary system: Is it fit for purpose? – To fix the international monetary system, first get domestic policies right (w PDF; 10/5/2016) | @EswarSPrasad @BrookingsEcon
1.1 WHAT’S THE ISSUE?
1.2 WHAT’S THE DEBATE?
1.3 WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR?

The Challenge of Central Banking in a Democratic Society (12/5/1996) | Alan Greenspan – 1996 Francis Boyer Lecture @AEI Annual Dinner
… William Jennings Bryan… “…you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.” …
… The experiences with paper money during the Revolutionary War were decidedly inauspicious. “Not worth a Continental” was scarcely the epithet one would wish on a medium of exchange. This moved Alexander Hamilton, with some controversy, to press for legislation that established the soundness of the credit of the United States by assuming, and ultimately repaying, the war debts not only of the fledgling federal government, but of the states as well. Equally controversial was the chartering of the First Bank of the United States…
…endeavored to restrict state bank credit expansion when it appeared inordinate, by gathering bank notes and tendering them for specie. This reduced the reserve base and the ability of the fledgling American banking system to expand credit. The issue of states’ rights and concern about the power of the central government reflected the free wheeling individualism of that time. The Second Bank was a major issue of the election of 1832. …
After the Civil War, redemption of the paper greenbacks issued during the war brought an era of a gold-standard induced deflation…
…the rural-based pressures for a more elastic currency did not diminish and ultimately were reflected, in part, in the creation of the Federal Reserve.
Nonetheless, many of the proponents of banking reform in the 1890s, and in the aftermath of the Panic of 1907, were suspicious of creating a central bank. In very large measure, those concerns underlay the various threads of reform that were joined together in the design and creation of the Federal Reserve System in 1913. …
The world changed markedly with the advent of the Great Depression of the 1930s, and the evisceration of the gold standard. …
… The 1970s saw inflation and unemployment simultaneously at relatively elevated levels for some time. The notion that this could occur was nowhere to be found in the conventional wisdom…
… Monetarism, and new insights into the effects of anticipatory expectations on economic activity and price setting, competed strongly against the traditional Keynesianism. …
… That inflation could reduce employment was a highly controversial subject in the mid-1970s when introduced into communique language drafts. … Today in similar communiques such language is accepted boiler plate and rarely the focus of discussion. …
… It is generally recognized and appreciated that if the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy decisions were subject to Congressional or Presidential override, short-term political forces would soon dominate. …
Because monetary policy works with a lag, we need to be forward looking, taking actions to forestall imbalances that may not be visible for many months. …
Augmenting concerns about the Federal Reserve is the perception that we are a secretive organization, operating behind closed doors, not always in the interests of the nation as a whole. This is regrettable, and we continuously strive to alter this misperception.
… We have recently commenced to announce all policy actions immediately, federal funds rate changes as well as discount rate changes, and have expanded the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee.
… Inflation concerns were not a dominant factor in economic forecasting in the 1950s and early 1960s, for example. Since the late 1970s, however, such concerns have become an important element in policy-making. …
…during the decades of the 1970s and 1980s, trends in money supply, first M1, then M2, were useful guides. …
Unfortunately, money supply trends veered off path several years ago as a useful summary of the overall economy. …
… As we seek price stability and maximum sustainable growth, the changing economic structures constantly present more analytic challenges.
…we will remain as the guardian of the purchasing power of the dollar. But one factor that will continue to complicate that task is the increasing difficulty of pinning down the notion of what constitutes a stable general price level.
… We as central bankers need not be concerned if a collapsing financial asset bubble does not threaten to impair the real economy, its production, jobs, and price stability. … But we should not underestimate or become complacent about the complexity of the interactions of asset markets and the economy. Thus, evaluating shifts in balance sheets generally, and in asset prices particularly, must be an integral part of the development of monetary policy.
The rapidly changing technologies of recent years… …where specific priced services have become effectively and competitively provided by private sector suppliers, the Federal Reserve needs to reassess whether the extent of our participation in those services fulfills a reasonable public purpose. …
Finally, the substantial changes under way in bank risk management are pressing us to continuously alter our modes of supervision and regulation to keep them as effective and efficient as possible.
… Recent mini-crises have identified the rapidly mushrooming payments system as the most vulnerable area of potential danger. …we have endeavored in recent years, as the demands on our system have escalated (we clear $1-1/2 trillion a day on Fedwire), to build in significant safety redundancies. …
A democratic society requires a stable and effectively functioning economy. …


Canada Vol.13 (Nova Scotia Vol.2 – economy)