Ripon Forum - August 2020

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The man who beat Steve King.

August 2020 Volume 54, No. 3

MODERNIZING U.S. ENERGY POLICY Lisa Murkowski explains why this time of crisis should be a moment of reform. Plus: Danielle Butcher explains why climate change is fact, not fiction, to young Republicans, and Carlos Curbelo makes the case for a carbon tax.


Why Masks are essential & distance remains our best defense. And, college in the age of corona -- will it ever be the same? With essays by Dr. Eric Toner, Rick Hess & others.

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“Ideas that matter, since 1965.“ Volume 54, Number 3 Cover Story

COVID-19 Status Report (cont’d.)


Modernizing U.S. Energy Policy By Lisa Murkowski As America continues its fight against the coronavirus amidst a struggling economy, the Alaska Senator argues that Congress should make this time of crisis a moment of reform.


Creating a Trusted and Unified Contact Tracing Strategy By Pollyanna Sanderson As COVID-19 rates rise across the U.S., it is becoming clearer that digital contact tracing tools could help alleviate the crisis.

To Young Republicans, Climate Change is Fact, Not Fiction By Danielle Butcher Polling has revealed that addressing humancaused climate change is not a fringe concern among young members of the GOP, but one that many feel quite strongly about.


Saving Our Economy: Are Taxpayers Getting Their Money’s Worth? By Adam Michel If Congress determines more aid for individuals is necessary, it should be targeted to those who need it most.


Is the Time Right to Cut the Payroll Tax? By Karl Smith Several months into the current crisis, the case for reducing the payroll tax as a way to reboot the economy is nuanced at best.


A Smart Investment to Fuel Economic Growth By John Robert Smith An infrastructure plan with a strict focus on repair could help put people back to work while fixing a perpetual source of frustration.


Democracies Must Work Together in the Fight Against COVID-19 By Thomas E. Garrett As the world confronts the pandemic, it is critical that the democratic nations of the world keep our shared principles in mind moving forward.

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Climate Change is Inevitable, Good Policy is Critical By Carlos Curbelo According to this former GOP Congressman from Florida, climate change is not political but inevitable, and voters increasingly expect their elected leaders to respond in kind.

Status Report: The Fight Against COVID-19 12


Wear a Mask, Maintain Distance, and Avoid Crowds By Eric Toner, MD In the coming months, our success in battling the pandemic will come down to some basic steps that every American can and must take. College in the Age of Corona: Will it Ever Be the Same? By Frederick M. Hess With college students preparing for class this Fall, college leaders need to look ahead with a sense of urgency and imagination.

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In this Edition News & Events Ripon Profile - Randy Feenstra of Iowa

The Ripon Forum (ISSN 0035-5526) is published by The Ripon Society. The Ripon Society is located at 1155 15th Street, NW, Ste. 550 Washington, DC 20005.

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THE RIPON SOCIETY HONORARY CONGRESSIONAL ADVISORY BOARD U.S. Senators: Shelley Moore Capito - Senate Co-Chair Cory Gardner - Senate Co-Chair Marsha Blackburn Roy Blunt Richard Burr Bill Cassidy, M.D. Susan M. Collins Steve Daines Joni Ernst Deb Fischer John Hoeven Jerry Moran Pat Roberts Mike Rounds Thom Tillis Roger Wicker Todd Young U.S. Representatives: Susan W. Brooks - House Co-Chair Rodney Davis - House Co-Chair Greg Walden - House Co-Chair Jackie Walorski - House Co-Chair Martha Roby - Vice Chair, South Darin LaHood - Vice Chair, Midwest Mike Kelly - Vice Chair, Northeast Dan Newhouse - Vice Chair, West Frank Lucas - Vice Chair, Southwest Mark Amodei Don Bacon Troy Balderson Andy Barr Vern Buchanan Larry Bucshon, M.D. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. Ken Calvert Buddy Carter Tom Cole Doug Collins Paul Cook Tom Emmer Ron Estes Brian Fitzpatrick Bill Flores Kay Granger Sam Graves French Hill Bill Huizenga Bill Johnson Dave Joyce John Katko Adam Kinzinger Bob Latta Billy Long Kevin McCarthy Michael McCaul Cathy McMorris Rodgers Paul Mitchell John Moolenaar John Ratcliffe Tom Reed Tom Rice Steve Scalise John Shimkus Pete Stauber Steve Stivers Glenn “GT” Thompson Mac Thornberry Mike Turner Fred Upton Brad Wenstrup Steve Womack

In this edition

With the COVID-19 pandemic having no end in sight, the focus of our elected leaders in Washington has primarily been on stabilizing the economy until an effective treatment and vaccine can be found. But some leaders on Capitol Hill also believe that in addition to stabilizing our economy, we should seek ways in which we can modernize it. Lisa Murkowski is one of those leaders. Over the past 12 months, the Alaska Senator — who serves as Chair of the Committee on Energy & Natural Resources — has been holding a series of hearings, business meetings, and bipartisan negotiations aimed at exploring ways that U.S. energy policies can be updated and brought in line with the needs of the American economy and the American people today. The result of these hearings and negotiations is the American Energy Innovation Act (AEIA). Authored by Murkowski and her Committee Co-Chair, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, the plan is a compilation of more than 50 energy-related measures considered and individually reported by the Energy and Natural Resources panel last year that will strengthen our domestic economy, national security, and international competitiveness while facilitating cleaner energy that protects human health and the global environment. Murkowski writes about this landmark proposal in this edition of The Ripon Forum, and explains why this time of crisis should also be a moment of reform. “Whenever crisis hits,” the veteran lawmaker writes, “we have a tendency to reach for whatever is on the shelf. In the case of the coronavirus, there wasn’t much on the shelf to help. But we are now some five months into the pandemic and the economic catastrophe which followed. There are things we can do to help build a stronger future for our nation, and many relate to energy policy.” The American Energy Innovation Act includes measures that have been sponsored in one form or another by 72 Senators. It is also supported by a wide array of outside groups and organizations. One of those organizations is the American Conservation Coalition, an organization that engages young conservatives on environmental issues. “One key way to lead the way forward on a new climate change strategy is by advancing both energy innovation and diversity in energy sources,” writes ACC Executive Vice President & CEO Danielle Butcher in this edition of the Forum. The American Energy Innovation Act, she stated, “would directly work to advance an innovation-based approach to clean energy while also strengthening our domestic economy and national security.” Former Congressman Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) is another conservative pushing for a reset in U.S. energy policies. “We have to recognize that previous economic growth is correlated to increased greenhouse gas emissions and that we will need to break this relationship by first understanding the costs of emitting greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere,” Curbelo writes in an essay.” In addition to looking at how Congress can reset the U.S. economy in the area of energy, this latest edition of the Forum also provides a status report on the battle against the coronavirus and the effort to get our suppressed economy off the ground. Dr. Eric Toner of Johns Hopkins leads our coverage in this regard with an essay about the continuing spread of the virus and why masks and distance remains our best defense. American Enterprise Institute scholar and frequent Forum contributor Rick Hess provides another insightful assessment on the state of education in America and, specifically, how college life may look like in this age of the coronavirus. Pollyanna Sanderson of the Future of Privacy Forum writes about the importance of contact tracing in fighting COVID-19, while, in a pair of essays, Adam Michel of the Heritage Foundation and Karl Smith of the Tax Foundation examine the effort to restart the economy. Transportation for America Chairman John Robert Smith explains why repairs to the nation’s infrastructure would be a smart investment that fuels economic growth, and Tom Garrett, the Secretary General of the Community of Democracies talks about the importance of democracies working together to fight the pandemic and the mission of his organization, which marked its 20th anniversary this year. And in our latest Ripon Profile, we talk to business professor and State Senator Randy Feenstra, who captured the Republican nomination in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District and, in doing so, became known in Washington as the man who beat Steve King. As always, we hope you enjoy this edition of the Forum, and welcome any questions or comments you may have. Lou Zickar Editor of The Ripon Forum RIPON FORUM August 2020


Cover Story

MODERNIZING U.S. ENERGY POLICY Why this time of crisis should be a moment of reform. by LISA MURKOWSKI

Whenever crisis hits, we have a tendency to reach for whatever is on the shelf. In the case of the coronavirus, there wasn’t much on the shelf to help. But we are now some five months into the pandemic and the economic catastrophe which followed. There are things we can do to help build a stronger future for our nation, and many relate to energy policy. A good candidate is the American Energy Innovation Act – a bill that I wrote over the course of 2019 with Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and the members of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Nearly everything within our bill has strong bipartisan support. In total, it comprises more than 50 individual measures sponsored in some form or another 4

by 72 Senators. Few legislative initiatives can cite numbers like that. The goals of our bill are simple: to make energy cleaner, to make clean energy cheaper, to strengthen our security, and to increase American competitiveness. Individual provisions would: improve the efficiency of schools and data centers; promote weatherization and smart buildings; and, support renewables, energy storage, carbon capture, advanced nuclear, industrial and vehicle technologies, and high-performance computing. Our bill also tackles additional challenges facing the United States. The domestic minerals supply chain should be universally recognized as an economic

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and security priority, while improvements must also Stepping back from the current crisis, our bill be made in cybersecurity, grid modernization, and represents a decade-long effort to modernize the legal workforce development. frameworks surrounding U.S. energy policy. The truth Americans would benefit from the swift passage of is that a lot has happened in the last 12 years, and our legislation to modernize federal energy policy. Amid nation’s energy policies don’t reflect our current reality. crushing unemployment, stressed or even fractured The last major energy bill became law in 2007 – supply chains, and international competition as intense when George W. Bush was President, and just a few as ever before, the U.S. energy renaissance could once months after the very first iPhone was released. At the again jumpstart the economy. Our bill would help keep time, we were heavily dependent on foreign oil and energy prices low for families and businesses while gas and the cost of many renewables was prohibitively incentivizing innovation, reducing the greenhouse gas high. emissions that worsen climate change, and allowing us Since then, we’ve experienced a shale revolution to compete for the industries of the future. that turned America into an energy superpower and Consider the specific case of advanced nuclear net exporter for the first time in generations. That energy technologies. While nuclear plants operating renaissance began with the true grit of American across the United States provide much of the grid’s wildcatters employing American technologies on backbone – or “baseload” American oil and gas fields. It power – it has become will not end with the pandemic, extremely difficult to site but nor will hydrocarbons be Amid crushing and construct new large-scale its final chapter. The costs unemployment, stressed plants. (This is true of many of renewables have declined major infrastructure projects, dramatically, and new or even fractured supply sadly, which languish in the technologies, such as energy chains, and international regulatory docket and too storage and carbon capture, competition as intense as often die in the courtroom.) are emerging. Our policies The future of nuclear have not kept pace with reality ever before, the U.S. energy energy lies in innovative a way that allows us to renaissance could once again in reactor concepts being take full advantage of those jumpstart the economy. developed at cutting-edge technologies or to address startups, national laboratories, looming challenges. and leading American Horse-and-buggy statutes universities. These reactors are safer, scalable, and that in some cases prescribe the activities of government will provide clean and reliable energy for everything agencies that no longer exist must be revisited. Nobody from military bases to remote Alaska villages. The would wait 12 years to refresh a webpage. American innovation that goes into them supports highly paid, energy, which occupies a central position in the U.S. highly skilled, forward-looking jobs. It is also the best economy, also deserves a refresh. way we can compete with the Russians and Chinese, Our energy bill made it through the committee who have captured the global market for conventional process and to the Senate floor at the end of February, nuclear projects and are prioritizing their own advanced just as the pandemic took hold. Our bill is supported nuclear technologies. We simply must compete and win. by more than 200 organizations, ranging from the U.S. We should also recognize the essential nature of Chamber of Commerce to The Nature Conservancy. energy, which is often ignored or taken for granted. Physicists define energy as “the capacity to do work,” Energy is, all at once, a finished product, a feedstock, a and we desperately need to get America back to work. raw material, an input, an output, a value-added good, a Enacting our bipartisan energy bill can help – both now and natural resource, a tradable commodity, and a precious well into what would be a decidedly brighter future. RF asset. It is critical infrastructure and emergency reserves, financial collateral and competitive exports, and a valued Lisa Murkowski is the Senior U.S. Senator from the State source of high-paying and high-skilled jobs. I often boil of Alaska. She serves as Chairman of the Committee on it down by simply reiterating that “energy is good.” Energy and Natural Resources.

“Ideas that matter, since 1965.“

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AMERICAN ENERGY INNOVATION ACT Modern Policy for Modern Energy

“Our bill would help keep energy prices low while incentivizing innovation, reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that worsen climate change, and allowing us to compete for the industries of the future.” Lisa Murkowski Summary S. 2657, the American Energy Innovation Act (AEIA), is a compilation of more than 50 energy-related measures considered and individually reported by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee (ENR) last year. Developed under the leadership of Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Ranking Member Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), AEIA will strengthen our domestic economy, national security, and international competitiveness while facilitating cleaner energy that protects human health and the global environment. Policy Highlights Keeping Energy Affordable – Our economy grows, and American families and businesses benefit, when energy prices are reasonable. While current market conditions have ushered in historically low prices for many resources, technological innovation made that possible and it is critical to plan for the future. With the world projected to use nearly 50 percent more energy by 2050, continued innovation is key to keeping energy affordable, and AEIA recognizes that both government and industry have important roles to play. Making Energy Cleaner – AEIA will help keep energy affordable and simultaneously deliver what Americans want – cleaner energy that is better for human health and the environment. Instead of costly mandates or tax increases, AEIA takes a technology-oriented but technology-neutral approach that will boost energy efficiency and lead to the development of a wide range of low and zero-emissions energy options. This will lead to cleaner air, cleaner water, and help reduce the impacts of climate change. Strengthening Our Security – Innovation helped America overcome its foreign oil dependence but our mineral, cyber, and grid security all remain critical threats. AEIA recognizes that a supply chain disruption or a cyberattack, particularly on the electric grid, could have devastating consequences and takes meaningful steps to protect Americans against them. Increasing Our Competitiveness – The strength of our economy is determined by our ability to compete with nations around the world. While often taken for granted, a steady supply of energy and raw materials is fundamental to our ability to grow and prosper. AEIA will help ensure that American manufacturers can utilize domestic energy and materials for their products – and it will help ensure those resources are produced safely and responsibly by a well-trained and highlyskilled workforce. SOURCE: Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.


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To Young Republicans, Climate Change Is Fact, Not Fiction by DANIELLE BUTCHER The Republican Party has resoundingly rejected Republicans are looking for sustainable, common sense outlandish policy proposals born out of climate change solutions to combat climate change. They do not want alarmism, chiefly the Green New Deal. Rejecting the to be forced to choose between a strong economy and heavy-handed and burdensome tactics of these policy lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Luckily, that is a fixes was certainly the correct choice, but in rejecting false dichotomy. The Republican Party has a golden opportunity to the strategy of these proposals, the GOP has developed a proclivity toward treating climate change as fiction, lead in the green space. Not only is addressing the issue important if the GOP wants to disregarding a key voting bloc retain younger voters, but there that is concerned about the issue: has never been a better time young Republicans. to present a new way forward. Polling has revealed that Instead of relying on the same addressing human-caused climate government-led, economically change is not a fringe concern unsound approach, Republicans among young Republicans, but can present policy options that one that many feel quite strongly position the United States as about. A recent poll of voters an economic leader as well as between the ages of 18 and 35 environmental leader. conducted by my organization, One key way to lead the the American Conservation way forward on a new climate Coalition, found that 77 percent change strategy is by advancing of right-leaning young voters both energy innovation and consider climate change an issue Danielle Butcher diversity in energy sources, a that is personally important to winning issue among young them. More than 50 percent of Republicans.The American Polling has revealed that those right-leaning voters said Energy Innovation Act (AEIA), that the topic of climate change addressing human-caused recently introduced in the would impact how they voted in climate change is not a U.S. Senate, is a package of 2020. more than fifty energy-related fringe concern among Additional polling by the measures that would directly Pew Research Center echoes young Republicans, but work to advance an innovationthis message. Among young one that many feel quite based approach to clean energy Republicans, 52 percent think while also strengthening the federal government is doing strongly about. our domestic economy and too little to combat the impact national security. Senator Lisa of climate change. There is even more support for the development of alternative energy Murkowski (R-AK), one of the driving forces behind the sources, with 78 percent of young Republicans behind package, stated: “This bill is our best chance to modernize our the idea. However, 46 percent of these same young Republicans are concerned that environmental policy nation’s energy policies in more than 12 years. By working together to pass it into law, we can promote could have a harmful impact on the economy. It is evident that if Republicans do not take a range of emerging technologies that will help keep addressing climate change seriously, they are at risk energy affordable even as it becomes cleaner and cleaner. of completely losing young voters. But these young Our bill also addresses national needs by taking overdue voters are also looking for policy proposals that are steps to enhance our cybersecurity, grid security, and different from those being put forth by the left. Young mineral security.� 8

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Another important pillar of a sustainable approach retain us as voters, party leaders and elected officials to climate change is reducing the amount of carbon must act now and seize the opportunity to lead the way already in our atmosphere. Trees are an excellent forward with innovative climate solutions. example of this in the natural world, but this can be There is undoubtedly a path forward that does expanded through carbon capture and storage (CCS). not compromise our principles. Near the end of Legislation has been April, my organization introduced that would launched The American Not only is addressing the issue encourage the research Climate Contract, the and development conservative response important if the GOP wants to of carbon-negative to climate change. This retain younger voters, but there has proposal promotes a technology. Other pieces of legislation encourage market-based strategy, never been a better time to present the protection and fueled by innovation a new way forward. restoration of natural and American ingenuity. ecosystems that capture Thousands of our young carbon, like oceans and coastal marshes. conservative allies have been mobilized by the potential Young Republicans are hungry for a new vision of a conservative climate plan because, for us, climate of climate change proposals, ones that are rooted in change is fact, not fiction. RF market-based solutions and limited, not overreaching, government. Some may tell you that we sound like Danielle Butcher is the executive vice president and Democrats. That’s simply not true. Our conservative chief operating officer at the American Conservation principles are sound, but we are clearly prioritizing Coalition, an organization that engages young environmental issues. If Republicans would like to conservatives on environmental issues.

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Climate Change is Inevitable, Good Policy is Critical by CARLOS CURBELO In this era, in which we consume information from Twitter change has become a litmus test for whether they are honest and constant breaking-news alerts, it is challenging for leaders about the challenges we face, or just honest in general. to follow and respond thoughtfully to strategic challenges. In my case, it means we have to recognize that previous The population of the United States and the world is economic growth is correlated to increased greenhouse gas growing and changing. China is emerging as a global power, emissions and that we will need to break this relationship by while the European Union shows signs of weakening. Here, first understanding the costs of emitting greenhouse gasses forecasts show a fast-growing gap between expected federal into the atmosphere. Those costs can be measured in many revenue and obligations in coming decades. ways, and we will start seeing them in coastal property values, And the world is warming. mortgage and flood insurance rates, The average global temperature has infrastructure costs, and disaster already risen 2 degrees Fahrenheit assistance costs. since 1900 and is on track to Because I am motivated by rise between 5.2 and 6 degrees standards of living, I care deeply Fahrenheit by 2100. I, along with about economic growth. It is one of all Floridians, know that as the the reasons I became a proponent of oceans warm, they expand. In fact, a carbon tax, because economists sea levels are expected to rise 43 agree it is the most efficient way to inches by 2100. And that is without reduce greenhouse gas emissions. accounting for melting glaciers and And the revenue can be used to polar icecaps. replace other taxes or fund new At its core, climate change is American infrastructure. not political. The best adjective to But that may not be the describe it is inevitable. Blame for preferred solution for everyone. And the issue is diverse, most often on deciding what policies to support fossil fuels and extractive industries. is a challenge. Meaningful climate However, I think of it more as the policies have consequences, so they We have to recognize that consequence of our common desire will be controversial. Republicans previous economic growth have now discussed and introduced a for better lives and higher standards of living which has led us to develop number of policy proposals, and we is correlated to increased resources that have unintended need to be comfortable considering greenhouse gas emissions impacts on the environment. them all and eventually embracing and that we will need to Regardless, it cannot be some of them. ignored, and I am grateful that our It is time for a sober assessment break this relationship party has moved past its two-decadeof the consequences of climate by first understanding long “experiment” with climate change. We need an equally sober the costs of emitting denialism. House Republican assessment of what we can and Leader Kevin McCarthy, along with should do to mitigate it because greenhouse gasses into Reps. Greg Walden, Fred Upton, it certainly seems like our best the atmosphere. and Garret Graves, among others, bet now is simply to limit those deserve praise for their leadership consequences. Some damage may on the issue — particularly because taking the necessary, be unavoidable. “How much” is definitely up to us. RF early steps to return our party’s orthodoxy to one focused on stewardship of the environment took political courage. Carlos Curbelo was a member of the U.S. House of But that courage will be rewarded. The majority of voters Representatives representing Florida from 2015-2019, where — especially, as Leader McCarthy likes to remind us, younger he co-founded and co-chaired the House Climate Solutions voters — want their elected leaders to lead on this issue. For Caucus, and is currently an advisor to the Alliance for Market many voters, whether elected officials acknowledge climate Solutions. 10

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Status Report: The Fight Against COVID-19

Wear a Mask, Maintain Distance, and Avoid Crowds

Three keys to staying healthy in this age of COVID-19 by ERIC S. TONER, MD

We are in the early innings of an historic and catastrophic was the remarkable success of the unprecedented effort pandemic. The world has not seen anything on the scale of the at “flattening the curve” by slowing down transmission. COVID-19 pandemic scale since at least 1918. Best estimates Literally, millions of lives have been saved! But not without are that so far only about 5-10% of the U.S. population has cost. yet been infected — meaning that 90-95% of us are still First is the cost to the economy from shutting down susceptible. We have a long way to go before the pandemic, businesses, high unemployment, and cessation of so much our response to it, and the cascading consequences from it are economic activity. The second cost is the prolongation of behind us. the outbreak. As expected, flattening As of July 20, 2020, there have the curve also stretched out the been over 3.7 million confirmed US curve. The goal was to tamp down cases from COVID-19 and 140,000 the number of cases enough that the deaths. These numbers account for healthcare system would not collapse about a quarter of the worldwide and we would have time, among other total. But these are very substantial things, to develop systems for testing undercounts. Serologic (antibody) and contact tracing so that when we testing and other careful studies in started to relax the mitigation efforts which everyone is tested, such as we would be able to rapidly identify the cruise ships, suggests the true and isolate cases, find those who have number of infections may actually been exposed, and have them selfbe 10 times higher than the number quarantine. Evidence-based criteria of confirmed cases. Furthermore, were established to guide a careful routine monitoring of all death and gradual re-opening process. In Dr. Eric Toner, MD certificates in the country shows a states where these criteria have been large and unprecedented spike in faithfully followed, there has not been The only way we deaths during the first four months of a large spike in cases. can safely reopen our the pandemic — 50% larger than the Around the world, most countries number of confirmed COVID deaths. economy is to have most have responded in the same way as the Presumably, these other deaths United States — with mask wearing, people wear masks, are also related to the pandemic, social distancing, teleworking, closing maintain distance, and either deaths due to COVID of high density businesses, cancelling infections that were never tested, large gatherings, and in most avoid crowds, coupled or people who did not seek medical countries, some form of temporary with ubiquitous testing care for unrelated problems because lockdown or stay-at-home order. that reports results in of the pandemic. But as bad as this Most countries saw the same success sounds, it could have been so much as the United States did initially. hours not days and worse. What is different, however, efficient contact tracing. Initial epidemiological forecast is the degree to which many other modeling from Imperial College countries took advantage of the time London in March indicated that without any public health the lockdowns bought them. Many countries have been able intervention to suppress the epidemic, the United States to implement robust nationwide testing and contact tracing could expect more than 2.2 million deaths over the first 100- programs and have had very high compliance rates with day wave. This model assumed a slightly higher fatality rate mask wearing and social distancing. This has enabled many than is now the consensus, but the basic message was right. to gradually reopen safely including schools, restaurants, and The difference between that model and where we are today businesses. Most of Europe, China, South Korea, Vietnam, 12

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Singapore, Taiwan and many other places are successfully managing COVID-19 cases and reopening their economies. But reopening is a delicate process. Public health officials must be extremely vigilant in looking for and responding to new cases. Governors and mayors, with the strong and unequivocal support of the federal government, must be willing to take the measures needed to pause or reverse the reopening. Some increase in cases is bound to occur when people begin to interact more, but if the requisite public health, public policy, and messaging groundwork has been laid, new cases or small outbreaks can be manageable. That is what success looks like in a pandemic like this. Until there is a widely accepted, reasonably effective vaccine, these public health interventions are all we have to prevent the uncontrolled, explosive spread of the virus. Over the last 15 years, the United States has been the world’s leader in pandemic preparedness. The strategies that other countries are using successfully were developed by our CDC. There is no excuse for the United States to be the poster child for how not to respond to a pandemic. Going forward, the only way we can safely reopen our economy is to have most people wear masks, maintain distance, and avoid crowds, coupled with ubiquitous testing that reports results in hours not days and efficient contact tracing. If we do these things, we can reopen schools and

business with appropriate modifications and get people back to work. If, on the other hand, we are not successful in these efforts, cases will soar, hospitals will become overwhelmed and governments will have no choice but to impose lockdowns again — an outcome nobody wants. Getting most people to follow the guidelines will require strong leadership from the top of government and a concerted risk communications campaign. The public service announcements now airing from health departments are good but not sufficient. We need to convince people that it is in their own enlightened self-interest to work together to stop the spread of the virus. Over the last 20 years there has been a lot of research into risk communication. Now is the time to put all that has been learned into practice. We should have messages from doctors, elected leaders, country music stars, hip-hop artists and elite athletes all reinforcing the message that the only way out of our current terrible situation is through common action: wearing masks, maintaining distance, and avoiding crowds. RF Eric S. Toner, MD, is a Senior Scholar with the Center for Health Security and Senior Scientist of Environmental Health and Engineering at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University

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College in the Age of Corona: Will It Ever be the Same? by FREDERICK M. HESS The coronavirus pandemic has upended America’s col- programs already involved a hefty online component. There’s tough sledding ahead for colleges. As Andrew leges and universities. Last spring, schools shut mid-semester, kicking students out of dorms and hurriedly moving classes Kelly, director of the Center on Higher Education Reform at online. The results were pretty dismal, with students feeling the University of North Carolina, has pointed out, colleges are ripped off and professors lost at sea. After this rocky spring, it’s likely to face an enrollment crisis, with student surveys suggesting that “colleges could face declining enrollments as high natural to wonder: What’s ahead this fall? as 20%.” On top of ongoing reveFor starters, while there’s still nue shortfalls, which the American much uncertainty, plenty of colCouncil on Education claims that leges have announced that they’ll colleges will need $34.6 billion to be going remote this fall. Instituaddress, a drop in enrollment could tions from the mammoth Cal State prove devastating for some institusystem to Harvard University have tions. told students that they’ll be taking College leaders need to look courses on their iPad — but will ahead with a sense of urgency and still be paying full freight. imagination. Meanwhile, what we For the slice of students enneed from higher education has rolled in four-year institutions, this changed, even before the pandemic. is a lousy deal indeed. After all, Originally, we needed to figure out students are typically told there are how to get experts, books, and stuthree big benefits from attending a dents together at a time when edurecognizable college or university: cated instructors were scarce, books the campus experience, the exquiwere rare, and students needed to be site academic instruction, and a Frederick M. Hess in the presence of a teacher. Now brand that offers a big leg up in the that books are plentiful and authorilabor market. Well, that campus extative lectures are all over YouTube, perience has evaporated. And stuThe case for taking on big what do we need colleges for? Well, dents are not pleased. As one surloans to attend residential for three things, at least. vey of over 3,000 college students First, to organize the flood colleges has now been found, more than three-quarters of content into coherent units of said this spring’s online instruction reduced to the hope that a knowledge, explain what’s most was unengaging and two-thirds felt piece of paper verifying that important, and ensure that students it was inferior to in-person learning. have actually learned it. Second, a student watched Zoom In short, the case for taking on big loans to attend residential colleges sessions featuring professors to aid students who are struggling by providing them guidance and has now been reduced to the hope from College X will translate support. And, third, to conduct rethat a piece of paper verifying that search and serve as lighthouses of to a better job. a student watched Zoom sessions free inquiry and civic discourse. featuring professors from College Many colleges did a lousy job X will translate to a better job. with all of this, even before the Meanwhile, for the lion’s share of students who are enrolled in two-year colleges or who are pandemic. Too many courses are disjointed or unduly narrow. not “traditional” college-goers, the picture is a little different. There’s little assurance that students have mastered essential The value of their degree relies less on faculty relationships content. Less than half of the college students actually graduor the campus experience, and more on acquiring skills and ate, partly because institutions provide insufficient guidance or documenting that they’ve acquired them. Their education support. And there’s not currently much cause to regard cammore readily shifts to an online format; indeed, many of these puses as beacons of free thought or civility. 14

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College leaders need to look ahead with a sense of urgency and imagination. Meanwhile, what we need from higher education has changed, even before the pandemic. That track record means there’s no need to presume that higher education going forward need necessarily look like traditional colleges. Online entities can provide top-shelf courses and assessments in select fields without the traditional collegiate footprint. Apprenticeships married to practical instruction can provide the kind of guidance and supports sorely lacking in most colleges. What does all this mean for public policy? Here are three places to start: First, decades of preferential treatment for the college degree have left employers nervous about relying on alternative employment criteria. But, the college degree was never designed to serve as a hiring test. This needs to be remedied, through legislation or litigation. There’s also a need for publicprivate efforts to clarify acceptable hiring practices, so that responsible employers needn’t worry about getting dragged into court. Government agencies can help by modeling what it looks like to hire on the basis of skill, qualifications, and experience — rather than based on an expensive piece of paper. Loosening the link between college degrees and employment would free students from the pressure to pay for degrees they may not want, force colleges to compete on quality, and allow

viable alternatives a fighting chance to emerge. Second, alternatives to traditional colleges need public officials to dismantle the statutory and regulatory impediments that have made it harder for them to emerge. Currently, it can be challenging for students at nontraditional education providers to utilize federal grants and loans. Meanwhile, states funnel tax dollars into traditional higher education systems, while providing little in the way of support for the establishment of new public options. They should rethink that approach. Third, state officials, like those in South Dakota did last year, should take steps to ensure that public institutions are actually serving as incubators of free inquiry and the civil exchange of ideas. After all, this is a big part of the mission for expensive, taxpayer-supported, residential colleges. If campuses can’t handle that mission responsibly, it’s time to ask whether they should continue to receive the same amount of taxpayer support. American higher education is facing a crisis that could prove to be a profound opportunity for rethinking and reinvention. Here’s hoping that college leaders and public officials are equal to the challenge. RF Frederick M. Hess is director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute.

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Creating a Trusted and Unified Contact Tracing Strategy by POLLYANNA SANDERSON As COVID-19 rates sharply increase across the United Texas, and Arizona. To help overcome these limitations, States, it is becoming clearer that digital contact tracing digital tools can supplement traditional contact tracing tools could help alleviate the crisis. In order for digital tools efforts. However, in the absence of a national contact tracing to play a role, however, we need a better national strategy to strategy, nascent digital contact tracing efforts are being undermined by a lack of interoperability and low adoption ensure adoption, trust, and interoperability. Contact tracing apps around the world are facing due to concerns about privacy, security, and effectiveness. As a first step, digital contact tracing efforts should be criticism. Some critics allege the apps are not as effective interoperable between states in as promised. Others raise concerns order to be effective over time. about privacy and security. Due As states reopen and individuals to the nascency of the proximity increasingly cross state lines tracking technology and the rush for travel or work, exposure to deployment, effectiveness is notification apps have to be able fairly unknown. But to quote to “talk to each other” — that is, Mark Twain, reports of the death for Bluetooth signals sent from of contact tracing apps are greatly one person’s device to be detected exaggerated. Specifically, early by another person’s device even reports indicate that decentralized if she or he is using a different apps based on the Apple-Google app or operating system. This can Exposure Notification API show be technically challenging and great promise as tools that could require substantial financial and bolster U.S. states’ contact engineering effort such as Googletracing efforts with the help of a Apple’s partnership to create a coordinated national strategy. Pollyanna Sanderson new Exposure Notification API for Contact tracing is a welldecentralized Bluetooth signals established epidemiological to be sent and received between method of tracking and containing As COVID-19 rates devices. the spread of a virus during a sharply increase across However, in the U.S., current pandemic. Traditionally, it works efforts are disjointed. Utah, by conducting interviews with the United States, it is North Dakota, and Rhode Island diagnosed individuals to discuss becoming clearer that have introduced their own apps their movements and interactions digital contact tracing tools that allow the user to share their so that others who may be at risk location history with a contact of exposure (such as family or could help alleviate tracer (a “centralized” model). coworkers) can be notified and take the crisis. However, these states have faced appropriate steps to self-isolate or sharp pushback over concerns quarantine. about privacy and security, and as However, traditional contact a result have low adoption rates tracing techniques are limited by COVID-19’s long asymptomatic period (10 days). A person speaking with (between 1-4%). These states are also discovering that a contact tracer will often be unable to identify the wide GPS location data is usually not precise enough to measure variety of people, including strangers, they may have person-to-person exposure, particularly indoors and in come into contact with. As shutdown orders are lifted and urban areas where risk of infection is greatest. In contrast, individuals return to work, school, and other activities in Alabama and Virginia have committed to implementing greater numbers, this is a major limitation of traditional apps that use Bluetooth signals through the Apple-Google public health methods, and we already observe COVID-19 API (a “decentralized” model). This follows the model of transmissions rising sharply in places such as Florida, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, and dozens of others. 16

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Decentralized apps are designed to broadcast rotating, randomized Bluetooth identifiers (ID’s) that can be “seen” and recorded by other nearby devices. When a person tests positive, the list of ID’s that their device broadcasted over the past 14 days can be uploaded to a server and accessed by other devices, which can compare this list to their own records and trigger an “exposure notification” for individuals who have been in proximity to the infected person. This allows exposed individuals to take appropriate actions (if they wish), while protecting privacy by avoiding any personal information becoming available to any central authority. Although some countries have experimented with Bluetooth-based apps that do not use the Google-Apple Exposure Notification API — such as Singapore, France, and Australia — these efforts have largely struggled. This is almost certainly due to technical limitations caused by privacy protections built-in to the device operating systems which prevent Bluetooth from always scanning. The API enables expanded access to Bluetooth scanning, which improves the ability for Apple and Android devices to recognize one another. These compatibility and scalability benefits are key reasons why the UK recently switched

from a centralized to a decentralized model. In contrast, early indicators suggest that countries that have adopted decentralized apps have seen higher adoption rates, fewer concerns about privacy, and greater crossborder app interoperability. For instance, in Germany and Switzerland, adoption rates are as high as 13-20%. Despite early suggestions that adoption rates need to be as high as 60%, recent research from MIT has shown that they can be impactful at lower rates. Governments around the world are turning to technology in an unprecedented manner to improve the efficiency and accuracy of contact tracing and other wellestablished methods of virus containment. Many countries have implemented detailed national strategies, including the deployment of a single exposure notification app. Deciding which model is most appropriate depends upon the challenges and needs of each public health authority. However, national leadership is necessary to avoid potentially crippling technological fragmentation in the United States. RF Pollyanna Sanderson is the Policy Counsel for the Future of Privacy Forum.

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Saving Our Economy:

Are Taxpayers Getting Their Money’s Worth? by ADAM N. MICHEL Congress has authorized more than $3.6 trillion of to retool for the post-crisis economy. Following state reopenings, employment bounced relief spending for individuals, businesses, and state governments. About half has been spent as of the beginning back faster than most economists thought possible. In May and June, U.S. businesses brought back 7.3 million jobs, of June. Much of the aid to date served as a floor for the making up about a quarter of lost employment. Amid continued public health uncertainties, it may economy to rest on while “non-essential” functions closed be necessary for Congress to or operated at reduced capacity. The provide more gradual off-ramps new aid and assistance available to new and expanded programs, through existing programs, such like unemployment, but safely as unemployment insurance, serve reopening commercial society must as temporary measures to allow continue to be the focus. public health officials to control the As the economy transitions coronavirus pandemic. from the safety net that allowed The economic recovery will states to shutter large swaths of ultimately be dictated by our ability their economies, many will call and willingness to return to work, for new policies designed to restart which necessitates an appropriately ailing industries and jumpstart scaled reopening and public employment. Past attempts at cooperation with health measures. economic stimulus show that The trillions in pandemic spending governments can’t spend their way have direct and immediate benefits into economic recovery. to the recipients, but federal aid Stimulus spending is more than cannot keep a shuttered economy Adam Michel just a waste of taxpayer dollars; on life support forever. The stimulus destroys jobs and shrinks spending will ultimately distort The economic recovery private sector growth. The 2009 incentives, which could be costly will ultimately be stimulus channeled over $500 during the recovery. million to Solyndra, only to have To keep people connected to dictated by our ability the solar manufacturer go bankrupt. their employers and businesses and willingness to Smaller projects, like a Nevada afloat, Congress created several new return to work. biomass electricity plant, shut its programs, including the popular doors after federal funding stopped, Paycheck Protection Program, a and the “cash for clunkers” program, loan program for small businesses to keep their payrolls up. However, workers face different to subsidized new vehicle purchases, simply changed when incentives. Under Congress’s expanded unemployment people bought cars, not how many they purchased. The Great Recession policies demonstrated the inability benefits, through the end of July it’s more profitable not to of government spending programs to boost private activity work than to work for as many as 3 in 4 workers. If extended, the additional $600 weekly unemployment or increase total output. The private sector, not Washington, benefit could create a more sluggish labor market, deepening must lead the economic recovery. Spending authorized by Congress to date is projected the recession and delaying the recovery by slowing workers return to employment. Businesses receiving loans and to increase debt-to-GDP levels above 100 percent by the other government subsidies, such as direct grants to the end of 2020. Higher levels of public spending and debt can airline industry and other loans to businesses, will face crowd out private investment directly, and if spending isn’t new government restrictions and public pressure against quickly brought under control, it means tax increases on changing employment levels or other decisions necessary every American are around the corner. 18

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Similarly, if Congress is going to extend additional The House of Representatives passed an additional $3.4 trillion stimulus bill in May and another $1.5 trillion aid to businesses, lawmakers should do it through infrastructure bill at the end of June. If passed into law, existing programs, targeting the aid to those businesses these “stimulus” bills would have the lasting legacy of hit hardest by closure orders and simplifying program rules for those who do need the larger debts, higher taxes, and help. slower economic recovery. Federal spending, even if The trade-off of government Past attempts at well designed, will never be an spending is, at its core, a choice economic stimulus show adequate substitute for privatebetween private activity and that governments can’t sector commerce. Temporary, government activity. In the targeted programs that provide depths of the governmentspend their way into timely aid to those in need imposed shutdowns, federal economic recovery. helped soften the most painful programs largely shifted consequences of the coronavirus private payrolls to government. shutdown. Continuing or expanding these Recent employment rebounds show the possibility programs as part of the economic reopening will not of a quicker recovery amid loosening economic create additional growth, but depress it instead. If Congress determines more aid for individuals is restrictions and the willingness of Americans to return necessary, it should be targeted to those who need it to work, restaurants, and stores. Safely returning to most. Some 142 million Americans are fortunate enough commercial and community life is the surest way to RF to have jobs still. A temporary partial federal match to ensure a healthy recovery. unemployment benefits after the $600 bonus benefits expire on July 31st would be much better targeted than Adam N. Michel is a senior policy analyst in The sending checks to every American or cutting payroll Heritage Foundation’s Roe Institute of Economic Policy Studies. taxes for individuals who still have jobs.

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Is the Time Right to Cut the Payroll Tax? by KARL SMITH When the coronavirus pandemic first hit the payroll tax suspension could boost the economy. The United States in March of this year, I recommended first is the classic supply-side effect. When you tax that Congress immediately suspend the payroll tax something you get less of it. Economists agree that for both employers and employees through the rest the burden of both the employer and employee sides of the year. My reasoning was simple. A payroll of the payroll tax fall on labor. tax suspension could be implemented immediately, Cutting the payroll tax should reduce the would reduce the cost of burden on labor and thereby keeping workers on staff, and increase total employment. put more money in the hands This is basically the analysis of workers. that Casey Mulligan — an The U.S. was facing an economics professor at the unprecedented economic and University of Chicago who health threat. We knew little served as chief economist about how the threat would for the Council of Economic unfold or how deeply the Advisers from September economy would be impacted. 2018 to August 2019 — What was clear, however, uses when he estimates that is that many businesses and suspending the payroll tax for households were going to six months would create 2.7 take an immediate hit to their million new jobs. liquidity. This type of supply-side Karl Smith In particular, businesses analysis starts by looking at would have a hard time what would happen to the holding on to their employees economy in the long-run Facing an uncertain threat, as the virus induced lockdowns after all markets have full across the country. I was also with untested tools, a adjusted. As Mulligan admits, skeptical about how quickly it is very difficult to estimate payroll tax suspension and effectively the Small how quickly an economy will would have served as a Business Administration move towards its long-run would be able to implement useful backstop against equilibrium, especially in the a new nationwide system of midst of a pandemic. unforeseen events. lending. Mulligan deals with this Facing an uncertain threat, uncertainty by first estimating with untested tools, a payroll that a permanent payroll tax tax suspension would have served as a useful backstop elimination would generate 10.7 million jobs and against unforeseen events and the difficulties in then assuming the economy gets to about one-quarter getting what became the Payroll Protection Program of the long-run equilibrium within six months. started. Reasonable people can disagree about whether the Now, however, several months into the crisis, the economy could adjust that fast, but there are two case for a payroll tax cut is far more nuanced. One immediate concerns with this analysis. of its major selling points – that it quickly injected First, the same reasoning would suggest that enormous amounts of liquidity into the economy – the economy would shed 2.7 million jobs in the six has turned into a drawback as many lawmakers are months after the payroll tax suspension expired. looking to limit the total size of future relief bills. Second, knowing that the expiration was coming, There are three basic channels through which a would employers be willing to create additional jobs 20

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that they knew were soon going away? of hiring new workers to do so. This type of analysis is best understood as That brings us to the third channel — a payroll tax estimating how much benefit the economy could see suspension, which could increase the speed at which by the end of the year if Congress decided now to new matches between employers and employees are eliminate the payroll tax entirely. There is no doubt made. One of the issues during a recession is that that permanently eliminating the payroll tax would employees are reluctant to take a job at a wage rate have a profound impact on the job market. However, that is below what they were making before. that’s a proposal much larger than anything that Businesses, however, facing reduced sales and lawmakers have suggested an uncertain market, are they are willing to reluctant to hire workers at entertain. the same wage they were Still, there are ways paying before the crisis that even a temporary started. This gap could payroll tax suspension be partially closed if the could affect the demandworkers wages could be side of the economy temporarily boosted while during a crisis. That the cost of hiring new brings us to the second employees is temporarily channel — liquidity. The subsidized. payroll tax injects money As the economy into the economy, which improved, both the wage helps households increase boost and the hiring savings and pay down subsidy could be removed. debt without cutting back This is precisely how a as sharply on consumer temporary payroll tax cut spending. could work. The problem, During times of as with all such fine tuning uncertainty, households measures, is timing. To be and businesses naturally maximally effective, the become more risk-averse. suspension would have Households try to improve to provide the right-sized Now, however, several their finances by increasing boost to the right workers months into the crisis, the case saving and reducing debt. and employers at the right To do this, however, they time. for a payroll tax cut is far must decrease spending. If it were removed too more nuanced. That decline in spending soon, it would provide a then leads businesses, new shock to the economy. which are already more If it were held too long, it risk-averse because of the crisis, to reduce hiring. would create enormous revenue loss with little longThat reduction in hiring in turn weakens the job term economic benefit. It has to arrive just in time markets and makes households more risk- averse. to fill the temporary gap between the wages that This can create a self-reinforcing cycle that turns employers are willing to offer and employees are a temporary economic shock into a prolonged willing to accept. recession. Cutting off this cycle can help mitigate the For these reasons, I favor policy that permanently damage from the initial shock and jump-start growth. increases investment in the economy. It has the same sort That’s part of the logic behind simply sending of jump-starting effect, but without the need to get the cash rebate checks to families when the pandemic timing right. Moreover, it provides much greater bangfirst struck. A payroll tax cut would have a similar for-the-buck in terms of long-term growth. A permanent effect, but would have the downside of excluding increase in cost recovery for investment would cost as many people who have lost their jobs. much over the ten-year budget cycle as a temporary cut On the other hand, one might argue that Congress in the payroll tax. Yet the growth effects would persist has been especially generous in its benefits for the long after the crisis is over. RF unemployed and that targeting stimulus towards those with jobs would help mitigate that. It would Karl Smith is the Vice President for Federal Tax and also encourage businesses who were just on the cusp Economic Policy at the Tax Foundation. RIPON FORUM August 2020


A Smart Investment to Fuel Economic Growth by JOHN ROBERT SMITH In 1961, President Kennedy declared that the U.S. which are the easiest to pump money into — are not wellwould put a man on the moon before the end of the de- designed to maximize job creation. cade. At the time, that goal may have seemed impossibly Research consistently finds that on average, road repair far-fetched, but with the Soviet Union challenging our su- produces 16 percent more jobs per dollar than new road periority in space, the nation rallied around that vision. And construction. Yet states keep using their funding to build in 1969, Neil Armstrong made "one giant leap for man- new roads instead of repairing what we have. An infrastruckind" and inspired a generation of ture plan with a strict focus on reAmericans. pair could help put people back Yet in the decades since, to work while fixing a perpetual America stopped dreaming big. source of frustration. Even in the face of a widely recEven more effective though ognized infrastructure crisis, nawould be investments in public tional representatives from both transportation, like buses, subparties eschew plans for price ways, commuter rail, and passentags, each one bigger than the last. ger rail. These investments — both Vague promises take the place of in new capacity and maintenance inspiring visions. — create the most jobs per dollar, But vague promises aren't even more than road repair. A dolenough. Our leaders, with few lar spent on public transportation exceptions, have been kicking the from the 2009 stimulus produced proverbial maintenance can down 70 percent more job hours than the road for decades and the cona dollar spent on highways. And sequences are catching up to us. public transportation is chroniOur roads, bridges, and transit cally underfunded at the federal systems that people use everyday level, leaving ample opportunities John Robert Smith have a backlog of deferred mainto build out more useful transtenance that will cost an estimated portation networks that will bear Research consistently $640 billion altogether. fruits long after the construction We're also facing the worst is finished. finds that, on average, economic downturn since the In the face of unprecedented road repair produces Great Depression due to COVunemployment and a worsening 16 percent more jobs ID-19; Americans need reliable, economic downturn, smart insafe, and affordable connections vestments can produce jobs and per dollar than new to jobs and healthcare now more connect people to opportunity. road construction. than ever. Smart investments in And once the thing is built, it's the our roads and bridges, transit and connections that are made which passenger rail, and other critical provide lasting value. Our nationinfrastructure could help the country recover. al experience with highways proves this point. The key here is smart investments that will create jobs In the 1950s, we set out to build a national network of and long-term value. In April, Smart Growth America re- highways. Four decades later, the interstate highway sysleased six lessons and recommendations about using infra- tem was complete. The novel connections created by highstructure investment to stimulate the economy based on an ways brought huge economic benefits, but each new mile of analysis of federal spending during the Great Recession. roadway since has brought diminishing returns while addThe main takeaways: some infrastructure investments cre- ing maintenance costs. And in metropolitan areas, new or ate more jobs than others, and existing federal programs — wider highways actively undermine local economies, par22

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ticularly in communities of color. that impact across the country: building and improving The real opportunity today is creating new connec- long-distance "spines" to support a national rail network tions by public transportation and passenger rail that fed- with frequent, regional connections. eral funding has long neglected. In 2015, Senators Roger We face threats as a nation today just as we did nearly Wicker (R-MS) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) worked together six decades ago. Yet instead of Soviets, the challenge we to put funding for passenger face today is an invisible virail into long-term policy for rus. What we're missing is the first time, recognizing the the political imagination and In the face of unprecedented potential that these investleadership to set big goals and unemployment and a worsening ments have for the national take us there. We're missing economic downturn, smart economy. This is a bipartisan our Moon shot. issue — or was. Building a reliable, freinvestments can produce jobs and Today, I fear the fedquent, and comfortable naconnect people to opportunity. eral government is focused tional transportation system on fracturing and undermincould be that Moon shot. ing our national rail network Combining new public transinstead of improving and expanding service. I recently portation and passenger rail with other investments that worked with the Southern Rail Commission — and Senator focus heavily on repairing our existing road and transit sysWicker — to bring passenger rail back to the Gulf Coast tems would be a winning recipe for this conservative. RF after it was wiped out by Hurricane Katrina 15 years ago. The benefits from a single 130-mile connection between John Robert Smith is the Chairman of Transportation for New Orleans and Mobile, Ala. would outweigh the costs by America, a program of Smart Growth America. He was a more than 15 to 1 due to the economic activity, tourism, and four-term mayor of Meridian, MS, 1993-2009, and served manufacturing this new link will spur. on the Board of Amtrak, 1998-2003, the last two years as Imagine if we used an infrastructure plan to multiply chairman.

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Democracies Must Work Together in the Fight Against COVID-19 by THOMAS E. GARRETT

The United States and its global allies are facing summit is projected as an opportunity to reset the unprecedented challenges to democratic governance U.S. as a global leader within the multilateral system. in 2020. Few are spared from traditional issues like And Johnson’s D-10 idea was offered with a focus voter apathy and legislative gridlock or more recent on discussing 5G mobile networks and strengthening problems such as the heavy flow of migrants or foreign vital supply chains. election interference. But the To these challenges fact that so many democracies must now be added another in so many places are dealing matter of major global with the same concerns at the concern requiring democratic same time means there’s an solidarity — the COVID-19 unprecedented opportunity pandemic. Although the novel to work together on shared coronavirus is not confined solutions. by any border or particular In the U.S., the idea of political system, it undeniably democratic nations working burst onto the scene from a together has long had bipartisan non-democratic nation, China, appeal. The late Senator John whose initial reaction was McCain called for a “League to devote considerable state of Democracies” during his resources towards silencing 2008 run for president. This those who sounded the alarm. year, a plank in Joe Biden’s In response to the virus, Thomas E. Garrett presidential campaign not every democracy has platform raises the idea of a performed successfully, and summit of democracies. Other not every authoritarian system A study of epidemics democratic nations are keen has failed. The U.S., for for something similar. When example, has struggled, while between 1960 and 2019 in President Trump mentioned Vietnam is tackling the crisis the June 6 edition of The his interest in expanding the effectively. But resiliency Economist found there to G-7 meeting to include Russia, and an ability to self-correct the proposal was greeted through constitutional be a correlation between unenthusiastically. U.K. procedures and access to lower death rates and Prime Minister Boris Johnson freedom of information and countries where the basic proposed instead a “D-10” opinion are hallmarks of gathering of democracies, democracy that are essential tenets of democracy are which would add Australia, to overcoming a crisis. And firmly in place. India, and South Korea to while data on COVID-19 is the existing G-7 (but exclude still being collected, a study of Moscow). epidemics between 1960 and The objective of each of these proposals was for 2019 in the June 6 edition of The Economist found democratic states to take coordinated action when there there to be a correlation between lower death rates was a threat to the rules-based international order. and countries where the basic tenets of democracy are McCain’s “league” was meant to act when China or firmly in place. Russia vetoed U.N. Security Council action on human “Most data suggest that political freedom can be rights or Western security issues. Biden’s democracy (Cont’d on page 26) 24

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Signed June 27, 2000 by the United States and 105 other countries 1. The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government, as expressed by exercise of the right and civic duties of citizens to choose their representatives through regular, free and fair elections with universal and equal suffrage, open to multiple parties, conducted by secret ballot, monitored by independent electoral authorities, and free of fraud and intimidation. 2. The right of every person to equal access to public service and to take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives. 3. The right of every person to equal protection of the law, without any discrimination as to race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. 4. The right of every person to freedom of opinion and of expression, including to exchange and receive ideas and information through any media, regardless of frontiers. 5. The right of every person to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. 6. The right of every person to equal access to education. 7. The right of the press to collect, report and disseminate information, news and opinions, subject only to restrictions necessary in a democratic society and prescribed by law, while bearing in mind evolving international practices in this field. 8. The right of every person to respect for private family life, home, correspondence, including electronic communications, free of arbitrary or unlawful interference. 9. The right of every person to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, including to establish or join their own political parties, civic groups, trade unions or other organizations with the necessary legal guarantees to allow them to operate freely on a basis of equal treatment before the law. 10. The right of persons belonging to minorities or disadvantaged groups to equal protection of the law, and the freedom to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion, and use their own language. 11. The right of every person to be free from arbitrary arrest or detention; to be free from torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment; and to receive due process of law, including to be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 12. That the aforementioned rights, which are essential to full and effective participation in a democratic society, be enforced by a competent, independent and impartial judiciary open to the public, established and protected by law. 13. That elected leaders uphold the law and function strictly in accordance with the constitution of the country concerned and procedures established by law. 14. The right of those duly elected to form a government, assume office and fulfill the term of office as legally established. 15. The obligation of an elected government to refrain from extra-constitutional actions, to allow the holding of periodic elections and to respect their results, and to relinquish power when its legal mandate ends. 16. That government institutions be transparent, participatory and fully accountable to the citizenry of the country and take steps to combat corruption, which corrodes democracy. 17. That the legislature be duly elected and transparent and accountable to the people. 18. That civilian, democratic control over the military be established and preserved. 19. That all human rights -- civil, cultural, economic, political and social -- be promoted and protected as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other relevant human rights instruments. Source: RIPON FORUM August 2020


a tonic against disease,” the study found. “Though 106 democratic states in June 2000 — the largest these outbreaks varied in contagiousness and lethality, gathering of democracies until that time. Together, a clear correlation emerged. Among countries with the countries agreed that, while diversity existed similar wealth, the lowest death rates tend to be in among their political systems, there are universal places where most people can vote in free and fair standards that must be present for a nation to call itself elections. Other definitions of democracy give similar a democracy. In addition to the United States, the results … People who praise China for its handling countries signing the Declaration and endorsing these of covid-19 would do better to look at Taiwan, a principles included Germany, Thailand, New Zealand, neighbouring democracy. China wasted valuable time Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Egypt. in December by intimidating doctors who warned of a Clearly, a lot has changed over the past two lethal virus. Taiwan swiftly launched tracing measures decades. Russia is now ruled by Putin, not Yeltsin, in January — and has suffered only seven deaths.” and Venezuela has become a failed state. But the The inherent resilience of democracies and principles that form the basis of the Declaration have their ability to course correct is the focus of stood the test of time. And as the world confronts a recent statement on the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic COVID-19, it is critical that issued by the Community the democratic nations of of Democracies, an the world keep our shared intergovernmental principles in mind moving coalition of democratic forward. This is especially states seeking to coordinate true at a time when the action on issues of the international order and rule of law, democracy, many of the multi-national and human rights. Called organizations that have been the Anniversary established to maintain this As the world confronts the Bucharest Statement, order are being questioned the pronouncement was challenges posed by COVID-19, and coming under assault. drafted and adopted by America’s recent it is critical that the democratic the United States and 28 withdrawal from the World nations of the world keep our other democracies on June Health Organization is not 26. Among other things, shared principles in mind without precedent. President it cautions governments Jimmy Carter withdrew moving forward. that the cure for this crisis the United States from should not be worse than the International Labor the crisis itself. Organization in 1977, while “In some cases,” the statement warns, “measures President Ronald Reagan pulled the U.S out of the United to address the pandemic are being misused to restrict Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization civil liberties, centralize power, manipulate electoral in 1984. While these decisions were reversed by later processes, reverse gender equality gains, and expand Presidents, the fact remains that America has withheld exclusionary practices against marginalized groups support from international organizations before. What and persons. Emergency measures may be necessary is without precedent is for democracies to go it alone in to protect public health, but they should be evidence- the face of such an unprecedented crisis as COVID-19, based, proportionate to the public health risk and and effectively cede influence of an organization as short in duration, and regularly reconsidered as the influential as the WHO. situation evolves, with the aim of leaving democratic A far more effective course would be for the U.S. procedures and human rights in full force.” to bring democracies together under our shared set of Beyond this, the statement also addresses the principles and work to shape the agenda and direction impact the pandemic may have on core democratic of the WHO and other multi-lateral forums in the activities, including: elections, the ability for citizens months and years ahead. For at the end of the day, to access information and engage in free expression; these principles are not only the links that unite us, equal access to education; and, freedom of assembly but ones that will keep our nations — and the world and association. — healthy, safe, and free. RF These activities and other essential freedoms are key elements of the Community of Democracies’ Warsaw Thomas E. Garrett serves as Secretary General of the Declaration, a set of 19 principles adopted by Community of Democracies. 26

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News & Events

Stauber Leads Push to Pass Police Reform This Year WASHINGTON, DC — With protests across the country helping to fuel a debate over ways in which America’s law enforcement system can be reformed, The Ripon Society hosted a virtual discussion on July 16 with a Congressman and former police officer who is spearheading an effort on Capitol Hill to do just that. The Congressman is Pete Stauber (MN-8). Serving his first term in the House of Representatives, Stauber spent two decades as a law enforcement officer in the Duluth Police Department before his election in 2018. Because of this experience, he was tapped earlier this year by Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy to lead the House GOP effort on police reform.

Stauber opened his remarks on Thursday by talking about the importance of these efforts, and his work with South Carolina Senator Tim Scott to pass the JUSTICE Act, a plan the two have authored which is intended to help rebuild trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve by enacting reforms that create transparency and accountability within police departments nationwide. “He comes at it as a black man growing up in the South,” Stauber said of his Senate colleague and fellow Republican. “I come at it as a law enforcement officer of 23 years in the state of Minnesota. I think it’s a really good piece of legislation that can actually get signed into law. It

is bipartisan. In fact, about 85% of what’s in the JUSTICE Act are things on which my colleagues and I on the other side of the aisle agree. The concern I have is that when Senator Scott brought the JUSTICE Act to the floor — just for a vote to get it up for discussion — it was voted down. At a time when our communities are calling for change, we have to respond.” “I was really concerned that my two U.S. Senators, Klobuchar and Smith, voted against even bringing it to the floor for discussion. This reform is needed. On the House side, they brought up a piece of legislation that was purely partisan. I asked to be a part of the drafting of that legislation, because I think I can

Congressman Stauber is pictured below with former Duluth Police Chief Gordon Ramsay at a White House event on police reform in June.

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bring my experience and knowledge disagreement — no-knock warrants house. When you execute a no-knock to some parts of that arena that — and how his experience as a police search warrant in the best professional some folks might not have. Not officer helped to shape his views on manner, using best practices, you are that I’m an expert by any stretch of the subject today. using everything at your disposal. I the imagination. But I think I have “If you look at the Breonna Taylor knew on my search warrants that we something to offer.” incident, it was a tragedy from start to went in as a team, I knew exactly According to Stauber, this finish,” he stated bluntly. “There was a where I needed to go. includes an understanding of what life lost. I was a member of the Duluth “Senator Scott and I talked about works — and what does not work — Police Department’s tactical response this. Let’s study it. Let’s look at every when it comes to America’s police team for eight years. I was an entry department that does no-knocks. Enter departments and the communities team member. It’s not fun being on the that data. And I think in time, we’ll that they have pledged to serve. tactical response team, because when see that when you do them right, the “Twenty three years ago,” Stauber you were called it meant there was a outcome is good.” noted, “President Bill Clinton brought high probability that you were about Stauber concluded his remarks by the COPS program to the nation. to go into a situation where there were returning to a point he made earlier And it was a very good program. bad people who were probably going — namely, that Republicans and Community policing is a philosophy to shoot.” Democrats agree on 85% of the issues that you don’t police your community, “I’ve been in no-knock search involved, and the American people you police with your community. warrant situations. I have had instances want to see Congress take action on It builds trust and lasting the issue this year. relationships. I cut my teeth “If we have to put things in community policing as a into a commission to study, “At a time when our young patrol officer. I spent I’m all for that,” he said of eight years as a community the differences that remain. “I communities are calling for officer in the city of Duluth think it can be a win-win. This change, we have to respond.” — which has the third largest country is demanding it. Our police department in the state communities are demanding Pete Stauber of Minnesota — with much it. And I will say this — success. It was a lot of hard nobody dislikes a bad officer work. But the trust that I built more than a good officer. In with the community that I served, where I got to the subject laying on the the profession of police work, a bad those bonds are still strong today couch who was reaching for a handgun officer sticks out like a sore thumb. We because of what we did together. as I entered the room. The handgun can’t have that. “The JUSTICE Act puts was lying on the floor, and I happened “It is a profession that needs to community policing front and center in to step on his hand before he got to be honored and supported throughout many respects. The last time Congress the weapon. That’s what a no-knock our communities, because there are appropriated money for community will do. Keep in mind, these folks that some cases that officers go on that we policing was in 2008. So under the you are about to enter and arrest for never forget in our life. It’s a noble Obama-Biden Administration and the their crimes, they’re probably going to profession. The men and women in the first three and a half years of the Trump go to jail for a long time. If you give brown and blue across this nation help Administration, not one dime has been them the chance to go out with a bang, keep us safe.” put forth towards community policing. literally, they will try it.” The Ripon Society is a public The JUSTICE Act not only changes “In the JUSTICE Act, both policy organization that was founded that, but it brings in the transparency, Senator Scott and I agree, let’s review in 1962 and takes its name from the accountability, and performance no-knocks and see how we can make town where the Republican Party was measures that are so critical to them better and safer. For instance, born in 1854 – Ripon, Wisconsin. serving our communities. There are a maybe having two judges sign off and One of the main goals of The Ripon couple of major differences between having two police commanders sign Society is to promote the ideas and the JUSTICE Act and the piece of off on those warrants. And make sure principles that have made America legislation that the Speaker brought to the confidential, reliable informants great and contributed to the GOP’s the House floor. But I think we can get that you spoke to about the particular success. These ideas include keeping over those, because we agree on 85% residence are accurate and truthful our nation secure, keeping taxes low of the issues.” to the best of your ability. Make sure and having a federal government Stauber talked about one of that you use the technology that’s that is smaller, smarter and more the issues where there remained there so you don’t go to the wrong accountable to the people. RF 30

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What science can do

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Name: Randy Feenstra

Occupation: Republican Nominee for the U.S. House (IA-4) Previous positions held: Experience in the private sector as Head of Sales for the Foreign Candy Company, head of the Insurance arm of Iowa State Bank, as well as an extensive public service record, including: Hull City Administrator, Sioux County Treasurer, and State Senator. Past community involvement as a volunteer EMT, a deacon, Kiwanian, multiple foundation boards, President of City Chamber, and a Sunday School teacher. Why are you running for Congress? To advance the interests of everyday Iowans, their families, and the country as a whole. Now is a time for serious, conservative, pragmatic leadership, and someone with a record of delivering real results for Iowa. What is the number one issue people are asking you about? Agriculture. Iowa’s Fourth District has the second most farms of any district in the country, and is consistently a leading producer of corn, soybeans, milk, eggs, ethanol, and livestock. Agriculture is the backbone of the region and is at the core of the district’s communities. What would be your top legislative priorities if elected? Invigorating Iowa’s communities - that entails legislating with agriculture and small business in mind. Protecting Iowa farmers and Main Streets is a pivotal component in the broader effort to tackle the issues facing rural areas. Relatedly, promoting family formation and those existing families in the district by providing much needed tax relief. How has the coronavirus pandemic affected your campaign? Our campaign built a strong organization and digital presence early in the campaign. This early organizational investment has paid off over the last few months as we have moved to more digital and online campaigning. We are doing a lot of Zoom meetings, speaking with voters on social media, and our organization is talking with Iowans over the phone about issues that are important to them. 32

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