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Columbia Roosevelt Review

Spring 2010

The Roosevelt Institute

Columbia University
Columbia Policy Review
A project of the Roosevelt Institute at Columbia University
Copyright 2010
All rights reserved

Sonali Pillay - Editor-In-Chief

William Organek - Assistant Editor
Sophia Rogers - Assistant Editor

The Editorial Board

Raul Mendoza - Administrative Director

Katharine O’Gorman - Research Director
Sarah Scheinman - Secretary
William Organek - Treasurer
Phillip Verma - Equal Justice Director
Maddy Joseph, Asher Hecht - Education Co-Directors
Isaac Lara, Eric Rosenberg - Defense and Diplomacy C0-Director
Adrian Soghoian, Julian Haimovich - Energy and Environment Director
Jake Grumbach - Health Care
Pari Sastry, Pooja Reddy - Economic Development Co-Directors
Adrian Haimovich - President Emeritus
Eric Rosenberg - Executive Board Member
Maddy Joseph - Education Center Member
Columbia Roosevelt Review
A project of

The Roosevelt Institute

Columbia University

Spring 2010
A sincere thanks must be offered to the members of the Columbia community
whose content-editing and assistance ensured that the quality and soundness of
the pieces in this journal. Both our writers and executive board members thank
you for your time and effort and your support of the Roosevelt Institute.

Jessamyn Blau
Teaching Assistant in the Barnard Economics Department
Mary-Elena Carr
Director of the Columbia Climate Center of the Earth Institute
Professor Robert Jervis
Adlai E. Stevenson Professor and Professor of International and Public Affairs in the Columbia
Political Science Department
Colleen Kennedy
Professor E’mett McCaskill
Professor in the Barnard Psychology Department
Alexis Morin
Professor Brigitte Nacos
Adjunct Associate Professor in the Columbia Political Science Department
Dr, Kenneth Ong
The Brooklyn Hospital Center, New York Presbyterian Healthcare Medical Centers
Constantino Pischedda
Graduate Student in the Columbia Political Science Department
Professor Ira Katznelson
Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History in the Columbia Political Science
Professor David Weiman
Professor in the Barnard Economics Department
Professor Raymond Smith
Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Columbia Political Science Department

We welcome you to the second annual Columbia Roosevelt Review of the Columbia Chapter
of the Roosevelt Institute. Students from Barnard College, Columbia College, and the Mailman
School of Public Health contributed the pieces that comprise this year’s journal. These students
have identified pressing issues on the local, state, national, and international levels, and pre-
scribed progressive solutions to these problems.

The Roosevelt Institute is the first student-run think-tank in the United States. It is a non-partisan,
non-profit organization that aims to involve and engage the nation’s undergraduate and graduate
students in progressive public policy.

Our chapter interacts with the student body in many different ways. The first mode of participa-
tion is our weekly body meetings in which a student or a faculty member introduces a public pol-
icy issue facing the United States, which is followed by a lively discussion of how policy-makers
could remedy the current situation. These meetings are aimed at giving members exposure to
public policy issues that they may become passionate enough about to research further and put
together pieces like the ones in this journal. The second mode of participation is through the
various Centers we have, in which our members who have a particular policy interest can go to
explore those topics further. These Centers include: Defense and Diplomacy, Economic Devel-
opment, Education, Energy and Environment, Equal Justice, and Healthcare.

The Journal’s pieces will be arranged by Center. As our journal aims to touch upon every region
of public policy, the pieces will cover a diverse spectrum of topics, from proper mechanisms of
dealing with Credit Default Swaps to security at our nation’s chemical facilities.

Our members, executive board, and editorial staff put a tremendous effort into creating a high-
caliber journal, which, for the first time, has been content-edited by Columbia University profes-
sors, graduate students and PhD candidates. This sign of support by the Columbia community
shows the dedication of our chapter to excellence and the creation of innovative policy solutions.
We hope that this journal will both explore public policy issues that are somewhat unknown to
the general public, as well as inspire and support the agendas of policy-makers to continue to
push the envelope of innovate policy solutions.
Table of Contents

Defense and Diplomacy

1 Privatized Port Security: Leaving America Vulnerable
Jake Grumbach
4 De-emphasizing the nuclear missions of B-52s in the U.S. Global Strike Command
Shree Awsare and Eric Rosenberg
5 Securing Our Chemical Facilities
Isaac Lara
13 International Determination and Strength Can End Genocide in Darfur
Shelby B. Layne

Economic Development
17 A Clearing System for Credit Default Swaps
Parinitha Sastry
17 Green Detriot: The Way Forward for America’s Auto Industry
Sophia Rogers

21 Guaranteeing a Better Tomorrow Through Early Childhood Education
Travis Alvarez
23 Towards a Better System of Teacher Evaluation in New York State
Madeleine Joseph
26 Supporting Student Loan Schemes in Developing Countries Through USAID
Pooja Reddy

Energy and the Environment

30 An Analysis of City Adaptation Plans for Climate-Induced Sea Level Rise and Increased
Angela Wong
33 Big Data and Computer Server Energy Efficiency: the Need for a Rigorous, Scalable, and
Universal Standard
Adrian Sogohoian

Equal Justice
36 Executive Authority and Congressional Intelligence Oversight
Philip Verma and Jill Marcellus
38 Mixed-Member Proportional Representation: Fixing the “People’s House“
William Organek
44 Congress and War Powers
Sarah Scheinman
46 Automatic Absentee Voting
Aditya Mukerjee
47 Abortion Clinic Buffer Zones for New York State
Phiip Verma

Health Care
50 The Limits of “Fair Discrimination”: Rape and Domestic Violence Classifications in
Health Insurance
Ihotu J. Ali
53 Financial Compensation and the Commodification of Women’s Reproductive Labor
Carla Palacios
55 Are Electronic Health Records a Deterrent to Patients Seeking Medical Care
Lauren M. Anderson

62 End Notes
Defense and Diplomacy

This will be the eighth year that the United States has fought a war on two fronts,
in Afghanistan and Iraq. In the midst of these wars, genocide in Sudan continued,
lawlessness ensued in Somalia, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was met with
inconsistent remarks by US officials. While the two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq
have been costly both in the toll they have taken on American lives and on our
economy, our nation faces equally great concerns in the realm of defense on the
homefront, nuclear policy, and diplomacy. These concerns will be addressed in this
portion of the journal.
ond, I will discuss the successes and failures of the Bush Admin-
Privatized Port Security: Leaving America Vulnerable istration’s post-9/11 policies and policy proposals with regards to

Defense & Diplomacy

Jake Grumbach port security. Lastly, this paper will explore the Administration’s
likely motivations behind these counterterrorism policies that
emphasize airline security over port security.
After the attacks of 911, the President stated that it would
be his “first priority” to “take every precaution to protect our citi- Port Security Background
zens at home and around the world from further attacks.” Thus, While the Council on Foreign Relations gave airport security
to make good on his promise, the Bush Administration* and Con- average ratings of B’s, port security has been consistently poor
gress would have to improve not only airline and airport secu- according to the counterterrorism report cards. Stephen Flynn
rity, but also beef up, coordinate, and revamp security measures of the Council on Foreign Relations states that until 2004, port

Economic Development
in the postal system, on national borders, and in seaports. By security measures were a failing F. He concedes that there has
many measurements, the Administration succeeded in securing been at least a minimal level of progress, raising the rating to a
the skies, but with regard to port security, the President did not D+.4 The poor grades primarily reflect the fact that virtually all
keep his promise. shipping containers still enter the United States unchecked5; at
Ports remain some of the most vulnerable points in the coun- best, experts estimate that about 2 percent of incoming cargo
try’s national security. The final 9/11 Commission Report asserts receives a physical examination.6
that “opportunities to do harm are as great, or greater, in mari- Today, port security falls under the jurisdiction of three ma-
time or surface transportation” than through aviation.1 American jor groups. First, the U.S. Coast Guard has the responsibility
ports handle approximately 20 percent of the world’s sea trading of monitoring ships that enter American waters, at which point
through over 300 ports and 3,700 terminals Coast Guard officers assess the risk of incom-
for passengers and cargo.2 A successful
terrorist attack on this system could prove
catastrophic, and could come in a number
P ing commercial ships, then board and inspect
orts remain some of the the vessels if they deem it necessary. Second,
the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection

most vulnerable points
of forms. Cruise ships and ferries are vulner- is in charge of inspecting the crew, cargo, and
able to attacks with biological or explosive in the country’s national passengers of the ships.7 The Coast Guard and
agents, and could be subject an IED (Impro- security. CBP are both under the Department of Home-
vised Explosive Device), which while small, land Security. Finally, the port owners, opera-
may cause serious harm to the ship and its tors, and their privately contracted security
passengers. These strategies have been used before; in 2000 a personnel stand as the last line of defense.8 The Coast Guard
suicide bomber detonated an IED as he approached the U.S.S. and CBP almost never physically inspect incoming cargo, leav-

Energy & Environment

Cole which resulted in the death of seventeen soldiers. ing the private employees of the ports virtually helpless if ter-
In addition, Cargo ships are at risk of unintentionally trans- rorists manage to smuggle a weapon of mass destruction, small
porting arms or weapons of mass destruction into the United arms, or even fighters onto the American mainland.
States, or could hold a dirty bomb set to detonate at a seaport It is important to note that the logistics of global shipping
(possibly triggered by a GPS system). The consequences of such make security measures difficult. During the 20th century, indus-
a dirty bomb or other device would be the most economically tries around the world began to move towards containerization,
dire of the possible methods of attack at a park as it may cause which increased shipping efficiency and now 90 percent of the
temporary embargoes or halting of imports. Similarly, if terrorists world’s cargo moves through these standardized containers.
eventually obtain a nuclear weapon and they intend to attack the By 1968, the International Organization for Standardization had
U.S., it is quite possible that it will pass through or detonate in an begun to regulate container dimensions. Since then, containers
American port.3 have been able to fit together like 40’ x 8’ x 8’ puzzle pieces

Equal Justice
In response, Congress and the Bush Administration have pro- on ships. These containers can be loaded and unloaded without
posed and implemented new port counterterrorism measures, ever breaking the puzzle; this increases efficiency, but makes se-
including the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C- curity measures all the more inefficient. Additionally, it is difficult
TPAT), the Container Security Initiative (CSI), and the Transpor- to search any given container because it may be part of the box
tation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC), as well as a plan chain or buried under a mountain of containers, and there are
for selling the ownership of U.S. ports to the United Arab Emir- often only a few inches separating the boxes.9
ates’ Dubai Ports World company, all of which this paper will ex- This standardization and widespread use of containers that
amine. All of these policies and proposals suffer from problems enter the U.S. each day renders any plan to inspect every con-
of coordination, implementation, and accountability that do not tainer impossible. In his book, America the Vulnerable, Stephen
exist in the post 9/11 airport security measures. The Bush Admin- Flynn describes this dilemma. Because 18,000 standardized con-
Health Care

istration pursued a successful nationalization in airport security, tainers enter the country through the ports of Los Angeles and
but left port security in its ineffective and privatized state. Long Beach each day, Flynn writes that “if every box were unload-
This paper will focus on the threats to maritime cargo ship- ed and inspected, meeting the proposed 100 percent inspection
ping, which could cause widespread economic damage, rather mandate would translate into 270,000 man hours per day.” Flynn
than the threats to cruise ships or ferries, which would likely be then explains that those 270,000 hours of labor “would require
deadly, but isolated incidents. I will first examine how ports, un- three times the customs inspection manpower that currently ex-
like airlines, are still the Achilles heel of homeland security. Sec- ists nationwide,” and implementing such a 100-percent inspec-
tion plan could cause more problematic “global gridlock” than a four security measures in the CSI are all logical and attempt to
terrorist attack, itself.10 improve upon important areas in prior policies.
Defense & Diplomacy

The dilemma of not being able to inspect every container The CSI program has been largely successful in including
caused the U.S. Government to develop a system to inspect the many of the world’s busiest ports in the partnership, and has
potentially riskier containers over “trusted” ones. Currently, the been more effective than the C-TPAT program. Currently, 58
Automated Targeting System of the National Targeting Center foreign ports participate in the program, which make up about
gives each container a rating, based on the shipper’s history and 85 percent of cargo that is destined for the United States.16
the shipment’s point of origin and stops along the way. Contain- These foreign ports can thereby hopefully designate the riskier
ers from politically unstable regions or from unknown shippers containers farther from American shores, and, with their newly
are more likely to be searched.11 improved security technology and infrastructure, prescreen
them. As previously mentioned, the entire system of recognizing
Economic Development

Bush Administration Policies and Problems for Port Security trusted shippers and origins is flawed, but updating port security
Although there are these inherent difficulties related to port technology and increasing cooperation throughout the global
security, security in domestic ports remains privatized and leaves shipping system can only help the situation.
the United States insecure. The overall policy of “trusting” cer- Like the C-TPAT program, there have been problems institut-
tain senders and carriers is inherently flawed. Terrorists as crafty ing the CSI policies. Currently, almost all of the ports that par-
as those in al-Qaeda are unlikely to smuggle a dirty bomb inside ticipate in the CSI program are in industrialized countries, and
a container originating from an unknown source in the hills be- many of them are “megaport” conglomerates. Of the 58 ports in
tween Afghanistan and Pakistan. Instead, they could attempt to the partnership, only two are in Africa (one in Egypt and one in
somehow hijack a shipment or hide a weapon of mass destruc- South Africa), and Israel and the United Arab Emirates hold three
tion inside a trusted, uninspected container.12 This uninspected of the five Middle Eastern CSI ports.17 Many of the ports and
container would then arrive at the port, with the port owner governments of developing countries cannot afford the required
and his private security contractors. The consequences of mis- scanning technology, as each “non-intrusive inspecting device”

trusting just one container could be dire; overlooking just one (NII), such as a gamma imaging system, costs millions of dollars.18
container could lead to dire consquences. Modern threats ne- The CSI streamlines security measures for trusted CSI partici-
cessitate a port security system that does not simply “trust” any pating ports, and slows down shipments from higher-risk ports,
particular container without verifying that it is benign. which tend to be smaller and situated in developing countries.
In November 2001, the U.S. Customs and Boarder Protection Thus, the CSI program distorts the market against the countries
(CBP) began its C-TPAT program, one of the three main port that truly need increased economic integration and opportunity.
security initiatives since 9/11 that the SAFE Port Act of 2006 Finding some way to assist smaller Third World ports in purchas-
codified into law. This supply chain security policy offers expe- ing security technology and joining the CSI is critical, especially
Energy & Environment

dited and sparser customs searches to firms that follow a list of because increased international trade could help stabilize politi-
security protocols, and today, over 9,000 companies participate cally volatile regions in Africa and the Middle East.
in the program.13 Because it would be against national interests The 2006 SAFE Port Act created the Transportation Worker
to inspect every incoming shipping container, a system like this Identification Credential (TWIC), a TSA and Coast Guard pro-
one to designate higher and lower-risk containers is theoreti- gram under the Department of Homeland Security that had al-
cally cost-efficient and beneficial, as long as even the low-risk ready begun testing and implementation in 2002. Like the C-
containers are not given a complete free pass through security TPAT and CSI programs, the TWIC initiative is a good idea on
measures, since they could be hijacked in transit. a theoretical level. Currently, a number of large American ports
However, the C-TPAT program is currently ineffective and un- require their port and maritime personnel to have a tamper-re-
dermines national security. A May, 2008 Government Account- sistant TWIC card in order to work on sensitive areas of ships or
ability Office study concluded that Customs and Border Protec- enter restricted areas alone, and by April, 2009, all workers who
Equal Justice

tion rarely inspects the overseas shipping companies to ensure need access to restricted areas will, by law, need a TWIC.19 A
that they have met the security criteria for participation in the C- port or maritime worker obtains a TWIC by providing the TSA
TPAT program. Customs officials are not required to follow up to with fingerprints and biographical information, as well as passing
make sure a particular company has made the security improve- a simple security test (the details of which are confidential).20
ments necessary for the C-TPAT program. The international firms A coordinated security credential, to ensure that workers with
have no incentive to truly comply with regulations of the C-TPAT access to vulnerable areas do not pose a threat, seems like an
as company can be eligible for C-TPAT before it even takes the important step for the privatized port security system, but again
measures requested by Customs and Border Protection.14 there are serious issues of implementation with the TWIC pro-
Aside from C-TPAT, another major port security change after gram.
9/11 was the Container Security Initiative (CSI), implemented in First, in 2002, the Department of Homeland Security attempt-
Health Care

2002 and also officially signed into law in the 2006 SAFE Port ed to make the TWIC cards comply with Federal Information
Act. The CSI program contains four major elements: 1) Improving Processing Standard 201 for federal identification cards, mean-
intelligence and coordination to find riskier containers; 2) Pre- ing port and maritime workers would have to scan the cards
screening the risky containers before they are loaded on U.S. in a reader upon entrance to a secure location. However, the
ships or enter American waters; 3) Using new screening technol- shipping industry believed that the scanners would not work
ogy, like X-ray scanners and radiation detectors; and 4) Utilizing properly in the salty air around ports and ships, so the TWIC
newer containers that make tampering more apparent.15 These cards essentially went unused until 2006.21 By then, the debate
had shifted to the cards’ encryption techniques because The its own security in such vital ports.26 The proposal soon died in
Department of Homeland Security, under the Federal Informa- Congress, but the debate shed a new light on the issue of for-

Defense & Diplomacy

tion Processing Standard 201, requires that federal identification eign ownership of vulnerable domestic infrastructure.
cards be encrypted. If the card’s digital information is encrypt- The entire debate missed the point, though. Few made the
ed, meaning it is transferred to coded language, someone must connection that another corporation from beyond our shores,
have the encryption key software to unscramble the information the United Kingdom’s P&O Company, owned the ports at the
back from code. The National Maritime Security Advisory Com- time, rendering many of the anti-foreign arguments fallacious.
mittee (NMSAC), established in 2002, is meant to be a bridge Most importantly, though, the debate missed the fact that if the
between the Department of Homeland Security and industries Bush Administration had nationalized domestic port security in
that are involved in maritime activity, and NMSAC has consis- the way it had with airport security, it would not matter who has
tently opposed using encryption According to the co-chair of the deed of ownership of the ports. With federally trained secu-

Economic Development
NMSAC’s TWIC group, Lisa Himber, the encryption would cause rity officers patrolling and inspecting the ports’ restricted areas
a number of problems. It would require more processing time for and incoming cargo, one could be more confident that the agen-
shipments, costs would increase, and there would be occasional cies of the Department of Homeland Security would be aware of
glitches that cause delays. Additionally, NMSAC is concerned any terrorist activity related to American ports. However, if Dubai
about the encryption keys. It is unclear who in ports and on ships Ports World had purchased the ports, the corporation would
would oversee them, and who would be held liable if the security have made a deal with a private security firm or firms to contract
of a key were to become compromised.22 security personnel. The privatized system, of course, is less co-
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) published ordinated with the Department of Homeland Security agencies.
a review of the TWIC initiative in September of 2006, mostly It would also not ensure that the security officers have the most
criticizing the TSA for failing to enroll enough maritime work- up-to-date training and intelligence to counter the constantly
ers and implement the new card readers by the original dead- changing terrorist threats.
lines.23 In response, the TSA expanded their TWIC-related staff, Overall, the three implemented policies, CSI, C-TPAT, and

began monthly reviews of the initiative’s progress, and gave the TWIC, have all had implementation problems. In particular, the
Lockheed Martin Corporation a $70 million contract to enroll the TWIC and C-TPAT programs show a lack of communication and
770,000 transportation workers that will ultimately require TWIC coordination between the public and private sectors, problems
credentials.24 Nevertheless, in April of 2007, Norman J. Rabkin, that could be remedied through the nationalization of port secu-
the Managing Director of Homeland Security and Justice Issues rity forces. In the same way, the Administration’s Dubai proposal
in the GAO, issued a testimony before the Senate Committee on would have been acceptable if port security was completely un-
Commerce, Science, and Transportation that echoed the 2006 der the jurisdiction of the TSA, like airport security is. The Bush
GAO report and addressed additional upcoming problems for Administration missed a vital opportunity to nationalize domes-

Energy & Environment

the TWIC program. Rabkin advised that the TSA and its new tic port security in a similar manner to airport security, instead of
contractor, Lockheed Martin, would have to make sure that the leaving it to the private port owners. Although the Department
TWIC technology would function properly in a “maritime envi- of Homeland Security, Coast Guard, and Customs and Border
ronment,” and that there needed to be more effort to educate Protection technically oversee port security, the domestic port
port and maritime workers about the TWIC requirements and security system remains remarkably privatized. The port opera-
enrollment. Rabkin’s main criticism, was in his words, the “TSA tor (who is a private owner) manages the day to day security
and its enrollment contractor [Lockheed Martin] need to tran- issues. This owner hires all of the private security personnel, in
sition from limited testing of the TWIC program to successful contrast to airport security, in which the Transportation Safety
implementation of the program on a much larger scale covering Administration employs federal security personnel.
770,000 workers at about 3,500 maritime facilities and 5,300 This privatized nature of port security contributes to the
vessels.”25 country’s vulnerability in a number of ways. First, one cannot

Equal Justice
be sure that the private security employees, whether hired by
The Solution: Port Security Nationalization the port operator or by a firm under contract to the owner, are
The most famous policy proposal related to port secu- trained in the same stringent and standardized fashion as fed-
rity occurred in February of 2006, when the Bush Administration eral employees. Second, through Congress and presidential
proposed selling six U.S. ports, then under the ownership of the elections, American voters can hold a federal administration, like
British P&O Company, to Dubai Ports World, a company based the Department of Homeland Security, accountable for security
in the United Arab Emirates. Almost immediately, pundits and failures. When a private port operator hires his own port security
politicians began commenting on and criticizing the deal. A size- personnel, Americans have little say in the matter, even if the
able debate ensued, as both the left and the right were split on security is ineffective. Third, there is more coordination of intel-
the issue. On the left, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry opposed ligence among parts of the same federal agency or between the
Health Care

the deal, whereas Jimmy Carter and Washington Post editori- Bureau of Customs and Border Protection and the Coast Guard,
als supported it. On the right, Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh than there is among disparate port owners and their private se-
supported the deal, but Sean Hannity and Michael Savage op- curity workers. Nationalizing our last line of defense is crucial,
posed it. Supporters argued that the UAE was a valuable ally especially with the disastrous lack of oversight of the C-TPAT
in the War on Terror and hinted that those who opposed could program and the failure to include the ports of developing coun-
be anti-Islamic or anti-Arab. Opponents cited the UAE boycott tries in the CSI partnership. The TWIC program has consistently
on Israel and claimed that the U.S. would no longer fully control seen its coordination with private port security personnel break
down. Nationalization would conform, standardize, and simplify
the TWIC program for the officers, since they would be federal De-emphasizing the nuclear missions of B-52s in the U.S.
Defense & Diplomacy

employees and under the authority of a single agency, rather Global Strike Command
than separate corporations. A nationalized security team would Shree Awsare and Eric Rosenberg
more quickly help to coordinate military and rescue workers if a
situation of terrorism were to call for it. Fourth, the foreign own-
ership of U.S. ports is problematic as long as they contract their
own security forces. Nationalizing the security workers would In light of recent nuclear tests by North Korea and fears
mean that the U.S. Government has complete control over its over an Iranian nuclear program, maintaining a clear nuclear de-
own security policies and procedures in such vulnerable sites. terrent has been deemed necessary by the United States federal
government and its allies.1 However, despite the potential sa-
Economic Development

Conclusion lience of the United States nuclear weapons arsenal today, there
A significant, if not the most significant factor in the dispar- are signs of over-reliance on these weapons that may prove to
ity between airport and seaport security is the fact that airport be detrimental. One area in which the prioritization of nuclear
security is nationalized under the authority of the TSA. Many of weapons has come under scrutiny is in the context of the B-52
the problems of the C-TPAT and TWIC initiatives and the Dubai Stratofortress, which is “a long-range, strategic heavy bomber
Ports World proposal stem from cracks in the partnership be- capable of dropping or launching the widest array of weapons
tween the private security contractors at the ports and the De- in the US inventory.”2 Although emphasizing the nuclear option
partment of Homeland Security and its agencies. Port security for B-52 bombers may seem like a way to flex our military muscle,
personnel should be nationalized into federal employees in or- it is likely to compromise the United States’ overall deterrence.
der to make the security forces in the United States’ most vulner- By eliminating the nuclear missions for all but 25% of the B-52
able areas work as a coherent body under the guidance of the squadrons, the United States can face the security challenges
Department of Homeland Security. of a nuclear world without reducing the credibility of its robust

This nationalization of port security would not be difficult to deterrent.

implement. Port owners already contract private security firms; Following President Obama’s optimistic promises of a nuclear
it would be more effective to spend that money in a tax to pay weapons free world in his April 2009 speech, the debate over
for the federal security officers. The new system could be even the future of the United States nuclear weapons arsenal has
easier, simpler, and potentially even cheaper for the port own- been re-ignited.3 With the negotiation of the US-Russia Strate-
ers than the current system, since the U.S. Government would gic Arms Reduction Treaty Follow-on (START I Follow-on) and
be in charge of their security, and they would no longer have to the publication of the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), 2010 has
spend time or money reviewing and contracting private firms or been identified by policymakers as a critical year for changes in
Energy & Environment

employees. The owners would not have to deal with the logistics the United States’ nuclear posture. Additionally, the controversy
of the TWIC program, or any of the other convoluted security surrounding our nuclear capability has surfaced in the public eye
requirements from the Department of Homeland Security. Of after President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in
course, it is possible that the federal employees will earn more part for his firm commitment to downsize United States nuclear
than the private contractors did, and their pensions will almost weapons. On the other hand, Pentagon and Department of De-
certainly be larger. However, the U.S. Government is already fense officials have levied a strong resistance against this stance,
spending heavily on port security; In the 2009 budget, the Sen- citing the need for modernization of the nuclear weapons arse-
ate Appropriations Committee and the House Appropriations nal to ensure an advantage over emerging powers and adver-
Subcommittee on Homeland Security allocated $400 million for saries. These developments call into question the salience of
port security grants, expanding the post-9/11 total to $1.5 billion the nuclear arsenal to United States security and their role in a
in grants to ports.27 With this much funding going directly to post-Cold War era.
Equal Justice

port owners to implement regional security plans and improve Despite President Obama’s rhetoric that calls for “dramatic
security as they see fit, nationalization seems within the Govern- reductions in the [nuclear weapons] stockpile” and reflects “an
ment’s means. end to Cold War thinking”, the policy changes he has advocated
However, with the rise of terrorist networks with advances in are far from transformational.4 Though the Nuclear Posture Re-
communication and globalization, the U.S. Government should view calls for large cuts in the size of the United States arsenal,
put its full effort into its last line of defense—security person- it does not maintain that the sole purpose of the United State
nel—in areas as vulnerable to catastrophic attacks as airports nuclear arsenal is deterrence, which leaves open the possibility
and seaports. The overarching key to counterterrorism is strong of using nuclear weapons in response to a nuclear attack against
intelligence, and that should not be ignored. That means elimi- our homeland or our allies. This symbolizes the “significant niche
nating the problems of coordination and implementation that role” that the nuclear arsenal continues to play in the national
security strategy of the Obama Administration.5
Health Care

come with separate private security contractors by nationalizing

port security in the same way the Bush Administration did with The Air Force’s policies surrounding the future of B-52 bomb-
airport security. ers reflect the emphasis placed on nuclear weapons by the
American policymakers and the military. Recently, all B-52 bomb-
ers were transferred from the direction of the Air Combat Com-
mand to the authority of a new Global Strike Command, which
calls for a primary focus on the Prompt Global Strike Mission.6
This mission allows the military to use its B-52s to strike high- prompt global strikes using conventional weapons are often
value, time-sensitive targets across long distances. Further- used in the Middle East and in other wartime situations against

Defense & Diplomacy

more, Air Force leaders have declared that B-52 missions involv- time-sensitive targets, the time tradeoff would be devastating to
ing nuclear weapons will play the central role in the Command. its effectiveness. The effects of our waning conventional capa-
These two facts point to the greater role that nuclear weapons bility would be significant because the United States is currently
will play in United States military strategy, and are informed by considered to be the world’s unipole, and a significant change
a position that assumes that showcasing in its hard power could weaken its ability
our offensive nuclear capabilities (such as
nuclear prompt global strikes) are vital
in maintaining a robust deterrent. While
T he United States Air Force
should eliminate the nuclear
to maintain the world order.14 Hence, main-
taining United States conventional superi-
ority is vital to continue its role as a guard-
this conclusion may have some merit, it ian of peace in an increasingly hostile
missions for all but 25% of the world.15 While United States hegemony

Economic Development
provokes questions about how the B-52
bomber squadrons will manage its addi- currently B-52 squadrons under and power projection may have its faults, it
tional commitments on top of their salient the Global Strike Command. has successfully prevented any great pow-
conventional missions. Analyzing how er wars in recent history, and has proven
emerging security threats in the 21st Cen- itself to be vital in the modern age.16
tury perceive our overall deterrence shows how over-emphasiz- In order to prevent current policies from having detrimental
ing the role of nuclear weapons for B-52 squadrons by having all effects, the United States Air Force should eliminate the nuclear
of them simultaneously satisfy nuclear and conventional missions missions for all but 25% of the current B-52 squadrons under
is detrimental to the dependability of our deterrent. the Global Strike Command. This would ensure fewer person-
First, our adversaries may not perceive the threat posed nel failures and maintain the credibility of both United States
by the prioritization of our B-52’s nuclear capabilities because conventional as well as nuclear deterrence. Keeping 25% of our
of the unreliability of the Air Force in this context. Empirically, B-52 bomber squadron active under nuclear missions would en-

studies from the Vietnam War indicate that B-52 squadrons suf- sure all of the advantages of having a nuclear option but would
fered more personnel errors when handling both nuclear and not compromise our overall deterrence.
conventional weapons.7 Although times may be different, recent In his Prague Speech on Nuclear Weapons, President Obama
Air Force blunders with nuclear weapons prove that forcing B-52 assured the world of “America’s commitment to seek the peace
squadrons to fulfill a dual commitment to nuclear and conven- and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”17 While his
tional missions continues to be problematic today. In 2006, the remark reflects a utopian vision of global disarmament, some
Air Force carelessly made an unauthorized shipment of nuclear of the policies his Administration has pursued ironically over-
fuses to Taiwan, nearly disrupting US-China relations.8 Moreover, emphasize the usefulness of nuclear weapons to our overall de-

Energy & Environment

in 2007, B-52 bombers from Minot Air Force Base were mistak- terrence. The United States must make every effort to strike
enly loaded with a W-80 nuclear warhead, and flown over United a balance between total disarmament and maintaining a Cold
States airspace to Barksdale Air Force Base without authoriza- War-like importance to our nuclear weapons arsenal in order to
tion.9 Nuclear mishaps like the ones above do not bode well for keep our overall deterrent effective in the short term.
the United States’ ability to project its offensive nuclear capabil-
ity, as they make our nuclear deterrent seem insecure and unreli-
Securing Our Chemical Facilities
Isaac Lara
Second, focusing on United States B-52 bombers’ nuclear ca-
pabilities may undermine our nuclear deterrent. In the context
of a Prompt Global Strike operation, the United States is unlikely
to use nuclear weapons on high-value, time-sensitive targets Introduction

Equal Justice
because it would break the nuclear taboo, draw in other major This year marks the 25th anniversary since the worst industri-
powers into conflicts, and tank its international credibility and al disaster in history. On December 3, 1984, a tank at a UCIL pes-
soft power.10 Hence, nuclear threats that are made by the United ticide plant in Bhopal, India discharged a toxic cloud of gas into
States in the status quo are not taken seriously by both our al- the atmosphere, immediately killing 8,000 people and severely
lies and our enemies because they are too ambiguous and are sickening 150,000. Another 12,000 people died soon afterwards
generally perceived of as bluffing.11 These empty threats would from long-term exposure to the toxic methyl isocyanatae.1 Some
reduce the reliability of our nuclear deterrence, which is partially victims were permanently blinded, their eyes having burst out
based on our ability to make credible threats against emerging of their sockets; others’ lungs had melted upon contact with the
enemies. toxic gas. Autopsies later revealed degeneration of the liver, in-
Third, General Kevin Chilton, the Commander of the United flammation of the small intestine, and excess water in the spaces
Health Care

States Strategic Command, has indicated that our emphasis on between the brain and the skull.2
the nuclear option for B-52s has undermined our capacity to The nightmare though never ends for victims and their fami-
control the escalation of conflicts by neglecting the capabilities lies. Even today thousands of survivors still suffer from ailments
of our conventional bomber-based deterrence.12 The placement associated with exposure to the gas, such as chaotic menstrual
of B-52 bombers under the Global Strike Command requires cycles and searing headaches. Worse, they continue to have chil-
them to be re-assigned to regional commanders each time there dren and grandchildren born with brain damage and horrible
is a conventional mission, which creates a time trade-off.13 Since deformities.
Although speculation still exists over whether the Bhopal Di- 2001 after US officials recovered 64 videos at the group’s aban-
saster was caused by accident or foul play, the tragedy clearly doned training camp in Afghanistan depicting several men ex-
Defense & Diplomacy

illustrates the dangerous risk an insecure chemical plant poses perimenting with lethal chemicals. In one segment, masked men
to the public. However, this is not an Indian or a third-world prob- test an unidentified nerve agent on three defenseless dogs, kill-
lem. In the U.S., more than 15,000 chemical plants and other facil- ing all of them before fleeing the scene. Officials at the camp
ities store large amounts of hazardous materials at their sites.3 In also discovered copies of American chemical trade publications
New Jersey, the most densely populated state with a huge pet- as well, as well as formulas to synthesize sarin gas.8
rochemical industry, one chemical company’s 180,000 pounds of Because of worrisome findings like these, many experts today
chlorine or sulfur dioxide could form a cloud that would threaten speculate as to why terrorists seek chemical weapons in the first
12 million residents and cause them to suffer a fate not unlike place. Technological advancements in manufacturing processes
Bhopal.4 Some experts worry that jihadist extremists might actu- partly explain this question since they have helped scientists cre-
Economic Development

ally transform these facilities into impromptu weapons of mass ate deadly chemical agents, which terrorists seek to acquire in
destruction (WMD) the same way that 9/11 hijackers used com- order to maximize the damage they inflict to a civilian popula-
mercial airliners as missiles to attack Americans. tion. Since the invention of dynamite in the 19th century, terror-
So what is currently being done to protect chemical sites ists have stayed abreast of new inventions so they can use them
from terrorist attack? No law today exists to regulate or install in their methods for achieving their political objectives.9 Terror-
permanent national safety standards at chemical facilities.5 For ists specifically desire chemical weapons because of their op-
years chemical companies have actually blocked legislation to erational advantages, their ability to garner international media
increase security at these facilities in order to save costs and attention, and their psychological impact on victims.
preserve profit margins. Their efforts, along with the public Operational advantages to using chemical weapons include
perception that America is more vulnerable to hijackings and its ability to cause a high number of casualties in a single strike,
nuclear weapons attacks than an explosion at an industrial site, which could exceed modest expectations depending on how
ignore the threat terrorists pose to chemical facilities, and places weather conditions affect dispersion. Chemical attacks also are

millions of Americans in grave danger. more likely to attract publicity and shine light on the attackers
This paper will identify the threat that chemical facilities with because the media tends to report on incidents involving high
security lapses pose to the American public, as well as explore numbers of American casualties. This may be due to the novelty
current legislation that seeks to address this urgent problem. of the scheme since few cases of chemical terrorism have been
It draws on information from an interview I conducted with Dr. recorded.10 Finally, terrorists also want to exploit the psycho-
Stephen Flynn, the author of America the Vulnerable, and a lead- logical effects that a chemical attack would inflict to a civilian
ing security expert at the Council of Foreign Relations. This pa- population. The possibility of an attack indiscriminately killing
per also includes my personal recommendations for the federal thousands, perhaps millions of people at unpredictable times
Energy & Environment

government to establish safety standards at chemical facilities or places conjures fear and suspicion among ordinary citizens,
throughout the nation in order to prevent another devastating which helps terrorists transmit the message to their target so-
terrorist attack. Otherwise, if no action is taken to safeguard our cieties that everyone is a possible victim until their objectives
nation’s chemical facilities, the next attack might very well be our are met.
last. However, fortunately for Americans today, several obstacles
prevent groups from acquiring these weapons and enjoying
Emerging Trends in Terrorist Tactics their advantages. First, terrorists often lack sufficient knowledge
As globalization continues to transform world markets and and expertise to synthesize a lethal substance. Few extremist
spread ideas, terrorists have responded by developing new groups are able to attract the support of the educated chemical
tactics to target their victims. Evidence of these changes first engineers who enabled Aum Shinrikyo to produce sarin gas in
emerged in 1995, when members of the cult Aum Shinrikyo un- its attacks. Second, the materials required to develop a chemical
Equal Justice

leashed sarin gas in the Tokyo subway system, killing 12 and injur- weapon are expensive. Several organizations are hard-pressed
ing more than 5,000 people.6 This attack ushered a new era in to fund large-scale operations, let alone purchase the neces-
terrorism dubbed, “catastrophic terrorism,” since sary ingredients for a chemical bomb from
it marked the first time extremist groups had ac- rogue states or arms dealers that charge
quired and deployed highly toxic materials to at-
tack large numbers of civilians.7 Not only did this ...A lready been inci-
exorbitant prices.
Third, acquiring a chemical weapon is
incident demonstrate that terrorists were no lon- dents in which terrorists difficult because terrorists fear mishandling
ger restricted to using conventional methods like have infiltrated facilities these materials and injuring themselves
hijackings or small explosives, but they could now and stolen chemical mate- prior to carrying out their attack. For ex-
acquire WMD that broadened their targets and ample, a few members in Aum Shinrikyo
rials to attack civilians. fell ill while attempting to create some
Health Care

inflicted more casualties than ever before.

Most shocking is that America’s greatest con- of the early versions of the sarin gas that
temporary enemy - Al Qaeda - has also recently become part of they would later release in the Tokyo subway system.11 Because
this growing trend and sought chemical weapons. Immediately of such challenges, many groups instead might turn to stealing
following the 9/11 attacks, Al Qaeda released a statement that it chemical materials from nearby industrial plants in order to cre-
was attempting to procure chemical weapons in future attacks ate chemical bombs.
against the U.S. This threat became substantiated in December
The Risk Industrial Plants Pose to Communities life could easily equal that which occurred on Septem-
Terrorists pose a significant risk to industrial facilities by either ber 11, 2001 – and might even exceed it by an order of

Defense & Diplomacy

stealing chemical substances from industrial facilities, or worse, magnitude or more…19
exploding a chemical plant that releases toxic materials into the
atmosphere. There have already been To further illustrate the loss of life
incidents in which terrorists have in- and damage that could result if terror-
filtrated facilities and stolen chemical
materials to attack civilians. For ex-
ample, one of the chief conspirators
B esides Loss of Life
damage, such an attack could also
and physical
were to compromise a chemical
take the worst-case scenario of
chlorine gas leak. The Department of
behind the 1993 World Trade Center have devastating economic repercus- Homeland Security (DHS), for example,
Bombing, Nidal Ayyad, used his job estimates that an attack on any chlorine
sions. A chemical facility meltdown

Economic Development
at a chemical facility to steal power- storage tank in America could release
ful chemicals. Security was so lax at could cripple the national and local toxic gas into the atmosphere, and,
the plant that other employees failed business by disrupting major portions depending on wind conditions, cause
20 Traveling
to realize anything was amiss, and at of the country’s rail lines, oil stor- more than 17,500 fatalities.
one point Ayyad was even able to or- age tanks, and refineries, pipelines, ten miles in two minutes, chlorine gas
der more dangerous substances us- could potentially kill citizens living with-
air traffic, communications net-
ing company letterhead. 12,13 He would in a 20-mile radius.21
later use these materials to develop works, and highway systems. Besides loss of life and physical dam-
and explode a bomb in the basement age, such an attack could also have
at the towers, which killed six and in- devastating economic repercussions. A
jured 1,042 people. chemical facility meltdown could cripple the national and local
Ayyad also later revealed to investigators that he and his ter- business by disrupting major portions of the country’s rail lines,

rorist collaborators had originally planned to steal cyanide and oil storage tanks and refineries, pipelines, air traffic, communi-
14 cations networks and highway systems. Government authorities
release it in the ventilation system at WTC. Such an attack
would have wreaked havoc on the office workers in the towers, would require hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars for
demonstrating the extent to which terrorists had planned to use cleanup efforts, insurance, and recovery. Emergency patients
chemical weapons against civilians. and trauma victims would flood into health clinics and over-
Chemical companies also store valuable technology like mi- whelm the system. With dire scenarios like these in mind, many
crofilters that if terrorists were to possess would unleash a wave experts, especially Dr. Stephen Flynn at the Council of Foreign
of destruction. Microfilters are miniature hand-held devices that Relations, have alerted the federal government to security vul-

Energy & Environment

produce small quantities of chemicals on short order. While com- nerabilities and have urged Washington to take swift action to
panies typically use this technology to mass-produce chemical protect chemical facilities from terrorism.
products, if terrorists somehow infiltrate chemical facilities and In January 2001, Flynn, who at the time was a member of the
steal these machines, they could actually produce some of the U.S. Commission of National Security, submitted a report warn-
15 ing Congress that America was vulnerable to a terrorist attack
world’s most dangerous nerve agents, such as VX and sarin.
Besides stealing, terrorists can also strike industrial plants by on its own turf. Flynns’s advice went ignored, and eight months
either launching a projectile at the site or detonating an explo- later, 9/11 occurred. Since that day he has continued to write
sive near a storage tank containing dangerous chemicals. This extensively on domestic security, publishing several books and
attack has the potential of releasing toxic gases into the atmo- newspaper articles on the subject and identifying security lapses
sphere or causing a chemical spill that threatens the environ- at industrial sites, transportation hubs, and ports.
ment, wildlife, and the lives of countless numbers of residents The 9/11 Commission was another early whistleblower that has

Equal Justice
in the affected area. Nearly 100 chemical facilities store enough called attention vulnerabilities of chemical facilities. Members
material to each kill one million people if released by a terrorist have consistently recommended that the U.S. allocate homeland
16 security funds to private and public sector organizations based
operation. One plant in New Jersey is located along a stretch of
road that FBI experts have dubbed, “most dangerous two miles on risk, vulnerabilities, and potential consequences of a terrorist
in America.”17A gas leak here could endanger the lives of more attack on a chemical facility, which the federal government has
18 neglected to do. For this and other reasons, the Commission
than 12 million people living in the metropolitan area. Such an
attack could transform facilities like this one in New Jersey into established a report card with letter grades A-F to evaluate the
weapons of mass destruction much like how Jihadist extremists progress the federal government has since made on implement-
had converted commercial airlines into WMD on 9/11. ing the Commission’s suggestions. The Bush Administration
Former White House advisors recently described how a received an “F” for not distributing homeland security monies
Health Care

simple attack on a chemical facility could possibly inflict enough according to infrastructure vulnerabilities or risks it may pose if
casualties to even dwarf the destruction on 9/11: a terrorist attack were to occur; a “C” for developing inadequate
preparedness standards for private companies; and a “D” for de-
A cleverly designed terrorist attack against a TIH (toxic veloping insufficient procedures to determine vulnerabilities at
inhalation hazard) chemical target would be no more chemical facilities.22
difficult to perpetrate than was the simultaneous hijack- The government is not the only one ignoring the peril into
ing of four commercial aircraft by 19 terrorists…the loss of which chemical facilities place communities. Often times, com-
panies are also complacent with security at their facilities. Ac- IST refers to modifications in chemical manufacturing processes
cording to 2002 survey administered by the Council on Com- to neutralize or reduce the potential for a hazardous chemical re-
Defense & Diplomacy

petiveness, 92% of executives did not believe terrorists would lease. These steps includes minimizing the amount of toxic mate-
attempt to attack their companies, while only more than half of rial used, decreasing the temperature and pressure required to
these respondents claimed their companies had made increased create chemical materials, and replacing a hazardous substance
security spending following the 9/11 attacks.23 These statistics with a less dangerous substitute.28 An example of IST imple-
underscore the private sector’s oversight of the threat that ter- mentation is the conversion of Washington, DC‘s main sewage
rorists pose to chemical plants. treatment plant from chlorine to safer chemicals just eight weeks
Because of government’s disregard to heed the warnings of after 9/11.29
the 9/11 Commission and Flynn, along with the complacent na- Eventually Democrat Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Republican
ture of Big Business, chemical sites remain insecure today. Basic Marge Roukema (R-NJ) introduced H.R. 5300, which was a
Economic Development

measures such as posting warning signs, fencing, and maintain- nearly identical bill modeled after Corzine’s draft. This was done
ing access control and twenty-four hour surveillance are only so that legislative efforts for reforming security at chemical fa-
required for 21% of the 15,000 sites that store large quantities cilities did not rely solely on Corzine’s bill, lest it fail in debate.
of hazardous materials.24 More than 90% of the most dangerous Soon the Corzine bill reported out of the Environment and Pub-
chemical facilities in the country ship or receive their highest- lic Works Committee, whereas its House analogue, having been
hazard chemical via truck or railcar, which move unescorted introduced late in the session, stalled in the Energy and Com-
through heavily populated urban centers, like Capitol Hill in merce Committee.
Washington, D.C.25 Chemical barges that navigate the nation’s Whereas Corzine’s bill represented greater government con-
waterways also move unmonitored. If terrorists were to target trol over security at chemical facilities, Senator James Inhofe’s
them as they sat in harbor or passed underneath a bridge, they plan, S. 994, sought to preserve the business interests of the
could disrupt maritime traffic. The shortcomings are best sum- chemical industry. A self-proclaimed neoconservative, Inhoffe
marized as follows: introduced the “Chemical Facilities Security Act of 2003,” which

required owners of selected chemical facilities to conduct secu-

The federal government has the authority to regulate rity vulnerability assessments (SVA) while limiting the access that
the security of chemicals as they are being transported DHS had to such information. Regardless, the Department was
on roads, railways, and waterways. With only one minor not adequately staffed to handle a high volume of SVAs anyway.
exception, the administration has not exercised this au- Inhoffe’s bill also granted all regulatory authority to the DHS,
thority in any substantial way since Sept. 11. There has whereas the Corzine bills had assigned the EPA the lead role
been no meaningful improvement in the security of these and the DHS merely a consultative role. The difference between
chemicals moving through our population centers.26 both bills’ delegation of regulatory power to agencies repre-
Energy & Environment

sents different perspectives of looking at the same problem. Be-

Because the government has ignored these problems for so cause Corzine’s bill would have granted more power to both the
long, chemical facilities are easier to target and infiltrate than DHS and EPA, it acknowledged chemical facilities as posing a
ever before. Evidence of this includes the discovery of illegal threat not only to America’s homeland defense, but also to wild-
immigrants working at various chemical sites throughout the life, flora, and air and water quality. In this sense, it resembled an
country that store hazardous material. The Immigration and environmental bill. On the other hand, Inhoffe’s plan was similar
Customs Enforcement bureau (ICE) conducted one sting opera- to standard homeland security bills since it delegated all regu-
tion in 2005 that resulted in the arrest of nearly 65 illegal aliens latory power to the DHS and designated human beings as the
who had worked at seven petrochemical facilities, one pipeline only stakeholders in an attack on chemical facilities. Therefore
facility, and other industrial sites.27 Such a security lapse demon- the legal orientation of Inhoffe’s plan demonstrates its failure to
strates chemical companies’ failure to conduct even rudimentary completely account for all the possible ramifications of an attack
Equal Justice

background checks on their employees, many of who had access on a chemical facility, including the environment.
to chemical materials.
Chemical Companies Resist Changes
The most glaring oversight in Inhoffe’s bill is its failure to re-
Past Attempts at Reform quire chemical companies to implement IST if they are deemed
Despite few experts downplaying the risk, enough whistle- vulnerable targets. IST is the single most critical component of
blowers have convinced Congress this is a pressing problem. any viable piece of chemical security legislation since it does
For this reason, there have been several attempts to reform se- not merely just help companies avoid a terrorist attack, but ac-
curity at chemical plants. Six months after 9/11, former Senator tively reduces the threat of it occurring by replacing dangerous
Jon S. Corzine originally introduced S. 1602, otherwise known chemical materials. Regardless of the obvious benefits to IST,
Health Care

as the Chemical Security Act of 2001, which sought to identify both Corzine and Inhoffe’s bills were defeated in Congress due
vulnerabilities at chemical plants, create security plans for at-risk to political squabbling over IST and the costs chemical compa-
facilities, and also grant authority to either the Department of nies may incur as a result. Corzine blamed the rejection of his bill
Homeland Security (DHS) or Environmental Protection Agency on greedy, profit-hungry corporations when he said “My bill was
(EPA) to approve these plans. crushed by the American Chemistry Council. It was crushed by
Senator Corzine’s bill made special inroads towards security those who were looking after their private interests and not the
reform because it included Inherently Safer Technology (IST). public interest.”30
Trade associations such as the American Chemistry Council Responsible Care do not participate in the program at all, which
(ACC) represent over 135 companies with 2,000 facilities. They means they refuse to abide by any industry-wide safety stan-

Defense & Diplomacy

vehemently opposed Corzine’s bill, arguing that safety measures dards.35
like IST placed companies at a competitive disadvantage and Another flaw in Responsible Care is that it permits companies
cost them profits. To help win political support for their position, to independently assess risks at their facilities using methods
the ACC even launched a television campaign, wrote newspa- designed by an industry-funded research group, the Center for
per editorials, and donated over $5,464,089 to the Republican Chemical Process Safety (CCPS). This group was created by
National Committee and President George W. Bush’s reelection another professional organization, the American Institute for
campaign in 2004. There is no surprise then why seven Republi- Chemical Engineers (AICE), which typically supports actions
can members of the Environment and Public Works Committee that preserve profits for their employers, chemical companies.36
who had originally supported Corzine’s proposal later rejected This further illustrates how incapable chemical companies are

Economic Development
it in 2002.31 to meticulously assessing risks at their facilities because of busi-
In some sense, chemical executives still have legitimate ness interests that cloud their judgment.
reasons for opposing Corzine on this issue. If a company that Moreover, Responsible Care also requires companies to re-
spends money on security does not believe others are willing cord security management procedures and file documents prov-
or able make similar investments, then it faces the likelihood of ing they have taken necessary actions to safeguard their facili-
losing market share in an industry with already few competitors. ties. The problem is that none of this information is required to
As a result, a tragedy of commons arises since other companies be sent to federal or state agencies for appraisal because com-
follow the same logic and are similarly discouraged from pursu- panies worry that their trade secrets could be disclosed and cre-
ing safety measures.32 ate competitive disadvantages. This action further restricts the
Other valid explanations for resisting chemical security re- public sector’s role in security management.
form include companies’ fear of exposing too much information However, Responsible Care claims to offer opportunities for
about their business practices to the DHS. They worried that the the public sector to be involved with security practices at chemi-

DHS could leak trade secrets about critical processes and man- cal facilities. Its guidelines, which are called the Security Code
ufacturing, and subsequently compromising companies’ market of Management Practices (SCMP), demand that signees report
position and reducing profits. Besides their doubts about DHS plausible security infractions to authorities on a need-be basis
competence, company executives also opposed security reform
because many are unsure about the exact amount they should Companies take physical and cyber-security threats
invest in security measures like IST. At some point, security mea- very seriously. In the event of such threats, companies
sures follow the rule of diminishing returns, which means that promptly will evaluate the situation and respond. Real
additional security investments purchase gradually less security. and credible threats will be reported and communicated

Energy & Environment

Before executives decide how much money to invest in security to company and law enforcement personnel as appro-
at their facilities, they usually require more information about priate.37
the threat terrorists pose to their chemical sites. However, today
in the post-9/11 era defense intelligence is typically controlled Despite its promise to report security breaches to law en-
by the federal government and lacks specificity. Sometimes this forcement, Responsible Care fails to explain exactly what consti-
information is even withheld from chemical facilities, leaving tutes a “a real and credible threat.” Without a clearer definition,
the private sector unable to adequately assess the threat level some chemical companies could report suspicious persons to
against chemical facilities and determining the appropriate secu- local authorities while others may merely offer a stern warning to
rity measures it should take.33 offenders before letting them go.
For example, Carl Prine, an investigative reporter at the
Responsible Care Pittsburg Tribune, infiltrated the Neville Chemical Plant outside

Equal Justice
Companies that object to government regulations, along downtown Pittsburgh and stood next to a tank filled with the
with others that prioritize security but cannot act on it due to toxic gas, anhydrous ammonia. When guards finally caught him,
fears of government mismanagement, have created Responsible the journalist only received a citation for trespassing, which in-
Care as a government regulation alternative. Responsible Care cluded a $25 fine, plus court costs.38 Typically, however, trespass-
is a voluntary program created by the chemical industry and de- ing on certain chemical companies’ property typically amounts
signed to implement industry-wide safety standards at chemical to a felony offense. This is just one instance out of many in which
facilities while also protecting profit margins. It has members in confusion has arisen over chemical companies’ interpretation of
52 countries whose combined chemical industries account for a real and credible threat.39
nearly 90% of the world’s chemical production.34 Companies One of the worst shortcomings of Responsible Care is its
that opt into the program pledge to perform security audits on failure to mandate that all companies invest in IST. The SCMP
Health Care

their facilities, identify vulnerabilities, and implement reforms merely identifies IST as an option for companies that implement
commensurate to security risks. security measures instead of requiring them to do so.40 Such
The most significant problem with this program is that it is corporate complacency places civilian populations in severe
completely voluntary. Chemical companies have little to no in- danger in the event of a chemical spill or gas leak.
centive to join Responsible Care other than to assure communi- Besides the risk it poses to communities, chemical companies’
ties that their facilities do not pose a threat to civilian popula- inaction could be self-damaging in the long run. Stephen Flynn
tions. For that reason, more than half of all chemical plants under argues that chemical companies’ have several financial incen-
tives to make appropriate security investments. In the event of a abilities at chemical facilities and water treatment plants. How-
terrorist attack, those facilities that refused to implement safety ever, only Title 1 of this act will be discussed, which addresses se-
Defense & Diplomacy

measures could face drastically higher costs – possibly hundreds curity at chemical facilities. Title I of the act for the first time ever
of millions of dollars - in recovery, victim compensation, and not only codifies CFAT regulations that DHS created in 2007,
clean-up.41 Moreover, negligent companies also face a public but also requires facilities to implement IST if safety assessments
relations nightmare and run the risk of permanently damaging reveal security vulnerabilities. Moreover, it authorizes the DHS to
their reputation among consumers. Some states have utilized distribute nearly $900 million in funds from 2011-2013 to high-risk
these consequences to force companies to reform their security chemical facilities to help defray the costs of switching to IST.
practices. However, the main problem with this provision is that it may
New Jersey is a fine example. Arguably the state with the underestimate the costs for switching to IST. Depending on num-
strongest safety standards in the country, the Garden State ber of chemical facilities declared to be high-risk targets and
Economic Development

gives companies the choice to opt out of IST under the condi- required to switch to IST, which could be hundreds, $900 million
tion that they be held liable in the event of a chemical release.42 may not be enough to cover all these costs. In which case, the
This provides companies with strong financial incentives to make chemical sector should foot the remainder of the bill.
the necessary security adjustments. Title I of the Chemical and Water Safety Act also establishes
an Office of Chemical Facility Security at the DHS to enforce the
SECTION 550 AND CFATS bill’s provisions. It specifies various criteria that the DHS Secre-
Despite the flaws in Responsible Care, the chemical lobby tary should use in order to select an appropriate Director of the
still attempted to hinder other legislative efforts to improve se- Office of Chemical Facility Security. These credentials include:
curity at chemical facilities. Finally, during the 109th Congress, …Professional qualifications and experience necessary for effec-
lawmakers compromised with chemical companies by incorpo- tively directing the Office of Chemical Facility Security and car-
rating security reform as a sunset provision within a larger bill rying out the requirements of this title, including a demonstrated
like the DHS Appropriations Act of 2002 rather than creating knowledge of physical infrastructure protection, cyber-security,

one stand-alone bill. As a result, Section 550 was born, closely chemical facility security, hazard analysis, chemical process engi-
resembling Inhoffe’s bill to appease chemical lobbyists while still neering, chemical process safety reviews, or other such qualifica-
directing the DHS to establish risk-based security standards. tions that the Secretary determines to be necessary.47
Congress also decided to establish Section 550 as a sunset pro- Although Section 2114 also claims that the next Director
vision, meaning it would expire on October 3, 2009.43 should be chosen “from among a group of candidates that is
Section 550 guidelines first require facilities to conduct secu- diverse with respect to race, ethnicity, age, gender, and disability
rity vulnerability assessments (SVA) and then submit to the DHS characteristics,” it neglects to proscribe religion as a disquali-
site security plans (SSP) that address any security weaknesses fying factor. In the post-9/11 era, many Muslims vying for work
Energy & Environment

they found. The DHS can either approve or reject a facility’s SSP routinely suffer employee discrimination because of stereotypes
at its own discretion depending on if they determine such facili- that cast them as terrorists. Without a stipulation prohibiting re-
ties to be dangerous risks to the public; however, it cannot man- ligious discrimination during the hiring process for this position,
date any particular security measure. Institutionally, Section 550 Muslim candidates could be discriminated against and denied
charges the DHS with assessing and evaluating SVAs and SSPs, the opportunity to be seriously considered as a Director of the
leaving it up to the Department whether they should consult the Office of Chemical Facility Security. This legal oversight is a civil
EPA.44 rights violation waiting to happen.
Section 550 also instituted mandatory security measures Section 2116 finally recognizes the community as an equal
called the Chemical Facilities Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) stakeholder in security reform by formulating the groundwork
for any facilities that possess chemicals of interest (COI) at or for citizen enforcement of the bill. According to this stipulation,
above specific Screening Threshold Quantities (STQ). If the ordinary citizens can file civil suits against the DHS Secretary
Equal Justice

amount of facilities’ COI go beyond STQ, they must submit a for failing to carry out his or her obligations to security reform.
“Top Screen” report, which is a tool the DHS uses to decide They can also petition DHS to investigate certain safety viola-
which facilities are enough of a liability to require SVAs and tions at chemical facilities that they identify as private citizens.
SSPs. Companies that submit an SSP are quizzed as to how they These measures help hold the DHS accountable for its actions.48
would deter or avoid a terrorist attack, secure their facility’s pe- The bill also authorizes the DHS Secretary to regulate back-
rimeter from terrorist attack, protect from infiltration, and moni- ground check processes on all employees at affected chemical
tor suspicious persons.45 Serious problems lie with the current facilities, as well as create “measures designed to identify people
CFATS regulations. One is that they prohibit DHS from requiring with terrorist ties.” The DHS Secretary may choose the type of
companies to use IST to reduce the consequences of a terrorist employees to be hired to work at chemical facilities, as well as
attack on a chemical facility. CFATS also do not cover COI inside specify which offenses require termination. Moreover, this sec-
Health Care

railroad facilities and long-haul pipelines.46 Both these are seri- tion includes a special “savings clause” that still keeps the entire
ous government oversights. law intact even if one provision were deemed illegal by a court
of law. This may have been included because of the possibil-
Where We Are Today ity of some employers challenging the constitutionality of the
Congressman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) introduced the provision.49 After all, it essentially authorizes the DHS Secretary
Chemical and Water Safety Act in June 2009 to address vulner- to choose the qualifications for private sector chemical facility
employees, which infringes on free market practices. A savings
clause protects the entire law, however, even if the provision is The first step would be to make facility safety a priority by pass-
deemed inappropriate. ing the Chemical and Water Security Act of 2009 this year. De-

Defense & Diplomacy

Thompson’s bill also prohibits the federal government from spite the shortfalls I have identified earlier in this paper, this bill
stripping states, cities, or municipalities of their authority to de- would for the first time create uniform measures that all facilities
vise stricter regulations that surpass minimum federal homeland would be required to follow if they stored hazardous materials
security requirements. DHS officials had originally opposed this above legally established levels. Moreover, it also mandates that
provision, arguing in vain that it forces it to impose federal fines chemical companies use IST if the DHS deems they pose enough
on facilities that violate state and local laws. Despite the Depart- of a threat based on their SVAs and SSPs.
ment’s outcry, this provision was kept intact within Thompson’s
bill, and represents a major victory for many states that already Mandate Inherently Safer Technology
hold chemical companies to strict safety standards. New Jersey, Regardless whether Congress or President Obama heed

Economic Development
for example, has some of the toughest security guidelines in my advice and pass the Chemical and Water Facility Act, I still
the country so it vigorously opposed any attempt to prohibit it recommend that the federal government require all chemical fa-
from creating tougher chemical security standards than federal cilities to employ IST by the end of 2011. Without IST, chemical
guidelines permitted. It even threatened legal action against companies will continue to use hazardous materials in their man-
Secretary Napolitano if it passed. ufacturing processes, which could kill exponentially more people
Most recently, the House of Representatives passed the in the event of a terrorist attack on a facility. Chemical lobbyists
Chemical and Water Safety Act and sent it to the Senate on No- must be silenced. As in many cases when the national interest is
vember 9, 2009. No specified timetable has yet been announced at stake, capitalism and even civil rights have been compromised
while it awaits debate. to protect the lives of American citizens. Chemical companies
must finally acknowledge that government regulations ultimately
Recommendations For a President Obama serve their interest by protecting their customers and prevent-
I recommend that President Obama fulfill many of the prom- ing any type of public scrutiny that may fall upon them in the

ises he made to American citizens to keep them safe. While he event of a chemical spill.
was a U.S. Senator, Obama introduced legislation with Senator
Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) addressing chemical security. In one Employ Universal CFATS Requirements
speech, he even acknowledged the numerous obstacles the All chemical companies - not just those with large amounts
chemical lobby had posed to any security reform. However, it of hazardous materials - should be required to submit SVAs and
appears as if those same special interests are preventing Obama SSPs to DHS for review. The reason being that many of the ma-
from accomplishing this important objective. Many skeptics, in- terials which experts previously have proclaimed to be safe if
cluding Steven Flynn and myself, believe he does not have the accidentally released to the public may have unknown long-term

Energy & Environment

political capital to tackle chemical security while juggling health- health effects. Lead and mercury are a few examples. For this
care reform, troop surges in Afghanistan, and a massive financial reason, in order to protect communities from potential harm, the
overhaul.50 federal government should acknowledge that scientific consen-
During his electoral campaign, however, Obama often drew sus on the safety of many chemical substances is variable and
distinctions between himself and the Bush Administration by force all chemical companies to abide by this same precaution.
making promises that facility security would become a priority Requiring all chemical companies to submit SVAs and SSPs re-
in his administration. However, there is no mention of it on the gardless of whether they contain hazardous materials would also
current White House website. The only allusion he makes to it is help level the playing field since all would have to pay the costs
still located on his transition website today, and all it says is that of assessing their security practices. For example, the facility that
Obama pledges to “work with all stakeholders to enact perma- stores toxic chlorine gas would incur the same costs identifying
nent federal chemical plant security regulations.”51 vulnerabilities as the facility that stores harmless graphite. Be-

Equal Justice
The time for empty promises and halfway assurances is over. cause both companies must pay the costs for preparing these
If the Obama Administration is serious about the threat terror- SVAs and SSPs, neither would have a competitive disadvantage
ists pose to America industrial facilities, then rather than sending over the other. Such a measure not only keeps communities safe
more troops overseas, it would make more sense if it poured but also business practices fair.
the equivalent amount of financial resources into pressuring CFATS regulations should also cover COI in transit. Currently,
the chemical lobby and Congress to budge on this vital issue. this is not the case, which means terrorists could explode railcars
President Obama should first declare IST an unconditional re- or vessels carrying dangerous substances like hydrochloric acid
quirement for all chemical facilities in order to avoid imitating or acetone. Applying CFATS regulations in this regard would
the Bush Administration’s dangerous tendency to put chemical help companies identify vulnerabilities within their transporta-
security on the backburner. Perhaps he could “go public” and tion procedures and address them accordingly.
Health Care

travel across the U.S. to rally citizen support for chemical security
reform, just as he did already for healthcare reform and the bank Expand the EPA’s Jurisdiction
bailout. I recommend that the EPA take a stronger role in regulat-
ing safety standards since the Chemical and Water Security Act
Pass the Chemical and Water Security Act of 2009 does not acknowledge this agency as an equal stakeholder. Cur-
I urge Congress and the Obama Administration to act quickly rently it mandates the DHS to consult with the EPA on issues
on constructing national safety standards at chemical facilities. it chooses at its own discretion, even though in the event of an
emergency any chemical spill would no doubt devastate the en- Require GPS Devices
vironment.52 In accordance with Stephen Flynn, I recommend that GPS
Defense & Diplomacy

Today President Obama ignores this important fact by main- devices be placed on all trucks, railcars, and boats that ship
taining the previous Bush Administration’s policies confining chemical materials to and from industrial plants.57 However, DHS
the EPA’s regulatory authority to only “drinking water and wa- should not fund or help to fund such a measure since it could
ter treatment systems.”53 Limiting the EPA’s reach in this manner become a strain on financial resources. After all, most of the De-
actually pushes the country’s 15,000 chemical plants under the partment’s $900 million chemical security allocation is meant to
jurisdiction of the DHS, which has too few resources to properly help facilities subsidize the cost of switching from hazardous sub-
oversee all of them.54 The Act’s framework also permits more stances to safer ones in manufacturing processes, which is criti-
avenues for the DHS to strain its resources because of its vague cal. Instead, Congress should require all chemical companies to
definition of what constitutes an actual terrorist attack. It identi- purchase GPS devices as part of its required security practices.
Economic Development

fies a “chemical facility terrorist incident” as “the release of a sub- This would relieve DHS officials from having to perform unneces-
stance of concern from a chemical facility.”55 Such ambiguous sary monitoring so it can devote its resources elsewhere, such as
terminology does not preclude chemical spills caused by cor- reviewing companies’ SVAs or conducting site inspections.
porate negligence or natural catastrophe, forcing DHS to treat
chemical spills as if they were terrorist attacks. While chemical Ensure Physical Security
accidents may be potentially dangerous, they do not properly Even if chemical companies do not pursue comprehensive
justify why DHS should again waste its precious resources on remedies to safeguard their plants, they should at least ensure
costly security mechanisms that do not fulfill its original purpose, physical security. Plants must completely fence off their entire
which is to respond to the threat that terrorists pose to chemical property, purchase surveillance cameras, and employ capable
facilities. Therefore it only makes sense to assign authority to the and vigilant guards. Companies must also be mandated to con-
EPA over incidents in which accidental spills may occur. Doing duct annual internal reviews. Third party officials should also
this would allow the DHS to refocus on the threat that terrorists conduct unannounced site inspections at facilities.

pose to chemical facilities, rather than on any type of industrial

emergency that accidentally releases chemicals into the atmo- Improve Intelligence Sharing Between Government
sphere and overextends the Department. and Business
There should be greater communication between the pub-
Change Training Procedures lic and private sectors. Despite skeptics’ assumptions, some
The government should ensure that employees are ade- chemical companies do actually want better security reform at
quately trained to identify security vulnerabilities and address their facilities. Whether it is because they sincerely care about
them appropriately by requiring them complete a counterterror- their resident communities, or because they merely want to fi-
Energy & Environment

ism awareness program. A similar program is already required in nancially protect themselves, it does not matter. The fact is that
New Jersey, but is limited to only petro-chemical facilities.56 For these companies are unable to accurately estimate the amount
this reason, I recommend that this program be required through- of financial resources to independently invest in security reform
out the entire chemical industry, including water treatment, sew- without national safety standards and without adequate informa-
age treatment and pesticide plants. tion about terrorists in general. I propose that the government
I also suggest that union officials be trained by third-party of- provide chemical companies with more intelligence about active
ficials to teach this course just like in New Jersey. Currently, the extremist groups in the U.S. and abroad, as well as recent trends
bill in Congress only states that company supervisors or facility in terrorism, so that these chemical companies
operators lead the training courses even though they might at- Moreover, the federal government should also communicate
tempt to skew employee security practices in order to cut costs what actions it has taken to deter terrorists from attacking the
and preserve profits. That’s why third-party officials who have no U.S., even if that means revealing some information about Ameri-
Equal Justice

personal or financial interests in the issue, such as security ex- can troops’ actions overseas in Iraq or Afghanistan. This would
perts from research institutions like Columbia University, should ensure that chemical companies are not responding to a threat
lead training programs because they would ensure impartiality. that no longer exists because it was already neutralized.
As for funding, the Department of Labor (DOL) should be re-
sponsible for constructing a grant program for training rather Guarantee Confidentiality
than the DHS, as is currently stipulated in the bill in Congress to- The federal government must ensure that all information
day. After all, DOL includes the Occupational Safety and Health about companies’ business practices remain secret. Chemical
Administration, which is responsible for worker safety at all plac- executives have a legitimate excuse to avoid granting too much
es of employment. Because the DHS could err and unnecessar- information to the DHS because of the Department’s spotty re-
ily prioritize community interest above worker safety, it makes cord of mismanaging data. The most recent Department embar-
Health Care

sense that the DOL be responsible for providing money for lead- rassment occurred when the Transportation Security Agency
ership training. Moreover, if the DHS provides money for this accidentally released secret passenger screening documents to
initiative, it runs the risk of overextending its financial resources. the public, which could have provided terrorists with methods
The DHS may also provide annual supplemental security training about bypassing airline security.58 The DHS must take appropri-
on a need-be basis. ate actions to ensure that incidents like these never occur again;
otherwise, the private sector will continue to mistrust the De-
partment and lobby against security reform.
Defense & Diplomacy
Develop Adequate Enforcement Mechanism
There should finally be some kind of oversight capability to International Determination and Strength Can End
ensure that the aforementioned recommendations and safety Genocide in Darfur
measures are actually being implemented. Without an enforce- Shelby B. Layne
ment mechanism, many chemical companies will not budge on
this vital issue. During my discussions with Flynn, he proposed
that we include well-trained third party inspectors who are moni- The government-sponsored genocide in Darfur–the west-
tored by adequately staffed government inspectors. He argues ern region of Sudan–now continues raging for the eighth year.
that without an adequate enforcement mechanism, honest com- As most accurately updated in 2007, 400,000 people were es-

Economic Development
panies that want to sincerely keep communities safe will suffer timated dead and another 5,000-10,000 dying monthly. Clearly,
financial losses if other companies willingly avoid regulations the Sudanese authorities are not hesitant to support such egre-
because they believe they will not be caught.59 I agree with his gious violence and defy the standards of what is considered
suggestion since it internationally acceptable, for the government continues to

holds companies support and fund the Janjaweed militia to carry out their mur-
accountable to the he U.S. must take precau- derous and rapacious acts.1 The violence originally began in Dar-
fur when a Darfuri rebel force called the Sudan Liberation Army
government. How- tionary measures to prevent
ever, I would sug- (SLA) struck out against the Khartoum government. The SLA was
terrorists from converting seeking justice after the government had ignored pleas of black
gest adding that
third-party inspec-
one of its chemical plants African Darfuris to end the lack of government representation,
tors also include into an American Bhopal. protection, marginalization, and development in South Darfur.2
ordinary citizens When individual countries or organizations have condemned

who are trained by Sudan for its heinous violence, the government has failed to re-
government inspectors as well. It is important to note that the spond. It does not feel any direct danger posed to the sanctity
communities which would be affected in the event of a terrorist of their government or position of control from these weak ver-
attack be counted as an equal stakeholder in the issue at-hand. bal attacks. However, it appears that an end to this genocide is
For this reason, companies should not bow to the government, indeed plausible due to the fact that the Khartoum government,
but also the very citizens their facilities would endanger if an as well as other governments that have committed genocide, do
emergency gas leak or security lapse were to occur. respond to accusations and threats when they are in the form
of intense, widespread, and international demands. When the

Energy & Environment

Conclusion legitimacy and sanctity of the government is directly threatened,
Today the U.S. faces an extraordinary challenge. Because our only it will then act.
enemies are not uniformed armies but rather elusive and shad- Thirty-eight million deaths occurred during the twentieth
owy extremist groups, the federal government is tasked with bal- century alone as a result of genocide.3 Therefore, when viewing
ancing offensive and defensive national security strategies. To a the past success of such methods of pressure in ending various
certain extent, President Bush’s plan to launch overseas opera- genocides and instances of violence—such as in South Africa and
tions in Iraq and Afghanistan to avoid fighting terrorists at home Kosovo—and the failed attempts when it is not utilized, one can
is valid because it shields American citizens from the brunt of have faith in the success of such a technique. Although these
violence. However, it is dangerous for the U.S. to believe that examples were not pronounced decisive instances of genocide,
solely an aggressive offense in the War on Terror is sufficient to like the genocide in Sudan, they too brought into question the
eliminate the risk of an attack on a chemical facility. Any meth- level of tolerance the world would retain while atrocious viola-

Equal Justice
odology to protect American lives should not preclude a strong tions of human rights were taking place. An example of intercon-
defense. The U.S. must take precautionary measures to prevent tinental condemnation includes the arrest warrant for Sudanese
terrorists from converting one of its chemical plants into an President Omar al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court
American Bhopal that could endanger the lives of thousands, if (ICC), which has sent the Khartoum government into a scramble
not millions of innocent lives. Only after the federal government to try and find a different government leader to turn over in-
begins regulating safety standards, performing site inspections, stead.4 When such action is taken, the pressure must absolutely
and exposing vulnerabilities in security paradigms at our nation’s threaten the stability of a government’s survival in order to make
chemical facilities, will Americans truly be safe in this Age of Ter- it to comply with the requests for justice. Thus, as a result of such
ror. debilitating and penetrative action, it appears the genocide in
Darfur can indeed come to an end.
Health Care

Although several attempts have been made to end or dimin-

ish the violence occurring in Darfur, usually only individual coun-
tries or single international organizations have backed these ef-
forts. Such labors have failed mainly because they have either
been weak and unthreatening to the sanctity of the Khartoum
government or not well supported by a multitude of interna-
tional players. One such example of failure includes the efforts
of the African Union (AU). In 2006, the African Union had only ecutors, which has caused the Khartoum government to alter
7,000 troops in Sudan trying to protect the people of Darfur its current methods of operation. The government of Sudan
Defense & Diplomacy

as a part of the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS). These has even attempted to hand over a government minister in al-
efforts were also disappointing because the AU was frightened Bashir’s place out of fear of what losing their President would
into submission by the threats of the Khartoum government. The mean for the government and its stability.10 By weakening the
government had asked, or perhaps threatened, the AU not to strength of the overall government powers and jurisdiction, its
request United Nations (UN) troops to be brought into Darfur efforts for the genocide in Sudan will be harder to maintain; if a
for reinforcement.5 This fact makes it clear that the AU efforts stable leader cannot even be selected, murderous organization
were weak, and that the AU stood alone as a single organization will much more difficult to coordinate.
without outside support. The AU did add a few thousand more By looking at the termination of past genocides and instanc-
troops, however, even when a much larger force was later add- es of violence, one can see how the formerly mentioned meth-
Economic Development

ed, their unilateral efforts proved incapable and too apolitical to ods used by the international community taking decisive action
make a substantial difference. Because of the AU’s weak influ- against a harmful government have proven to be successful.
ence in the region, it has not received significant moral, financial, One such example is the way in which the Apartheid in South
or material support from others and ultimately withdrew. In addi- Africa came to an end. A South African domestic agency called
tion to increased support, the AU would also need to drastically the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) later discovered
transform its efforts into a larger force with a more focused goal the reality of the atrocities, murders, and disappearances that
on protection of civilians.6 had occurred at the hands of the South African government dur-
The UN has also failed in many ways to pro- ing the time of Apartheid.11 Even though some of
vide safety and support for the people of
Darfur. For example, the UN Security Coun-
cil Resolution 1706 is the only example in the
U nited international
the abuses resulting from the Indemnity Act of
1961 in South Africa (that allowed police officers
efforts from all across to torture, kill, or commit acts of violence in pur-
history of a UN peacekeeping mission that the globe are needed to suit of their duties) were carried out in a different

was approved and never deployed until just manner than the were the raping and pillaging
recently, when troops were finally autho- bring an end to this in Darfur, there still remains decisive overlap re-
rized.7 Ultimately, UN efforts have proven horrific genocide. garding the violence that took place in each lo-
how the United Nations is merely a con- cation. For example, both Darfur and South Af-
glomeration of individual nations that has rica faced horrific atrocities that resulted from an
thus far failed to work together as a powerful, unified interna- abuse of government power coupled with racial or ethnic based
tional force. Ending something like genocide—especially the one violence.12 What ultimately brought such injustice of race-based
in Darfur with an array of countries both directly and indirectly segregation and discrimination to an end was the efforts of the
Energy & Environment

involved—necessitates cooperation amongst nations and, most United States and Britain—two powerful nations—who imposed
of all, compromise. Even Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon agrees specific methods of economic pressure, such as sanctions, to
that such stubbornness needs to be bypassed, and “[t]he inter- help bring an end to Apartheid there. As a direct result of such
national community needs to help organize…efforts, working with a strain on their economy, the South African government finally
the Sudanese government as well as the host of international responded by abolishing the “pass” laws in 1986, which had re-
aid agencies and NGOs.”8Only with unity stemming from within quired blacks to carry passes with them at all times to indicate
the United Nations—thereby acting as a prominent role model— the status of their employment.13 This step went beyond elimi-
can efforts beyond the UN prevail. This further emphasizes how nating the possession of a mere piece of paper. This signified a
united international efforts from all across the globe are needed major leap towards justice; no longer could one’s race be reason
to bring an end to this horrific genocide. enough for denied access to major areas of these citizens’ home-
In contrast to such lacking efforts, others have been more land. In the case of South Africa, the world took both notice and
Equal Justice

successful, resulting in wider international support to hold the action against the unjustifiable violence and hatred occurring
Sudanese government accountable for its actions and thus di- there. Also looking at the violence that took place in Kosovo,
rectly threatening the cohesiveness of the Sudanese govern- one can see how intense international demands had an undeni-
ment. For example, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has able impact on the situation there. The widespread diplomatic
charged President al-Bahir for committing crimes against hu- intervention in the crisis in Kosovo included increasing attention
manity. Because ICC members have volunteered to be a part to the situation by the United Nations, the Organization for Se-
of the court, they work together for the same goal—to bring curity and Co-operation in Europe, the European Union, and the
justice, through legal action, to places where unjust crimes are Contact Group made up of France, Italy, Russia, Germany, the
taking place. To ensure the ICC does not get caught up in the United States, and Great Britain in late 1997.14
political selfishness that often plagues the UN, and to guarantee Based on the prior examples, as well as current successful
Health Care

conformity and agreement will indeed occur, the ICC requires steps towards ending the genocide in Darfur, it appears that
member countries to fully comply with their prosecutions and with intense, international, political, and economic pressure, al-
investigations.9 The international statement of the ICC against Bashir and the Khartoum government can be forced into com-
the actions of the Khartoum government—by preparing to ar- pliance and the violence can come to an end. Since Sudan is
rest its main leader—has put Sudan under increased pressure to currently incapable of remedying its own problem after violence
diminish the violence in Darfur. This pressure is increased by the has persisted for seven years, countries ought to use the power
fact that the ICC is pursuing al-Bashir with international pros- of numbers to work together to end the genocide by imposing
14 sanctions, holding individuals accountable for their genocidal ac-
tions, introducing an effective number of troops to protect Dar-
furis from violent Janjaweed fighters, and making these efforts

Defense & Diplomacy

a top priority to ensure they are all fulfilled.15 Based on Article
2 of the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and
Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (UNGC), the violence in
Darfur is undoubtedly genocide.16 With this knowledge in mind,
it is pertinent that countries take immediate action before more
women and girls are raped, more families are torn apart, and
more murders are committed. However, only when the world
learns to work together to take decisive, forceful, and threaten-
ing actions will this horrific genocide finally come to an end.

Economic Development
Energy & Environment
Equal Justice
Health Care

Economic Development

The Economic Development Policy Center promotes discussion and analysis of

domestic and international economic issues in order to create and advocate for
effective policy solutions on issues of concern to many economic systems. The
essential role of government in the creation of an economic atmosphere condu-
cive to healthy growth is assessed by the center through a variety of proposals
that show the importance and reach of economic policy. These proposals aim
to increase economic opportunity and equity by assessing the ongoing financial
crisis and putting forth policy proposals that would increase the robustness and
reach of financial markets and show the potential of public policy in mitigating
the impact of economic downturns.
of insurance for one party and the buyer of insurance of the
A Clearinghouse System for Credit Default Swaps other. In effect, the clearinghouse stands between buyers and

Defense & Diplomacy

Parinitha Sastry sellers to reduce each firm’s exposure to counterparty risk, and
decreases both risk and capital losses by its ability to net pay-
ments and exposures.
The recent financial crisis has catalyzed a movement for Moreover, the clearinghouse would be subject to inspections
revamping the credit derivatives market. At the end of 2007, the and oversight from the SEC. A clearinghouse reduces the set-
United States found itself in a paradoxical situation; the very in- tlement risk and increases efficiency by offsetting transactions
dustry that existed to facilitate domestic production was in fact between multiple counterparties, by providing objective and in-
draining resources from the real economy. Credit default swaps, dependent valuation of trades and collateral, and also by moni-
interest rate swaps, collateralized debt obligations and other toring credit worthiness of firms involved

Economic Development
credit derivatives helped entities achieve in the trade. With more than two-thirds of
short-term financing in a manner that unfor-
tunately masked risk and promoted tragically L credit default swaps being collateralized, the
arge credit-default swap need for an independent valuation source is
unsafe bets. While many propose that all such exposures increase systemic obvious.
derivatives be banned in favor of a more nar- risk, including the risk of In order for the clearinghouse to effectively
row banking system, such a task will deprive concentrate the risk of default and settle-
corporations of a much-needed revenue
the collapse of an entire
ment failures into itself, it must be properly
stream. Rather, the Securities and Exchange financial system managed and capitalized. Given that clear-
Commission (SEC) should oversee the cre- inghouses will be managed privately with
ation of a clearinghouse for credit default government oversight, a set of best practices
swaps to reduce systemic risk as well as promote greater trans- must be followed. The clearinghouse must also have enough of
parency in the Credit-default Swap (CDS) market. a capital buffer to withstand a significant adverse event, such as

CDS’s were first created in the mid-1990s to provide protec- the defaulting of a large firm. Firms which choose to become
tion against the default of firms, sovereign nations, mortgage members will contribute capital to the clearinghouses’s guaran-
payers, and other borrowers. Credit-default swaps are bilateral, tee fund. In the event of a settlement failure, the clearinghouse
over-the-counter contracts in which a firm or individual seeking will be poised to draw on its fund to settle trades on behalf of
protection agrees to pay a periodic fee or an upfront payment in the failed clearing fund, providing more market stability. In this
exchange for a payment from the insuring agent in the case of a manner, the clearinghouse reduces the risk of a member firm
particular credit event (such as a bankruptcy). By April of 2009, failing to honor its trade settlement obligations.
there was an estimated $28 trillion of CDS outstanding. By the

Energy & Environment

end of 2007, there was over $26.4 trillion of outstanding CDS’s
in the United States alone. Globally, credit-default swaps make Green Detroit: The Way Forward for the America’s
up an estimated $60 trillion, making them the most widespread, Auto Industry
unregulated forms of credit derivatives on the market. Sophia Rogers
Because of the enormous size of the CDS market and the
vulnerability of CDS payoffs to economic conditions, large cred-
it-default swap exposures increase systemic risk, including the Introduction
risk of the collapse of an entire financial system. With volumes Michigan has the highest unemployment rate of all the
of trade in this market exploding, systemically important institu- states: in March 2010, one in seven people were officially unem-
tions like AIG and Fannie-Mae became vulnerable to devastat- ployed.1 Detroit’s brutal combination of a deficit growing out of
ing losses when they took large, unhedged CDS positions. Firms control—predicted to be as high as $466 million—and a shrinking

Equal Justice
who bought CDS from such exposed firms did not properly tax base threatens to bankrupt the city.2 Sick with joblessness,
question whether their counterparties could pay out insurance. concentrated poverty, physical decay of buildings, and racial iso-
Consequently, the biggest financial firms in the world contin- lation, the city has been radically transformed from what it once
ually purchased insurance from companies like AIG despite the was. Because of Detroit’s auto-industrial complex that fueled
fact that AIG had sold $440 billion in CDS contracts, more than it postwar U.S. growth In the 1940s, it was a boomtown, and home
could afford to cover when collateral prices plunged. Currently, to the highest-paid blue-collar workers in the United States. But
CDS losses are estimated at $150 billion worldwide. The failure beginning in the 1970s, the industry gradually lost shares to new
of large participants in the CDS market overwhelmed the finan- foreign competitors because it resisted upgrade, and missed
cial system and forced all counterparty firms to incur significant entirely the new “green” consumer market. Even before the re-
losses. The prospect of other unknown “AIGs”, sellers of CDS cession of 2008, Detroit was hemorrhaging money and market
Health Care

without the capital buffer to honor obligations, is very real. There share. The recession finally kicked the industry off the edge.
needs to be a way for firms to see how exposed an institution is. While Ford was reasonably healthy, GM and Chrysler faced im-
CDS are currently arranged over-the-counter rather than on ex- minent bankruptcy and had to be bailed-out by the federal gov-
change, meaning that they are negotiated privately between the ernment. The industry remains in crisis and as a result, the city is
two counterparties. With a clearinghouse system, purchasers of a desolate urban sprawl spotted with empty factories and poor
insurance do not negotiate directly with the sellers; rather, the neighborhoods of unemployed people.
clearinghouse mediates each transaction by acting as a seller In order to understand the relationship between Detroit and
the auto industry, we can start by examining its historical roots. and producers of related technologies.7 The geographic prox-
These can be characterized as mismanagement of the auto pro- imity of firms created dense social networks. These social net-
Defense & Diplomacy

ducers, a failure in union strategy, and the failure of the national works made open labor markets, which in turn then encouraged
government to address vast unemployment. Though each of experimentation and entrepreneurship by rewarding risk-taking
these patterns has the potential to be turned around, they per- and tolerating failure.8
sist today as they have for decades.
History of the Detroit’s Auto Industry Detroit has the potential to be the next Silicon Valley. There
The devastating bust of the 1950s that followed the war and is a lot of green industry action in Michigan already; In Detroit,
postwar boom caused thousands to become unemployed; De- there’s interest in community and industry sustainability coming
troit lost 134,000 manufacturing jobs from 1947-1963 though the from many sources including the Mayor’s Office, the LISC (Local
Economic Development

working-aged population increased.3 Laid-off workers lowered Initiative Support Corporation), and the Kresge Foundation. In
consumer demand in the city, which reduced buying power and Michigan statewide, Governor Jennifer Granholm has focused
drove local business to suffer or fail. The gap between job seek- on creating alternative energy jobs. Further, the federal govern-
ers and job opportunities continued to grow beyond this period. ment owns GM and Chrysler so policy-makers have the rare op-
Federal postwar highway construction made central location portunity at this moment to enact enormous change. The auto-
less necessary to industry, facilitating the flight of industry that producing and auto-related firms in and near Detroit already
resulted in instability of jobs in Rust Belt cities. have the benefit of clustering geographically the same way as
Conflict arose in the 1960’s between unions and business that the high-tech firms in Silicon Valley, which allows for dense net-
further contributed to relocation of many plants out of Detroit works and flexible job adjustment. Add to the mix the same fac-
and other Rust Belt cities and into suburban and rural areas. tors that were provided in Silicon Valley—teaching and training
Overly aggressive labor disputes over automation and the use provided by universities in the area, federal funds, smart regula-
of overtime (which were themselves factors that decreased the tions and taxes, and a restructuring of business based around

number of available jobs) motivated employers to build plants horizontal networks—and Detroit has a good shot for survival and
outside of the Rust Belt cities. While the big firms moved plants success.9 The serious problem of racial discrimination stands as
out of Detroit in pursuit of cheaper land, modern factories, bet- the most challenging barrier between Detroit and Silicon Valley.
ter tax incentives, and illegal nonunion labor, small firms in the The equal rights of workers issue must be enforced for Detroit
industry that could not afford to pay the standard union wage to have any hope of survival.
lacked the capital to leave the city, and failed. To revive Detroit, the auto industry must be rebuilt in a way
For all that can be said about the problems that workers had that ensures its survival and prosperity while providing work
in Detroit after the postwar bust, racial discrimination exagger- for engineers, scientists researching green energy, and for
Energy & Environment

ated those problems for Detroit’s black workers, who struggled blue-collar workers. This will require the collaboration among
with persistent unemployment and dislocation. business, labor, scientists and engineers,
Because of pervasive racial discrimination and
violence, blacks were limited to living in black
sub-communities within Detroit.4 Policy mak-
D etroit has the poten-
non-profit and philanthropic organizations,
city and state government, and the federal
tial to be the next Silicon government. The federal government must
ers have addressed the issue of racial discrimi- Valley. step up to provide federal research grants
nation in the past, though inadequately; pres- to universities and research institutions that
sure from unions and civil rights groups won are doing promising work in the direction of
Michigan a state-wide anti-discrimination bill, the Fair Employ- green cars. The government should act as an agency between
ment Practices Act of 1955, but that bill failed to have a serious researchers and committed automakers to connect research
impact on the lives of black workers. Industry continued to leave with business. Companies that commit to producing greener
Equal Justice

the city and black workers continued to lack the means and will cars should get help in hiring labor via a tax break that takes
to follow.5 into account the salaries each company pays workers whose job
Auto producers, along with other traditional producers, failed relates to making cars more fuel-efficient. The city of Detroit
to adapt to changing international markets in the 1970s and ‘80s. should facilitate restructuring of the companies legally and coor-
Can we bring back the Motor City itself, and with it the domestic dinate contracting between labor and management.
car industry? Silicon Valley persisted throughout the economic Mayor Dave Bing promises to be a major asset to the city.10
downturn of the 80s and went on to flourish. If we compare He knows that the city’s infrastructure is too large for the shrink-
Silicon Valley to Detroit we can determine what it would take to ing population.11 In order to regenerate city, he knows that he
rebuild Detroit. must first shrink it to a smaller size from which base it can grow.
The administration has begun to demolish unusable buildings
Health Care

Comparison: Silicon Valley and aims to tear down 10,000 buildings by the end of 2014.12
From 1986-1990, the aggregate market value of all the compa- Reducing the size of the city is a first step in the direction of
nies in Silicon Valley actually increased by twenty-five billion dol- rebuilding it in a way that will enable it to survive.
lars.6 The major innovations of Silicon Valley were region-based Rebuilding the industry would not only save the city but it
networks with structuring of firms that encouraged horizontal would help shrink the carbon footprint of the entire country and
communication within firms as well as between firms, promot- improve the economic independence of the United States. The
ing collective learning and flexible adjustment among specialists people of Detroit need it and the people of the nation need it.

Detroit is the best place to rebuild the industry because its con-
centration of plants create the ideal climate for dense networks

Defense & Diplomacy

and flexible job adjustment, the federal government owns two of
the Big Three, and the interest in green energy already present
in Michigan. It is time to acknowledge that we are all stakehold-
ers in the auto industry and that the best way to save it is by
rebuilding Detroit.

Economic Development
Energy & Environment
Equal Justice
Health Care

Equal access to a quality education is a closely held progressive value. Our center desires to
promote discussion on issues of education reform from expansion of school choice to univer-
sal pre-kindergarten. Our perspective on education reform is one that strives for greater op-
portunities through education, and holds that an education system where no students are left
behind should be a central goal of a progressive society. This year, our center has researched
pieces on teacher evaluations and early childhood education.
These statistics, along with numerous other reports, prove
Guaranteeing a Better Tomorrow Through Early that there is no question whether or not Americans need change
Childhood Education in the education system. Not only would we want to improve

Defense & Diplomacy

Travis Alvarez our graduation rates and test scores for the good and future
of America, because smarter Americans almost guarantees a
successful society, but in a continually globalizing market, if we
Introduction do not improve these scores, the consequences could be disas-
Assuring education for all Americans is the most certain trous. No longer are Americans merely competing against other
way to guarantee the preservation of America and the Ameri- Americans, but against a global field of eager and better-pre-
can Way. However, there are many different elements involved pared individuals who are looking for the best paying jobs the
in governance, so crafting an economically efficient educational world can offer. When Americans fall far behind and no longer
system, based on the newest scientific research, should be the have sizeable influence in the global economy, America loses.

Economic Development
ultimate goal of policy makers. Unfortunately, this is not the state Without education reform, this may happen sooner rather than
of affairs currently in America. later.
As time goes by, overwhelming evidence points to one por-
tion of our education system that could have astronomical affects Early Childhood Education
on the developmental improvement of our youth: early child- On the website of the current President of the United States,
hood education. What can be done to put an emphasis on early Barack Obama, it states, “One of the most critical times to in-
childhood education without adding billions of more dollars to fluence learning in a child’s life is the period before he or she
the state budget, especially during such economic dire straits? reaches kindergarten.”5 Obama and his administration proclaim
Certainly, as countries like China and India grow and surpass the relevance of the new science and realize that when children
America, particularly with math and science, this country needs learn earlier, they have a greater chance to succeed.
a solution to this problem before falling too far behind. As the The facts on early childhood education have become so ac-
world passes us in nearly every category, we must turn to novel cepted and wide spread that it has become a political talking

and creative solutions rather than offer the same generic prom- point, regurgitated any time a discussion on education arises.
ises and failed policies time and time again. Necessary change The OECD reports that participation in early childhood educa-
must take place and soon. tion, “is associated with stronger academic, economic, and social
Simply stated, what I propose is enacting a 12-step program, outcomes.”6 According to an article in The American Prospect,
pushing forward the acceptable age by one month perennially “the middle class faces the dilemma of the poor: not enough time
so that after 12 years, children will be entering Kindergarten one both to earn a living and care for one’s children.” This is one of
full year earlier. This shift will not affect the fundamentals of how the major issues facing Americans today, and with an opportu-

Energy & Environment

this system is organized—the taxpayers will still only be respon- nity for children to enter a classroom at an earlier age, the youth
sible for K-12 education—but it will allow for an earlier start for will be hearing more words, learning how to read, and doing ba-
all American children. This will get children into the classroom, sic skills while they would have been doing very little inside the
learning and reading, at a much younger age, allowing for their classroom to foster their minds. Scientists have found that the
minds to develop while their functional brains are more mallea- development of language areas in the brain is expanded due to
ble and ready to discover new and interesting aspects of the the constant exposure to words and such as a child. Therefore,
world. if a child is exposed to the breadth of language proliferated in a
classroom setting that would not have had the same experience
Status Quo and Stakes at home, because of working parents and things of that nature,
Currently, according to The Organization for Economic Co- that child is greatly enhancing their capacity to learn for years
operation and Development (OECD), the United States ranks 18 to come.7
out of 36 nations viewed for their research. Countries like South Economically, investment in early childhood education is sim-

Equal Justice
Korea, who top the list, have a 93% high school graduation rate ply logical. When viewing the rate of return on invested dollars
while the United States continues to hover around 75%.1 Accord- on education and age, it is exponentially more efficient to fund
ing to the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), younger children. The efficiency is derived from rate of return—
the United States is underperforming in the areas of math and the younger a child is exposed to education, the more valuable
science literacy among a large sample size of children 15 years the investment is for the long-term, for them personally and for
of age.2 The Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern American society as a whole. The cry for more money to finance
University and the Alternative Schools Network collaborated early childhood education programs is beginning to be heard
and recognized a continuing and downward trend for American throughout the United States, as some say that, “America needs
students, something that they called a, “high school dropout cri- to set itself on a course to publicly invest in early childhood at
sis.”3 On top of these rather novel predicaments with education, the same rate we invest in K-12 education.” 7 However, can there
Health Care

there are still problems with the ever-lingering achievement gap, be a simpler, more efficient solution?
which even though evidence shows that minimal improvement
has been made over the passed 15 years, the crisis still exists, Plan
allowing White Americans to continually attain more impressive The plan consists of very little change to the overall structure
test scores than their Black and Hispanic counterparts year in of the current system, for the basic K-12 structure will remain in-
and year out.4 tact. This is not an overhaul of American education as we know it,
but instead, a single alteration in order to broaden opportunities thought that it would be financially beneficial for them to remain
and improve the test scores and general intelligence of Ameri- with their current policies for one reason or another, that is their
Defense & Diplomacy

can youth to continue competing against a constantly expanding prerogative.

pool of competitors.
Currently, the education system has cut off dates for who is Implementation and Benefits
allowed to be in which grade, for example, anyone born from An evident predicament arises upon simple observation of
September 1989 to September 1990 was allowed into the High the plan: this causes one month a year to only have the oppor-
School graduating class of 2008 in Bergen County New Jersey. tunity to join exclusively in one educational year. Next year, chil-
All states and districts have different variations on the same ex- dren born in September 2004 until September 2005 will have
act law, forcing kids within a certain range to be admitted into access to a free Kindergarten education, but if the plan is im-
Kindergarten. In order to make early childhood education avail- plemented, the next year, parents that may have had a choice
Economic Development

able for all students, this public policy would call for a 12-year with their child in the past will no longer have the capability to
program, where in each successive year the age in which some- hold them back because the next year’s cut-off will be October
one is allowed to be in a specific grade changes by one month. 2005 until October 2006. In order to assure that parents will
To make is somewhat clearer, using the example of the afore- not have any confusion over the changing dates of availability,
mentioned graduating class, if they were in the second year of myriad public resources will be used for promulgation, such as
the program, the cut off dates for ages would be from October noticeable signs in public buildings—town hall, the library, the
1989 until October 1990 and if that grade were in the twelfth post office, etc.—announcements at public assemblies such as
year of the program, the cut off would be from September 1990 Board of Education and Town Hall meetings, an official written
until September 1991, successfully shifting the education system report to be sent by mail to every citizen of each town, mass
by one full year. The reason why this plan must take 12 years e-mail messages (if possible), and what is arguably the most af-
is due to the influx of students—if all done in one year, a small fective method, word of mouth. Through all of these elements,
district may expect to have to divide an extra 150 Kindergarten- confusion should be held at a minimum, but even if a problem

ers among 6 teachers, which would absurdly add 25 students arises, a child will never be denied a public education due to the
into every classroom. If the plan is spread unscrupulousness of their parents.
out among 12 years however, about 2 extra
children will be in every classroom, which
any Kindergarten teacher knows is difficult,
E arly intervention strate-
gies for young learners will
Colleges will also have to be well
aware of the potential influx of students.
Although much will be done in order to
but indubitably manageable. Due to this mitigate such a large scale entry of new
modification, most Americans would begin
yield academic gains in terms of students into colleges—forwarding the
Kindergarten at age 4 and graduate High school performance. gap year and such—nothing can truly be
Energy & Environment

School at age 17. done to guarantee these colleges that

The main question that arises is the un- there will not be more children applying
certainty of whether or not 4-year-olds are prepared for Kinder- during this 12-year period. Fortunately, all of these institutions
garten material. Two things should be made clear when thinking will have 13 years to prepare for these incoming students, allow-
about this dilemma: one is that Preschool currently is very similar ing for more than enough time to change policies or promote
to Kindergarten in many respects, teaching basic elements of new ideas for the structure of the college or university.
reading along with fundamental social and critical thinking skills. There are evident immediate and potentially long-term ben-
This is done, essentially, because many do not have the opportu- efits as a direct consequence of this program. Presently, billions
nity to join a Preschool, already creating an education gap before of dollars are spent, through state budgets, on the subsidization
any higher learning begins. There will not be sweeping changes of preschool education. With the implementation of this pro-
to Kindergarten programs but certainly, due to the difference gram, one would expect that those billions would be reallocated
Equal Justice

in age, each teacher must make key adjustments to their lesson into the education system, allowing for greater funding for many
plans, slowing down and paying close attention to the retention more public school districts. With more of the educated youth
of information for these very young children. Two is that it may be beginning on the same level, the difficulty involved in teaching
slightly disingenuous to still call this curriculum “Kindergarten” children of drastically different levels in elementary schools will
based on the modern conception of the word, because what will be alleviated, which would consequentially create financial sav-
truly be offered, free of charge for every American child, is a top- ings in terms of remediation, for there would be less need to
of-the-line Preschool program where more children will begin at have extremely elementary classes in Middle School and be-
the same, youthful age, inevitably creating a more level playing yond. The money spent on remedial education will be lessened,
field for all Americans. which will also allow for the circulation of more funds through-
Will this plan be implemented in both private and parochial out school districts. As aforesaid, early intervention strategies
Health Care

schools? One must understand that first and foremost, these for young learners will yield academic gains in terms of school
schools are privately owned and cared for, making their own performance and the achievement gap because more children
rules concerning age limits. The government cannot technically will begin formal education at an equivalent age. Students who
enforce any age limits on these districts, but one could easily as- were previously completely unexposed to schooling prior to age
sume, due to the fact that essentially all private schools currently 5 will now have exposure to early childhood education.
hold a model set by public schools, that these private institutions There are also apparent changes when looking at the affects
would follow suit if this plan were initiated. But if private schools on high school students. If students are still forced to stay in
school under 16 years of age, that places them in their Junior ity to implement lessons that advance student progress, officials
Year of High School, the most important year when viewing the lack the tools necessary to make important personnel decisions

Defense & Diplomacy

landscape of a child’s potential. Although the fact that they are and determinations on professional development. Currently,
forced into attending Junior Year makes no guarantees, many tenure is still granted virtually automatically and other employ-
more students will likely opt into taking standardized tests to see ment decisions, such as teacher assignment, are made with the
if they are prepared for tertiary education merely out of curios- idea that one teacher with the proper credentials is identical to
ity. This could fundamentally change the mindset of high school another.
students: now that they are only one year from completion of These assumptions have real consequences for schools and
their secondary education, the chance to graduate becomes students. Teacher quality is the most important contributing
more palatable. Additionally, assuming that this program will in- factor to student achievement. A student who learns from a
deed lessen the achievement gap, this will call for fewer reten- teacher in the top 25% of the teaching pool will learn on av-

Economic Development
tions because more children will be performing within their peer erage one-third more material in a school year than a student
group, which would save money for the school districts overall. who learns from a teacher in the bottom 25%.3 This disparity
With more children on the average track for graduation, those not only negatively impacts individual classrooms of students,
students who would traditionally dropout will gather the con- but also becomes compounded in the nation’s poorest schools,
fidence needed to propel them to completing their secondary both urban and rural, widening the achievement gaps between
education. white and minority students, affluent and economically disadvan-
Currently, with more graduating seniors wanting to take a taged students. By one measure, the black-white achievement
year off for travel and Senior Year programs for vocational edu- gap, measured at 34%, could potentially be erased in four years
cation expanding, students could enter college at 18, as modern- through proper allocation of high quality teachers.4
ly expected, even after taking a year off from schooling. This gap Currently, however, officials in New York State are among
year could be a great resume booster as well; students could those without any meaningful way to identify those high qual-
choose to take the year off for constructive purposes towards ity teachers and their lower-performing counterparts who are in

their future profession. need of the targeted professional development that meaning-
ful evaluations can inform. Thus, New York

Conclusion State’s current teacher evaluation require-
When creating an image of the future fficials lack the tools ments constitute a barrier to raising student
of society, education must always be taken achievement. New York State should de-
into account. Without the continual educa-
necessary to make important sign, fund, and implement a comprehensive
tion of humans, we remain stagnant as a personnel decisions and de- statewide teacher evaluation instrument
society with no hope to surpass up-and- terminations on professional that makes effectiveness as an instructor, as

Energy & Environment

coming global powerhouses. With the exe- development. determined by observations and objective
cution of this plan that focuses on the most measures of student learning, the central
important scientific consensus concerning criterion of evaluation. Each district should
schooling, early childhood education, this policy will spar a new, be required to use the state evaluation system, which should be
vibrant, and successful group of Americans ready to lead in a funded at least partially by the state. The New York State Board
international marketplace. of Regents is already exploring creating statewide teaching
standards.5 These should be developed with a focus on class-
room effectiveness and then serve as a foundation for the state-
Towards a Better System of Teach Evaluation in wide evaluation system. Overall, the implementation of such an
New York State evaluation system would reduce inequalities in teacher effective-
Maddy Joseph ness and student achievement across districts in New York State.

Equal Justice
The Status Quo
Introduction New York State law calls for an “annual professional perfor-
Recent research has discredited the current credential- mance review” of each teacher.6 Performance review plans are
based system of identifying and labeling teachers that is exem- developed by individual districts within state guidelines and
plified in No Child Left Behind (the Elementary and Secondary then are approved by the state. The state outlines eight crite-
Education Act - ESEA). This system relies on standardized tests ria, including classroom management, content knowledge, and
and course credits among other measures when rating teach- delivery, which though seen in high-quality teachers, do not au-
ers.1 In fact, President Obama’s proposal for the reauthorization tomatically correlate to increased student achievement. Though
of ESEA transitions from rating teachers “Highly Qualified” to districts are not limited to these guidelines, the current criteria
Health Care

rating them “effective.”2The false assumption that a master’s de- represent only subjective, or observable, measures of teacher
gree and mastery of subject material will automatically lead to effectiveness. For example a teacher should, “demonstrate
teaching that improves student achievement provides a partial knowledge of student development” and show that she “imple-
explanation for the lack, in most districts in the United States, of ments assessment techniques” and “utilizes analysis of available
teacher evaluation systems that constitute a real measure of a student performance data.”7
teacher’s ability in the classroom. Without evaluations that truly Furthermore, according to the National Council on Teacher
recognize instructional effectiveness, defined as a teacher’s abil- Quality, by preventing districts from using student achievement
data in making tenure decisions, “the state sends a powerful New York State, it is possible for a teacher to earn a satisfactory
message to districts that the state does not support its use.”8 rating on an evaluation without having demonstrated that he or
Defense & Diplomacy

Thus, the state effectively excludes the use of objective mea- she advanced student learning. If New York State’s goal is to im-
sures of instructional effectiveness, especially student test data, prove student achievement, it needs a way to measure the varia-
in evaluating teachers. Moreover, New York does not mandate tions in effectiveness of teachers in reaching that goal. Thus, a
an annual observation for non-probationary teachers, which new statewide evaluation system must make effectiveness in the
means that the vast majority of teachers in New York State are classroom the central criterion for evaluation.
being evaluated, but potentially without being observed.9 In A variety of models exist and a variety of specific structures
fact, since most teachers in New York are granted tenure vir- have been proposed for effective evaluation systems, but most
tually automatically after the mandatory three-year wait period, recent studies have recommended, most broadly, that evalua-
there is the potential that a teacher could be in the classroom tions be based on defined standards of what it means to be an
Economic Development

from hiring to retirement having been observed only three times effective teacher and that evaluations take into account both ob-
and having never been evaluated by any objective measures of jective and subjective measures of classroom ability. Obama’s
students’ achievement. ESEA Blueprint, for instance, reflects this research14 in that it
mandates that states develop a definition of “effective teacher”
The State and Federal Role in Evaluations on which to base evaluations. The New York State Board of Re-
Control over education in the United States has shown a gen- gents is currently developing state teaching standards. These
eral trend away from local control. The federal government’s two elements might, in combination, form the foundation for an
role has expanded greatly in the Twentieth Century spurred improved, and more legitimized, evaluation instrument.
by battles over desegregation and the 1983 report A Nation Effectiveness as an instructor can be measured in a variety
at Risk.10 As the federal government has expanded its role, the of different ways, but a meaningful evaluation system should
state role in education has expanded as well, as many federal include both observable criteria and objectively measured
education policies come in the form of mandates to states, as in ones. The statewide evaluation instrument should require that

NCLB. a school administrator observe all teachers at least twice annu-

In the area of evaluating teachers, the state role has been ally. The more time an administrator is able to spend observing
limited, and the federal role almost non-existent. Though RTT the teacher, the more informed that administrator’s evaluation
prompted many statewide changes in evaluations, in 2009, be- of the teacher will be, but in setting the number of required
fore much of the state legislation was passed, twenty states took observations, the state should take into account the increased
no role in teacher evaluation systems. Where states did have burden being placed on already taxed principals and vice prin-
a role, it was usually to provide districts with varying levels of cipals. Administrators should be properly trained to implement
guidelines for designing evaluations. In 2009, only nine states the evaluation system so that they are fair and consistent in their
Energy & Environment

had a single statewide instrument for evaluating teachers.11 evaluations and so that they are able to give meaningful feed-
The two states that were awarded grants in the first round of back to teachers on how to improve their lessons and delivery.
RTT were Delaware and Tennessee, both of which were widely There are challenges to developing a rubric for observation that
praised for their strong teacher evaluation proposals.12 For ex- measures a teacher’s effectiveness in the classroom, but any ru-
ample, Delaware has a statewide teacher evaluation system seen bric should aim to meet two goals: (1) to provide an assessment
as a model because it is based on statewide standards of teach- of whether the teacher has designed and implemented a lesson
ing and because it makes growth in student achievement a nec- that meets the state teaching standards (2) to supply informa-
essary component of receiving a satisfactory evaluation. Before tion that can be used for targeted professional development. It
recently, however, no state had taken on evaluation on such a must be recognized that the observation measure is subjective
wide scale and many of the most innovative evaluation programs by nature but is at the heart of the ability to use evaluations as
were to be found in individual districts or in charter schools. tools for professional development. Subjective measurements
Equal Justice

Current state and federal policies on teacher evaluations follow are able to provide insights about a professional’s teaching that
a general trend in education and point to an increase in the state objective measures, such as data analysis of student test scores,
and federal role and a decrease in the individual district role. cannot. An administrator’s assessment of ability in the classroom
provides critical information about strengths and weaknesses
A Comprehensive Statewide Instrument that can inform the most targeted and best professional devel-
The possibility for teacher evaluation systems to improve opment possible, which in turn creates more effective teachers,
education is currently a hot topic in education policy. Though and higher student achievement.
there have been many reports on the inadequacy of the current While New York State does not require observations for most
systems of teacher evaluation, the most comprehensive, and per- teachers, it outright forbids the use of student achievement data
haps the best known, is The New Teacher Project’s The Widget in making tenure decisions. The use of objective measures of
Health Care

Effect, which concluded: “A teacher’s effectiveness – the most student achievement is more controversial than the use of sub-
important factor for schools in improving student achievement – jective measures, but certainly no less important. The most com-
is not measured, recorded, or used to inform decision-making in monly discussed objective measures of teacher effectiveness are
any meaningful way.”13 If we send children to school in order for student test data. While recent studies and recent federal and
them to learn, it seems obvious that the professional review sys- state policies (many spurred by Obama’s grant program, Race
tems for those charged with guiding that learning would mea- to the Top - RTT) trend towards an increase in the use of value-
sure to what extent children are learning; however, currently, in added methods in evaluations (where the change in student
test scores over one year is analyzed), there are other ways to to improve failing schools.
measure learning objectively. For instance, some schools and That there is an achievement gap between high-poverty and

Defense & Diplomacy

districts have used assessments of student work tied to selected low-poverty schools is well known. While a variety of factors
standards or portfolio-type assessments such as the Beginning including funding contribute to this inequality, it certainly stems
Educator Support and Training Program (BEST) used in Con- at lease in part from a gap in teacher quality. Students in high-
necticut.15 In fact, these other methods of analyzing teacher poverty schools are, by a variety of different measures that are
effectiveness objectively might have to be incorporated into positively correlated to teacher effectiveness, almost twice as
any comprehensive evaluation system considering that student likely as students in low-poverty schools to have an ineffective
test data is not available for every teacher in every grade level teacher.19 Problems of recruitment, selection, and retention are
and every subject. Regardless of this limitation, there is strong compounded in high-poverty districts so that fewer good teach-
evidence that taking into account student achievement data ers come, more leave, and fewer who do come and stay are able

Economic Development
through a value-added approach can distinguish the teachers to improve to reach the highest levels of effectiveness.20 Mean-
who improve students’ achievement the most and the least. In ingful systems of teacher evaluation, if correctly implemented,
addition, many reformers praise value-added methods because would have the biggest impact in the lowest performing dis-
they provide a level playing field for each teacher (regardless tricts, which are the most likely to lack the resources necessary
of where students started, as long as they show improvement a to design and implement a meaningful system of evaluation on
teacher is deemed effective) and because data analysis methods their own.
allow for the possibility to control for factors such as poverty and This inequality of effective teachers, and thus student achieve-
for the aggregation and analysis of data over many years, which ment, is especially present between districts, which is one of the
strengthens trends. Value-added methods are not perfect and reasons that a statewide instrument would potentially be most
have yet to be implemented on a large scale other than in Ten- effective in decreasing inequalities.21 The current evaluation
nessee, though programs exist in many cities including Hous- system that mandates that districts design their own evaluation
ton, Chicago, and New York City and more states are moving systems could be seen as encouraging inequality. Though the

towards using value-added methods as a result of the guidelines state must approve all districts’ professional performance review
of the RTT competition.16 plans, inequalities in wealth among districts ensure that, even if
In New York State, unfortunately, the prospects for value-add- the evaluation plans meet basic state standards, there are as-
ed methods are mixed. Through its current process of collecting suredly still differences not only in design but more notably in
test scores, New York already has the technological infrastruc- implementation, of which there is no oversight. A statewide
ture to implement a value-added system on a state level yet cur- instrument of evaluation would hold each district’s teachers to
rent New York State law bans the use of student test data in the same statewide standards of teaching, assessed by the same
tenure decisions.17 The ban does not apply to non-probationary rubric by administrators trained in the same way. Naturally, all

Energy & Environment

teachers and the whole provision is set to expire in July 2010, inequalities cannot be removed. The quality of administrators
but the ban both sends the message to districts that they should might still differ among districts, for example. But, there is cer-
not use student test data and obviously prevents the use of tainly strong potential for a reduction in inequality under an eval-
data in making a critical employment decision. Ideally, the new uation system that is standardized for poor and wealthy districts
statewide instrument would incorporate the use of value-added across the state.
methods as suggested not only in the RTT guidelines but also in Great benefits would certainly be derived from having a
Obama’s ESEA Blueprint. single set of teaching standards on which all professionals are
Evaluations, when meaningful, have two evaluated. With a single statewide instru-
central uses. First, they can be used forma- ment for evaluating teachers based on
tively to create more targeted professional
development. Second, they can be tied to N ew York State should
a single set of statewide teaching stan-
dards, the state is saying to parents, stu-

Equal Justice
personnel decisions such as granting tenure, adopt and fund a comprehen- dents, and teachers that good teaching
hiring and firing, making school assignments, sive statewide instrument for looks the same in the challenged districts
and, eventually, setting pay. Tying teacher of the Bronx as it does in wealthy West-
evaluating teachers.
evaluations to human capital decisions such as chester. When all teachers are held to
these both strengthens the evaluation system the same description of what it means to
by making its findings of consequence, but further will create teach well, expectations for teachers would be held to a higher
schools were excellence in teaching, instead of sonority or cre- standard in districts where ineffective teachers are concentrat-
dentials, is most valued.18 ed. Second, for example, the current New York State guidelines
for evaluations do not require an annual observation for tenured
Solution: A Statewide Instrument teachers. This leaves room for vast disparities between districts
Health Care

New York State should adopt and fund a comprehensive in the quality of evaluations: Some teachers may be observed
statewide instrument for evaluating teachers. A single state several times while others are observed not at all, providing the
system that is funded primarily through the state will decrease possibility that some receive vastly more meaningful feedback
inequalities among districts and schools in two ways (1) by en- than those who are rarely if ever observed. One single evalua-
suring an evaluation framework that is fair, credible, and consis- tion system assures that all teachers are being held to the same
tent across districts and (2) by promoting transparency that puts standards of effectiveness and are being given meaningful feed-
pressure on individual schools, individual districts, and the state back on their instruction not just in wealthy districts, but across
the state. funds could be made up in the current state budget through
Potential inequalities aside, at a most basic level it is evident cuts in other programs. A second approach to finding funds is
Defense & Diplomacy

that a statewide evaluation instrument that includes distribution through the federal grant program RTT. New York State was one
of state funds would reduce inequality by improving the poorer of 16 finalists in the first round of RTT. It was denied money, but
districts. A majority of money for education comes from the local a majority of the grants will be handed out in the second round,
district, though state and federal funds are available.22 Districts as roughly $3.5 billion remains to be distributed. New York State
where many families live in poverty have less money and fewer would have to move quickly to pass the evaluation proposal in
resources than those with wealthy families and high property order to make it part of its Phase 2 application, which would be
values. These poor districts would have less money to devote due June 1. RTT grant money could go towards implementing a
to developing and implementing teacher evaluation programs. statewide evaluation system. The Obama administration might
Moreover, this lack of ability to develop meaningful evalua- create other competitive grant programs with relevant missions,
Economic Development

tions compounds existing inequalities. Less effective teachers from which New York could draw funds for this proposal. A third
are already concentrated in high poverty areas, while more ef- avenue for funding might become available in the next two years
fective teachers are usually to be found in higher income areas. after Obama pushes the passage of the renewal of the ESEA.
High attrition in low-income schools and the lack of meaningful This could not only increase funding to states, but might in fact
ways to measure teacher effectiveness are just two things that provide special funds for states to create evaluation programs
hamper professional development initiatives in high poverty ar- like this one.
eas.23 The lack of professional development not only decreases
the possibility that less effective teachers will become highly ef- Conclusion
fective but also increases attrition, which makes the situation in Funding and implementing a comprehensive statewide in-
low-income schools even more dire.24 Teacher evaluations are strument for evaluating teachers in New York State would con-
not a panacea. However, the creation of a single, comprehensive tribute to narrowing the achievement gap within districts, but es-
statewide system of teacher evaluation would decrease inequal- pecially among districts. Though proposals to incorporate into

ity among districts in New York State by creating the same stan- evaluations objective measures of instructional effectiveness
dards for teachers and their evaluation and by decreasing the such as student achievement data might receive push back from
likelihood of a compounding of inequalities in high-poverty dis- important and powerful stakeholders such as teachers unions, a
tricts that lack the resources and tools (such as comprehensive comprehensive evaluation system is worth the fight. No evalu-
evaluation systems) to develop and implement effective profes- ation instrument is perfect – it is extremely difficult to measure
sional development programs. instructional effectiveness with total accuracy. However, an
The second method by which a single state instrument for evaluation system, when tied with professional development and
evaluation will decrease inequality among districts is that states personnel decisions, that at least attempts to achieve the ele-
Energy & Environment

will benefit from having data on teacher effectiveness that can ments outlined will constitute a vast improvement over the cur-
be compared and reported across districts. Transparency about rent patchwork of evaluations in New York State.
a lack of effective teachers will push districts and schools to work
harder to improve teacher quality, will encourage parents to ad-
vocate for reform, and will generally place increased pressure Supporting Student Loan Schemes in Developing
on districts and the state to improve educational outcomes. A Countries through USAID
report by the New Teacher Project making recommendations Pooja Reddy
about states’ RTT applications goes so far as to state, “Greater
outcomes will result from mandating the public reporting of
teacher effectiveness data rather than mandating specific strate- Proposal
gies.”25 If transparency leads to reform, complete transparency The peer-to-peer lending site Vittana has helped further the
Equal Justice

of teacher effectiveness data that is easily compared across dis- reach and efficacy of financial markets in developing countries
tricts across the state, then reform will disproportionately oc- by supporting student borrowers in short vocational programs
cur in the high-poverty districts whose teaching forces will not or college students in their last year before commencement with
compare well. small loans. These microfinance initiatives have allowed many
students in countries with little to no financial support for higher
Funding education to obtain an essential education. While the agency
In 2008-2009, New York State had a budget shortfall of $1.7 cannot engage in microfinance loans since it operates under a
billion.26 Deficit reduction proposals for 2009-2010 have includ- directive specifically to not “award profit under assistance instru-
ed decreases in funding to education, including related pro- ments,” USAID could initiate the creation of a similar model to
grams like a grant program that provides Teacher Centers for support needy students on a larger scale through loan guaran-
Health Care

professional development within districts. Also as part of Gov- tees. While a USAID pilot program with similar goals in Kyrgyz-
ernor David Paterson’s 2010 budget, which has yet to be passed stan exists, an increase in its scope and its replication for other
by the legislature, is a commitment to eliminate unfunded educa- nations is pivotal to the needs of rapidly developing economies
tion mandates to districts.27 This proposal would constitute an facing shortages of skilled workers. By partnering with local or-
unfunded mandate, and thus a major obstacle to passage would ganizations and regional banks to initiate a student loan scheme
be the location of funds. with a USAID loan guarantee, this public-private partnership le-
Though this approach would be difficult, it is possible that verages the knowledge of the specific needs and cultural back-
ground of the country in order to create a viable solution to a severe paucity of skilled workers qualified to meet the demands
pressing socioeconomic need. of an increasingly complex and expanding economy. In addition,

Defense & Diplomacy

The existing USAID program in Kyrgyzstan has a budget of the relatively young demographic makeup of most developing
$150,000 and has been in existence for only a year. It seeks to countries means that a much larger percentage of its population
partner with local organizations in order to create a student demands access to higher education.
loan scheme for needy borrowers. USAID provides a fifty per- As a result of the financial pressure that the combination of
cent loan guarantee and technical assistance while local part- rapid expansion and demographic makeup exerts on public bud-
ner organizations identify needy students and reliable higher gets, governments of developing nations are seeking to increase
education institutions that qualify for assistance so that they may public-private partnerships to make access to higher education
screen student candidates for borrowing at regional banks. This a possibility for a larger percentage of its population. Loans are
unique public-private partnership aims to increase the number both efficient and equitable and, in the education sector, allow

Economic Development
of qualified graduates to fill labor demands in Kyrgyzstan’s grow- for socioeconomic development with large externalities on pro-
ing economy and does so through a relatively small budget. ductivity and governance through the creation of an informed
A cost-benefit analysis from this initiative shows large socio- citizen base.
economic gains. In Kyrgyzstan, as in many developing countries Although national student loan programs were introduced as
around the world, the costs of education are such that a USAID early as the 1950s and 1960s (Cambodia and India both set up
program with a limited budget could make a significant impact. their loan programs in the 1950s), relatively few developing na-
The average cost of tuition and fees at a private university in Kyr- tions have expanded these to reach significant portions of their
gyzstan ranges from $800 to $2,000 per year, while tuition at a populations. Many loan schemes have become defunct since
public university is an average of $800. In vocational schools tu- then due mainly to ineffective administrative policies and low
ition rough ranges between $25 and $300 annually. Because av- loan recovery rates that led to increasing financial dependence
erage per capita income in Kyrgyzstan is $1,300, this makes such on state treasuries. The problem garnered so much attention in
an investment extremely taxing on the average family and nearly the1980s that both the World Bank and the Commonwealth Sec-

impossible for a needy family. Studies in Chile have shown, retariat published guidelines outlining effective design mecha-
however, that graduates of vocational or professional programs nisms for student loan programs in the developing world.
earn 1.6 to 2.8 times as much as a high school graduate while this
number increases to four times as much for a four-year college Objectives
graduate. A 1982 study in Barbados shows that 65% of student The primary goal of a student loan scheme would be its fi-
borrowers earned more than their families’ average incomes af- nancial efficacy or self-sustainability. In order to establish such a
ter completing their studies. scheme or replicate its success elsewhere, it must be managed
Such statistics are similar for developing countries around effectively, a goal best accomplished through public-private part-

Energy & Environment

the world, necessitating the replication of such a model to other nerships. A comparative analysis of successful student loan pro-
countries with small or non-existent student loan schemes (over grams in various countries have shown that this requires three
half the countries in which USAID currently operates). In addi- widely-defined pillars. First, there must be a rigorous legal infra-
tion to replication, the scheme must also increase its scope. The structure in order to ensure loan recover. Second, sound target-
current USAID program only allows funding for college students ing criteria to enable the program to reach needy students must
enrolled in four year colleges. Expanding this to students of be instituted. Finally, minimizing default through changing the
vocational schools would go a long way in decreasing income design mechanism of the student loan must be a priority.
inequality and increasing productivity in vital domestic sectors
such as services and agriculture. Such a scheme has a three- Problems
fold impact: it reduces poverty and income inequality, increases The first impediment is reliance on government; In addition to
labor productivity, and creates an environment within which the financial pressures on public budgets, state-owned loan schemes

Equal Justice
free market (through the financial system) can reach the most have failed due to the way in which they disincentivize both loan
needy. This proposal outlines the need for such a scheme and collection and loan repayment. Excessive dependence on gov-
the framework for replicating this scheme in other countries ernment revenue dwindles funding for such schemes and does
based on a comparative analysis of existing successful student not allow private organizations with effective screening and col-
loan programs. lection mechanisms already in place to take advantage of their
specialized expertise.
Introduction The second impediment is high default rates; High student
Development economics has long been concerned with the loan defaults have been a persistent feature of loan programs
quality and quantity of schools in developing economies. In from Africa and Latin America to Asia. Low student loan recov-
the early years of post-colonial self-governance most emerg- ery ratios caused the governments of Indonesia and Sri Lanka
Health Care

ing economies stressed primary and secondary education with to void their loan schemes while cost savings in other countries
relatively little importance (as measured through public fund- such as India have been dismally low. Due to the administrative
ing) given to tertiary education. Many international organiza- cost of disbursing loans, this has essentially made loans more
tions such as the World Bank supported this approach, implying expensive than grants and scholarships.
that, due to diminishing returns to higher education, university The third impediment is hidden subsidies; Not entirely inde-
education was not as essential to the creation of productive hu- pendent in causing high default rates is the low interest rates at
man capital. Many developing countries today, however, face a which government loans in developing economies are offered.
While high interest rates increase student debt burdens and the mencement and rise quickly thereafter, tying loan repayments
probability of default, below-market interest rates that do not to income can effectively ease the burden of the loan. The 1989
Defense & Diplomacy

take into account expected post-graduation income of the stu- reforms to Sweden’s loan scheme implemented such a struc-
dent borrower act as a hidden subsidy that adds to the financial ture and drastically increased the financial efficiency of the pro-
burden of the government. gram. In addition, income contingent deferrals which exempt
The fourth impediment is unrestricted the borrower from payments in cases of

domain; Ineffective targeting has, in many unforeseen unemployment or when his
cases, allowed all students, regardless of public-private part- or her income falls below a certain mini-
financial need or ability, to take advantage mum threshold might be considered. It
of loan schemes. While the extremely low
nership such as this would
is important to note, however, that inter-
rates of loan disbursements in many devel- increase the feasibility, ef- est would continue to accrue in these
Economic Development

oping countries (over 10/40 had less than 1%) ficiency, and equity of loan instances. Sweden and Hong Kong, two
imply that selection mechanisms to minimize schemes. countries with the lowest loan default
risk were in place, this raises concerns about rates, include deferment clauses in their
equity. loan agreements.
In order to make this program both pragmatic and palatable
Proposed Solutions to lenders, methods must be made to decrease evasion. While
In order to remedy the problems enumerated in the last sec- countries differ in their definition of default, a distinction must
tion, I propose to implement limited access, ability restrictions on be made between students who do not have the means to pay
credits, changing repayment structures, decreasing evasion, and and students who evade paying. While restructuring payment
optimal loan guarantees. Limited Access will achieve the primary schemes can go a long way in minimizing default in the former
goal of financial efficiency; Access to loans should be limited to group, two methods have been shown to effectively decrease
needy students, as determined by personal or family incomes evasion. First, hiring external collection institutions can be piv-

that fall below a pre-specified income threshold. In developing otal to recovering payments through locating students and col-
countries, however, annual income often does not allow one to lecting payments. Second, increasing charges for attempts to
determine means. By taking into account parameters such as so- evade payment should be implemented. In Colombia, adding
cial status and assets, loan schemes can more effectively target additional fees reflecting the cost of hiring external collectors
needy students. are passed on to the student.
Credit rating systems are not a feature of many developing The final implementation must be that of, optimal loan guar-
countries and even in those countries in which they are in ef- antees. In government programs, guaranteed budgets for loan
fect, they would not accurately allow one to determine the fiscal schemes have been shown to decrease incentives for institutions
Energy & Environment

responsibility of a needy student with little hitherto interaction to seek collection. In Indonesia for example, federal loans were
with the financial system. Other determinants of the student guaranteed to almost 100% of their value and saw relatively low
borrower’s likelihood to pay then must be fashioned to fit the repayment rates. The Honduran government, by privatizing the
environment of the loan scheme. Existing loan programs with public student loan institution, Educredito, saw default rates re-
high rates of success have done this in two ways through abil- duced from ninety percent to under ten percent.
ity restrictions by analyzing students’ previous performance and
using peer-to-peer lending. Studies have shown however that
weak students have a much higher likelihood of dropping out Conclusion
and defaulting on loans. A report on the loan program in the Do- While USAID has supported and initiated numerous initiatives
minican Republic, for example, stated that “loan defaults occur to improve both the quality and quantity of schools in developing
almost exclusively among students who leave school before… nations, it could go a long way in furthering its goal in expand-
Equal Justice

[finishing] the course.” In Colombia, a country with a large-scale ing the reach of free markets by providing loan guarantees to
successful loan scheme, student eligibility is decided partially by needy students looking for educational funding. Although the
performance on the national secondary school exam. Given this risk of default on student loans has been high in the past, creat-
information, student performance in secondary school or com- ing effective mechanisms to decrease this risk can reduce this
pleted college coursework can be an indicator of the borrower’s considerably. A public-private partnership such as this would
commitment to education and, therefore, expected utility from increase the feasibility, efficiency and equity of loan schemes and
the loan. Peer-to-peer lending sites such as Vittana restrict stu- free up public resources for other critical sectors of develop-
dents to those in their final year of coursework in order to gauge ment. Even though they have not always worked well, student
commitment and lower risk of default. This however, restricts loans, reformed through the pillars outlined in this paper, can
funding to those already in college and could deter those with contribute to increased welfare through effective management.
Health Care

no means to fund the first few years of education. Education is a unique and long-term investment that has wide-
Another change that must be implemented is in the way that ranging externalities. Given its critical importance, especially in
repayment structures are created. Even in the case of heavily democratic societies, USAID public-private partnerships to pro-
subsidized loans, students may be forced to default because ini- vide loans and increase its affordability is vital to the growth of
tial payments in the year after graduation take up an unreason- emerging economies.
ably large percentage of their earned income. Since student
borrower’s incomes are at their lowest immediately after com-
Energy and the Environment

The Energy and Environment Center at the Roosevelt Institute consists of

forward thinking undergraduate policy writers. Our focus is the creation
of dynamic policy ideas that attempt to answer the major environmental
questions of the 21st Century using technological and sustainable propos-
als. These proposals involve both the adaptation of successful local ini-
tiatives to a national framework, as well as direct government initiatives.
The Energy and Environment Center’s contributions include work on adapt-
ing cities’ infrastructures to support changes that may result from climate
change, and well as suggestions as to how to increase energy efficiency of
data servers.
national mandates.5
An Analysis of City Adaptation Plans for Climate- Most of the world’s largest cities are situated along the coast,
Defense & Diplomacy

Induced Sea Level Rise and Increased Precipitation exposing much infrastructure to the impacts of sea level rise.
Angela Wong In addition, with more than half of the world’s population con-
centrated in cities, water resources will be strained by drought
or declining drinking water quality as precipitation patterns
The global community has taken a long time to accept that change. In this report, we analyze to what extent cities are re-
the occurrence of climate change is real and now faces the chal- sponding to these vulnerabilities through case studies of New
lenge of managing the manifold human-induced consequences. York City, Seattle, Hamburg and Hong Kong.
Within the next decades, average temperatures will climb, hur-
ricanes will increase in intensity, sea level will rise and the ocean What we know: climate projections
Economic Development

will become more acidic, resulting in costly damages to ecosys- A range of projections exists because the actual extent of
tem services, infrastructure, agriculture and other sectors that warming strongly depends on the level of mitigation that coun-
humans depend on daily. tries commit to. According to the IPCC, average temperatures
The two proactive response strategies to these impacts ei- will increase 2 to 6°C by 2100, much greater than the rise of
ther seek to mitigate the extent of climate change through re- 0.74°C within the past 100 years.6 Here we focus on adaptation
ducing greenhouse gas emissions or to adapt to actual or ex- schemes for increased sea level and shifts in precipitation. These
pected impacts. While more mitigation will lower the severity of effects will inevitably lead to severe impacts and costly damages
the impacts thus resulting in less to adapt to, fewer resources as the world warms.
remain for adaptation and damages may be higher.1 Countries Water expands as it warms, leading to a projected 18 to 60
thus far have been pressured mainly to work towards mitigation cm rise in sea level by 2100.7 In addition, it is possible ice sheet
because of the global benefits. However, effective climate poli- melt from Greenland and Antarctica will also impact sea level
cies must balance the trade-offs between mitigation and adapta- rise.8 However, the magnitude and speed of melt will depend

tion so that both types of plans are developed concurrently. As on uncertain factors such as temperature, ice sheet flows and
policies for adaptation begin to take the sliding of ice sheets into the ocean.

shape, science must guide them to en- Further understanding of these dynam-
sure that the plans for the unconfirmed mplications are clear: rising ics will increase the sea level rise esti-
future are practical. An analysis of how waters will flood infrastructures mate. The IPCC offers three strategies
the scientific facts are applied in exist- in adapting to sea level: protection,
ing adaptation proposals serves as one and residences in low-lying lands, accommodation and managed retreat.
indicator of a city or nation’s level of storm surges will be more intense Protection is the construction of coastal
Energy & Environment

preparedness. and increased runoff from more barriers such as dikes and sea walls, ac-
The United Nations Framework intense precipitation events will commodation is the consideration of
Convention on Climate Change (UN- affect ecosystems, water resources the sea level in the modification or plan-
FCCC) requires its 192 parties to re- ning of buildings and other structures
lease impact assessments specific to and agriculture. and managed retreat is the prevention
each country. Although these state- of development and planned abandon-
ments acknowledge climate change consequences and rec- ment of structures.
ommend actions, most countries have not yet formed well-de- Warming will also cause more evaporation, affecting the
veloped adaptation plans for implementation. The cost of not hydrologic cycle. Wet areas will experience more intense rain
adapting to climate change is approximately equivalent to losing events because there is more water available in the air. Arid ar-
5% of global GDP and four times this value when environmen- eas will also face less frequent and more intense precipitation
Equal Justice

tal and health impacts are considered.2 Despite this, national events but will generally become drier. The projected shift of
decision makers direct attention to mitigation because some precipitation patterns varies considerably because of spatial and
strategies such as increasing energy efficiency can be widely seasonal variability.
implemented. There is also fear that planning for adaptation will Despite these uncertainties, the implications are clear: ris-
imply that mitigation efforts have been fruitless and are there- ing waters will flood infrastructures and residences in low-lying
fore being abandoned.3 In addition, it is possible that a country lands, storm surges will be more intense and increased runoff
may have low adaptive capacity because a lack of resources or from more intense precipitation events will affect ecosystems,
political stability serves as financial, technical or bureaucratic ob- water resources and agriculture. Given these scientific facts and
stacles.4 recommendations, we will examine the role of scientific evidence
In some cases, cities have been quicker to develop response in guiding the development of adaptation plans in the four cities.
Health Care

strategies than many countries, even the developed. Local gov-

ernments are generally better suited to draw up adaptation plans New York City, New York
which are frequently very location-specific, as risks differ based Of the five boroughs in New York City, four are on islands,
on resources, geographic locations and stability of current infra- giving New York City a total coastline of 578 miles and exposing
structure. The deliberate countrywide policymaking process is more land to sea level rise. From 1900 to 2005, the annual aver-
prompting cities with high vulnerabilities to move ahead before age temperature in the city increased by 1.1°C, the annual aver-
age precipitation increased by 10.7 cm (a 9.9% increase), and sea
level rose by almost 30 cm.10 By 2080, temperature is projected King County, Washington
to increase 3.2°C, precipitation to rise 8.6% and sea level to in- King County, twice as large as the average county in the US in

Defense & Diplomacy

crease 41.9 cm, almost half a meter.11 Like other coastal cities, it terms of area, is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change due
will face costly damages due to flooding and storm surges. to its location on the Puget Sound. Despite the many mitigation
The city has several offices dedicated to acting against cli- policies that distinguish Seattle as one of the United States’ most
mate change. The Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustain- prominent green cities, the global nature of climate impacts
ability, established in 2006, plans and implements initiatives to means Seattle must adapt as well. In King County, sea level is
ensure habitable qualities for future generations of this city. The expected to rise 15 cm by 2050, 34 cm by 2100 and a maximum
Office commissioned the creation of the Climate Change Ad- of 128 cm by 2100.18 Precipitation in the region is projected to
aptation Task Force, comprised of members from approximately increase during winters and decrease during summers, but the
40 various city and state agencies and private companies, to de- precipitation changes will be small and depend on decadal vari-
velop strategies to protect the infrastructure and resources.12 ability.19

Economic Development
They are advised by local scientists, engineers and lawyers from Actions against climate change were officially taken in 2006
the New York City Panel on Climate Change. with King County’s Executive Orders on Global Warming Pre-
The Task Force is highly involved in the adaptation policy pro- paredness. It required various county departments to collabo-
cess. Their suggestions in response to flooding from sea level rate and submit a Global Warming Mitigation and Preparedness
rise include raising the elevation of water sensitive facilities, Report every year.20 This climate change team works closely with
construction of watertight doors and windows to protect critical scientists at University of Washington’s Climate Impacts Group
equipment and control rooms and investment in additional back- (CIG) and plans to utilize the Science Section of the County’s
up emergency management equipment. These accommodative Water and Land Resources Division to translate technical infor-
measures are low-cost and can be done without need for further mation from other sources as well.21
studies, while protective strategies require more research and Plans have already been implemented to address sea level
planning. It is unclear which agencies will have jurisdiction over rise vulnerabilities. A King County Flood Control District was
construction of local protective barriers such as dunes, riprap, or designated and the property tax from that area will provide over

sea walls and large tidal gates for regional protection. The Task $300 million over 10 years for the repair and maintenance of the
Force is also considering gradual retreat from the most vulner- over 500 levees and revetments in the county.22 There will also
able coastlines and using the land for other purposes to mini- be construction to replace over 50 small, aging bridges with new
mize damage.13 ones designed to allow more floodwater to flow under them.23
In addition to focusing on adapting to sea level rise, the Task Realizing that water demands will increase because of pop-
Force has also investigated impacts of increased precipitation. ulation growth while supply will decrease because of climate
Increased rainfall and higher temperatures will change the ecol- change, the county is also implementing an adaptation plan to

Energy & Environment

ogy of reservoirs and increase erosion, altering the water sup- address this. Advanced technology was added to the filtration
ply and quality. The DEP is working to prevent New York City’s process of Brightwater, a new wastewater treatment plant, at
watershed from undergoing expensive filtration improvements only 2% of the total construction cost. The wastewater, seven to
through managing land use and forests around it that serve as ten times cleaner than from conventional treatment processes,
natural filters.14 Excessive rain will also lead to overcapacity in can be reclaimed for irrigation and industry, thus reducing de-
drainage systems and inland flooding of streets and basements. mand of clean freshwater from these sectors.24 Construction of
The Task Force recommends improving the capacity of the the Brightwater Tunnel to channel the reclaimed water to poten-
stormwater collection system through augmentation and clean- tial customers prepares for higher demand in the future (Wolf
ing of its pipes and promotion of the use of green roof technol- 2009; Lowe et al. 2009; King County Executive Office 2008).
ogy to reduce and reuse stormwater.15 A combination of cleaner wastewater and reduced stormwater
Working with Columbia University’s Center for Climate Sys- will decrease pollution in the Puget Sound and other rivers and

Equal Justice
tems Research (CCSR) and the Goddard Institute for Space streams in the county. To reduce stormwater flooding, the team
Studies (GISS), the Task Force is committed to obtaining the will consider promoting revisions of building codes for collection
most accurate scientific climate findings. These research insti- of stormwater for reuse and develop strategies to reduce sewer
tutes applied regional data to General Circulation Models rec- overflows.25
ognized by the IPCC and 3 emission scenarios to understand King County’s team partners with University of Washington’s
specific impacts to the New York City area under different pos- Climate Impacts Group (CIG), a Regional Integrated Sciences
sible futures.16 The Task Force is also working to further reduce and Assessments (RISA) team supported by the National Oce-
uncertainty by utilizing its research partnership to run Regional anic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), to better assess
Circulation Models for finer climate details, analyzing additional impacts on water resources, aquatic ecosystems, forests, and
data and monitoring stations and continuing to follow develop- coasts. In an effort to protect its facilities, the County’s Waste-
ments in climate change science.17 Through its participation in water Treatment Division (WTD) worked with CIG to determine
Health Care

the Mayors Climate Protection Center and major national and whether the infrastructure will be at risk to sea level rise. The
international conferences, New York City is also active in sharing project resulted in the development of a Geographic Informa-
its climate policy ideas around the world. tion System (GIS) Vulnerable Facilities Assessment Tool and was
made available to other climate change impact groups.26 The
team will also continue to monitor lakes and model river flows
to determine climate change impacts to water quality.27 Even
New York King County
Defense & Diplomacy

Population 8.3 million 1.9 million

Projected sea level 41.9 cm by 2080 34 cm by 2100
Projected precipita- 8.6% by 2080 N/A
tion increase
Government agencies NYC Climate Change Task Force King County climate change team
working towards
Economic Development

Plans or proposals - raise elevation of water sensitive facilities - repair and maintenance of the over 500
for adaptation to sea - construction of watertight doors to protect equip- levees and revetments over the next 10 years
level rise ment and control rooms - replacement of over 50 aging bridges to
- construction of local protective barriers (e.g. sea allow more floodwater to pass under
- gradual retreat from the most vulnerable coastlines
Plans or proposals - reduce flooding through improving the capacity of - reduce flooding through preventing sewer
for adaptation to the stormwater collection system overflows
increased precipita- - reduce stormwater through the use of green roof - reduce stormwater through the use of
tion technology green roof technology
- maintain drinking water quality through managing - use of cleaner reclaimed water will lessen

land use and forests around it that serve as natural the strain of the freshwater supply for
filters drinking water

though the team, comprised of members from five county de- changes in ocean circulation.29 As seen in all four cities, local
partments, works with many outside agencies, it recognizes that research centers can make better projections of the local and
effective response to climate change depends on extensive co- global processes that affect sea level rise and precipitation. It
ordination among the government at every level, business lead- is more practical for local policymakers to seek help from local
Energy & Environment

ers, and residents.28 Like New York City, King County is also an scientists and whether applying adjustments to GCMs, such
active participant in national conferences and groups including as those of the IPCC, or using RCMs, these researchers have
Mayors Climate Protection Center and ICLEI - Local Govern- the ability to better account for dynamics specific to their area.
ments for Sustainability. Analyses of impacts from scientists constrain the range of mea-
surements made by the IPCC to provide policy makers with
Discussion more specific levels to adapt to. Beyond this, New York and King
Some local governments are more prompt in taking actions to County are examples in which researchers and engineers, when
address climate change than their national governments. How- asked to collaborate with the government task forces, serve as
ever, the initiatives are just recently developed; the two most consultants that help identify possible adaptation strategies and
proactive cities in this study, New York and King County, estab- develop proposals specific to the region.
lished task forces dedicated to this issue as recently as 2006. The degree that climate science guides policy reveals the
Equal Justice

While these groups have already implemented dozens of plans soundness of the adaptation strategies. For example, tidal gates
for mitigation, the responses to adaptation are not as numerous. must exceed sea level by a certain amount to protect against
Besides the installation of advanced technology in the Brightwa- storm surges and sewers must have sufficient capacity to avoid
ter plant, designation of a Flood Hazard Zone and replacement stormwater flooding. A compromise between waiting for un-
of bridges in King County, the options for adaptation actions certainties from local studies to be resolved and starting costly
are presented only in proposal form. The next step is to identify construction is building adaptable infrastructure. For example, if
which are to be seriously considered and develop the plans and King County were to build a sea wall, it must be tall enough to
timelines for implementation. It is recommended to not prolong protect against the projected 15 cm rise by 2050 and be adjust-
doing so because although the gradual increases in sea level able for the 34 cm increase by 2100 as well as for greater in-
and precipitation are insignificant over a short period of time, creases caused by ice sheet melt. Cities can be better prepared
their implications such as storm surges and floods can happen for climate change by collaborating with research centers, vital
Health Care

unexpectedly. resources in influencing the speed and accuracy with which ad-
As local climate policy makers direct more attention to plans aptation plans are developed.
for adaptation, they must decide between waiting for exact Collaboration between government agencies on climate
changes to be understood before implementing strategies or change is also an effective use of available resources. The ef-
carrying out costly constructions in the face of scientific uncer- fects of climate change are so numerous that it will influence
tainties. Sea level rise is not uniform globally because of regional policies that range from affecting where people can live to how
land movement and variations in temperature and salinity from much they will pay for electricity. With expertise from various de-
partments, the comprehensive task forces are better equipped Conclusions
to formulate policies that address these various issues. For ex- Among other effects, global warming will cause sea level rise

Defense & Diplomacy

ample, the New York City Task Force is comprised of members and shifts in precipitation patterns. Sea level rise will encroach
from the Department of Environmental Protection, Transporta- on low-lying lands, damaging property and infrastructure, espe-
tion, Sanitation and other stakeholders. This is especially impor- cially from storm surges. Changes in precipitation will alter drink-
tant since adaptation demands planning from the public sector ing water supply and quality, and more intense rains will cause
whereas mitigation requires placing regulations on the private street flooding and landslides. Although cities have generally
sector (Sanchez-Rodriguez et. al 2008). taken action quicker than countries in response to this phenom-
Interdisciplinary task forces are also more adept in identi- enon, their proposals still need to be enhanced with deadlines
fying and managing unintended consequences that may arise for implementation. New York City proposed strategies for ad-
from adapting to complex systems. In the case of Brightwater, aptation to both effects, and King County started construction

Economic Development
the improved filtration process is aimed to meet increased wa- on infrastructure to address some aspects of both.
ter demand under conditions of decreased supply, but also has A combination of better understanding, monitoring, plan-
the ancillary benefit of decreasing pollution in the Puget Sound. ning and warning is important for adaptation and collaboration
However, other plans may cause deleterious impacts that will not between agencies is the most effective strategy to achieve this.
be realized by policymakers who only specialize in one topic. A Local scientists under the instruction of local policymakers can
science advisor who can translate the technical details for policy lower the uncertainty in intensity of impacts. Teamwork between
consideration, especially to fully utilize the information from the existing government departments allows for more comprehen-
research centers, is an example of an important component to an sive adaptation strategies. Finally, strong social networks be-
interdisciplinary task force. tween cities open communication that can be used to improve
Cities that wish to adapt face another obstacle of having few plans. For cities without an office dedicated to climate change,
resources for crafting strategies because anthropogenic climate indirect adaptation is possible especially through the last option.
change of this magnitude has not been experienced before.

Even at the national level, there is limited guidance; the IPCC
Big Data and Computer Server Energy Efficiency: the
Technical Guidelines for Assessing Climate Change Impacts
Need for a Rigorous, Scalable,
and Adaptations written in 1994 provide generic strategies and
and Universal Standard
focuses more on assessment rather than adaptation strategies.
Adrian Soghoian
Global collaboration between cities can represent a network to
communicate problems being dealt with and possible strategies.
Associations such as Local Governments for Sustainability and
the Mayors Climate Protection Center easily share information The Issue

Energy & Environment

that task forces can use to reevaluate or strengthen aspects of Increased digital data use is driving a surge in data center
their agenda. For example, of the four cities, only New York iden- reliance and a correspondingly steep climb in energy consump-
tified altered drinking water quality as an impact of increased tion. Although energy efficiency is a historic industry trend, the
rainfall and higher temperatures and disseminating this climate rate of construction and spread-of-use vastly overshadows im-
change issue through the networks will present other cities with provements in infrastructure and management protocol. Studies
impacts they might have overlooked. Similarly, solutions to prob- from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department
lems can be made readily available, such as the GIS Vulnerable of Energy estimate that without energy efficiency measures in
Facilities Assessment Tool developed by King County. place, energy use from data centers will double from 2006 to
Despite the availability of research centers and global as- 2011 to over 120 bn kWh/year.1 This is over $8 bn in costs and by
sociations for local governments, adapting to new situations some estimates would rise to 2% of our national energy usage.
requires institutional change to take place. New York City and Furthermore, some industry analysts (link) maintain that these

Equal Justice
King County have established local offices to take responsibil- estimates are low and that the expected flood of “big data”
ity for policies against climate change, but Hamburg and Hong threatens to overly strain the national grid with unexpected peak
Kong have not done so yet. Accountability must be delegated loads.2
because the various impacts fall under the jurisdiction of several
departments and it is not clear which one should take initiative. The Current State of Affairs
However, local governments may not have to develop plans if Industry experts estimate that, to a first-order approximation,
their countries are small and proactive about climate change. cooling and operational costs of data servers are proportional
With the federal IWP and Hamburg-specific KLIMZUG-NORD, to the energy they consume. Hence, improvements in energy
this German city is increasing its preparedness without a des- efficiency directly translate into lower Total Costs of Owner-
ignated local government department. Germany is smaller in ship for data server center administrators2. Fortunately, market
Health Care

area than the state of California, making it easier for the federal forces have motivated more efficient server technology, such as
government to administer comprehensive adaptation strategies energy proportional computing, which addresses the mismatch
than larger countries such as China or the U.S. Despite this, cit- between operating modes and efficiency regions. Although
ies under national adaptation plans still must be equipped with many large companies, such as Google, have been responsible
the knowledge and resources such that they have high adaptive for driving much of the innovation in energy efficiency technol-
capacity. ogy, legislation is required to effectively bring down consump-
tion across the country.

In 2007, the EPA drafted a report to Congress entitled, “Re- ing will increase to 72.
port to Congress on Server and Data Center Energy Efficiency 4. From 2022 to 2026, the mandatory compliance rat-
Defense & Diplomacy

Public Law 109-431”. In this report, the EPA outlined energy con- ing will increase 80.
sumption trends and made policy recommendations. This graph-
ic, taken from the report, shows projected data center growth. The rational for the four year increments is that data servers
often have life spans between three and four years. If the compli-
ance rating were to increase every year, or every two years, this
would force server owners to constantly retrofit their infrastruc-
ture. Four-year intervals are more accommodating.
What I am essentially proposing is a phase-out of inefficient
data servers and data centers. In 2007, the Energy Independence
Economic Development

and Security Act (Pub.L. 110-140) did the same thing for incandes-
cent light bulbs. Specifically, the Act stated that general-purpose
light bulbs that produce 310-2600 lumens of light be 30% more
energy efficiency. This efficiency standard will eventually phase
out incandescent bulbs.

Energy efficiency increases are often described as a “low
hanging fruit”, since they require little initial investment and gen-
erally provide savings for the investor. The McKinsey Global In-
stitute projects that we can cut projected global energy demand
growth to 2020 by at least half by capturing opportunities to

The growth is exponential. An efficiency standard must be in increase energy productivity . I believe efficiency standards have
place soon before this growth overwhelms the grid. the potential to eventually bring us to a carbon stabilized future,
and data centers present a ripe (and virtually untouched) oppor-
Which Standard? How Do We Measure Efficiency? tunity to cut consumption, costs, and carbon footprints.
Measuring data server energy efficiency is a controversial
process. In January 2010, industry leaders met to agree on en-
ergy efficiency measurements, metrics, and reporting conven-
tions. They agreed on three technical “guiding principles” to
Energy & Environment

help the EPA Energy Star Program establish an efficiency metric.

Roughly, this metric will use the total energy of the data center
divided by the IT energy consumption to supply a Power Usage
Effectiveness (PUE) rating . The PUE will be used, with slight
modifications for different types of servers, as the basic defini-
tion for energy efficiency.
Although the EPA is close to establishing an energy efficiency
rating, they have not yet finalized what they have. However, they
promise that such a rating is forthcoming – specifically before
2011. Despite the absence of any official rating, I propose a piece
of legislation that would take effect upon the completion of the
Equal Justice


I propose mandatory compliance with a “sliding scale” Ener-
gy Star rating. The EPA has stated that the efficiency rating will
be on a scale from one to 100, with the average server ranking
around 40 and top-notch, efficient servers at 70. My proposal
has several steps:

1. By 2012, every server in the United States must

Health Care

meet a rating of at least 40 (or whatever the national

average is at the time of the establishment of the rat-
ing). Every server completed after January 2011 must
also match this standard.
2. From 2012 to 2016, the mandatory compliance rat-
ing will increase to 55.
3. From 2016 to 2022, the mandatory compliance rat-
Equal Justice

Equal Justice is an exceptionally broad center, no doubt because almost anything

can become an issue of equality or justice. Living with realization that President
Obama’s campaign promises might not immediately materialize, this year’s group
discussed what this second year might mean for “change” in a variety of issues,
from net neutrality to drug sentencing to gay marriage to detention practices in
Iraq and Afghanistan. This year’s writers ended up writing primarily on issues of
electoral justice and good governance in the United States. The center looks for-
ward to the implementation of a truly progressive agenda and the rapid reversal
of inequities and injustices that continue to plague the nation.
provide a few privileged members of Congress with notification
Executive Authority and Congressional Intelligence of the executive’s intelligence-related activities.6 It was, in that
Defense & Diplomacy

Oversight sense, a stopgap measure that gave Congress more oversight

Phillip Verma and Jill Marcellus than they would have had otherwise. After the Church hearings,
the Gang of Eight provision was established, rendering Gang
of Four notifications legally obsolete. The executive has upheld
Background the precedent in spite of this fact. One of the main problems
As senior Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, in the with the Gang of Four notification procedure is that it is given
wake of the September 11 attacks, Nancy Pelosi faced an impos- orally and requires an oath of secrecy from the congresspeople
sible decision. The C.I.A. notified her that President Bush had notified. They are not allowed legal counsel or professional ex-
approved unprecedented powers of surveillance and detention, perts during the briefings, meaning that they essentially take
Economic Development

then ignored her objections, and forbade her to tell anyone else. the president at his word—hardly a check on executive author-
She considered her options – should she break her oath and ity. In contrast, Senate Resolution 400 requires the executive to
make a public statement? Could she appeal to the Chief Justice give a signed copy of the covert action being considered to the
of the Supreme Court? Without even an aide to consult, she ul- Gang of Eight, a measure that ensures accountability for both
timately decided to put her objections into classified writing and branches of government.7 The executive needs to follow Senate
wait for a change of administration.1 Resolution 400 and notify both intelligence committees in the
The question of what Nancy Pelosi knew is meaningless next non-covert cases, and the Gang of Eight in especially sensitive,
to the question of what she could do. Congressional notification covert cases.
serves no purpose if it does not entail active oversight, allowing The model of Congressional intelligence oversight employed
the legislature to challenge executive overreach. For the most by the Bush and Obama administrations is both vaguely defined
sensitive intelligence information, Congress lacks any substan- and legally nebulous. C.I.A. Director Leon Panetta blames a lack
tial oversight mechanism. As Nancy Pelosi lamented, “no letter of oversight “consensus” between the executive and legislative

could change” legally dubious policies, so “we had to change branches for the current “atmosphere of declining trust, grow-
2 ing frustration and more frequent leaks of properly classified
the leadership in Congress and in the White House.” Now that
8Arguing that certain information was too sensitive
the leadership has changed, we must change the oversight pro- information.”
cess – or risk continued breaches of civil for a leak-ridden Congress, the Bush ad-

liberties. ministration repeatedly under-notified the
The current system of oversight grew ongressional notification intelligence committees. Panetta himself
out of investigations into President Rich- serves no purpose if it does not had to race to Capitol Hill last June to dis-
ard Nixon’s abuse of executive surveil- close, eight years and millions of dollars
Energy & Environment

lance powers in the Watergate scandal. entail active oversight, allow- too late, that the agency had developed
In 1976, following the Church Commit- ing the legislature to challenge a training program for teams of mercenar-
tee hearings, Congress passed Senate executive overreach. ies to assassinate foreign leaders. Though
Resolution 400, establishing the House never fully implemented, it was also, un-
Permanent Select Committee on Intelli- der Vice President Dick Cheney’s orders,
gence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and re- kept entirely hidden from relevant congressional panels.9 The
quiring the intelligence community to notify the new committees executive considers accidental public disclosure a risk, but dis-
3 closure can also be part of Congress’s legal response to notifica-
of their activities. The proposal was not altogether successful;
President Jimmy Carter failed to notify Congress of covert ac- tion. Senate Resolution 445 created a procedure by which the
tions taken in the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, citing concerns about full Select Committee could vote to disclose information to the
leaks, a problematic justification that has plagued the oversight public, in consultation with Majority and Minority leaders. This
Equal Justice

system ever since. In response, Congress amended the process oversight mechanism could play into the executive’s fear and
with the 1980 “Gang of Eight” statute, which limited notification disregard of notification laws, and the common but legally base-
in highly-sensitive cases of covert action. The “Gang of Eight” in- less practice of notifying only the Gang of Four. When only four
cludes the chairs and ranking members of the intelligence com- members are notified, it is impossible for Congress to take any
mittees, in addition to the majority and minority leaders of both action without illegally disclosing classified information. As long
chambers of Congress. In cases of non-covert action, the execu- as the threat of public disclosure remains Congress’s primary
tive branch is still supposed to notify the whole committees; this means of opposing covert operations, the executive branch will
4 use secrecy as an excuse to bypass Congressional notification.
currently entails fewer than 40 members of Congress. Many
consider “enhanced interrogation” a type of non-covert intelli- Legislative notification is not enough. Four, eight, or even
gence collection, thus requiring the notification of the full com- thirty-three members of Congress do not have any viable way to
Health Care

5 block the executive’s action. If the informed members of the in-

mittees. Needless to say, this has not been the practice.
The current practice of the executive branch has been to in- telligence committees are concerned about the action’s legality,
form only the chairs and ranking members of the House Perma- they should have some means of recourse. Recognizing that na-
nent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select tional security does sometimes have a “now-or-never” element,
Committee on Intelligence, a group collectively known as “the it would be unreasonable to delay executive action by requiring
Gang of Four.” There is no statutory basis for notifying the Gang legislative approval. Indeed, under Senate Resolution 400, the
of Four; rather, it is precedent that was used before Church to President is not bound to seek Congressional approval, but rath-
er to inform them of ongoing action. There are broadly two ways The most recent proposal, of two bills being passed indepen-
in which the intelligence committees can regain oversight of dently in the House and the Senate, would constitute progress

Defense & Diplomacy

covert and non-covert intelligence actions: through Congress’s but not a comprehensive solution. The two bills are House Reso-
budgetary powers or through judicial oversight. The former has lution 2701 and Senate Resolution 1494: Intelligence Authoriza-
been proposed a number of times by legislators with little suc- tion Acts for Fiscal Year 2010. Both bills eliminate the exception
cess; there are also a number of security concerns with such a to legislative notification currently included in the National Secu-
proposal. Judicial oversight, through a national security court, rity Act of 1947 and the House bill even abolishes the restricted
could block ongoing activities if deemed illegal, or establish a Gang of Eight notifications. They require the executive branch
precedent preventing the executive from repeating such actions to inform the intelligence committees of their covert operations
in the future. and their legal grounds for doing so,11 all of which are steps in
The proposed “power of the purse” solution attempts to the right direction. Both resolutions also propose using the Gov-

Economic Development
reconcile the concerns of both branches of government while ernment Accountability Office (GAO) and its director, the Comp-
ultimately solving neither. Currently, although Intelligence Com- troller General, as the primary means of intelligence oversight.
mittee members advise the Appropriations Committee, con- GAO audits are a tempting solution for a number of reasons.
gressional oversight panels do not have direct control over intel- First, the Comptroller General is appointed to a fifteen-year
ligence agencies’ budgets. The 9/11 Commission recommended term, which ensures continuity and reliability, and second, the
that the Intelligence Committees gain the power of the purse, GAO is designed to conduct audits of ongoing governmental
a reform that would grant them greater leverage to oppose ex- activities. However, the proposed solution is not strong enough
ecutive actions. Although this recommendation might be ef- and President Obama has threatened a veto. Peter Orszag, di-
fective for programs disclosed to the full committees, it would rector of the Office of Management and Budget said widening
not address the specific problems posed by covert activities and the notification circle would “undermine the president’s author-
highly sensitive information. If the full committees controlled ity and responsibility to protect sensitive national security infor-
the budget, the Gang of Eight would still lack direct budget- mation.”12 Given leaks in the past, this concern is a relevant one.

ary control over the administration’s most secretive programs. Furthermore, although the GAO is supposed to be above
The government might then use this as a loophole to escape party politics, it has the potential to be a politicized body; in-
oversight, directing all notifications to the Gang of Eight. During terparty conflicts in Congress have left the agency without a
the Cold War, there were a number of notable congressional real director in two years.13 Such conflicts would only grow if the
amendments designed to restrict defense spending on covert Comptroller’s position were expanded to include intelligence
actions; notable examples include the 1976 Clark Amendment oversight. Finally, both bills grant the Director of National Intel-
on Angola and the 1982 Boland Amendment on Nicaragua, both ligence the right to not provide the intelligence information to
of which were subverted through executive loopholes.13 Lastly, the committees so long as they inform the committees they are

Energy & Environment

the administration’s concerns about security leaks are not wholly doing so.14 Once again, the legislature has given the executive
frivolous; Representative Peter Hoekstra, ranking Republican on branch a way of evading oversight, all in the name of national se-
the House Intelligence Committee, has accidentally disclosed curity. If the intelligence committees are not properly briefed on
classified information numerous times, including U.S. email sur- covert operations, then the entire oversight mechanism—includ-
veillance of radical Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, to the media.10 ing the GAO audits—are rendered useless. The administration’s
Restricting notification of covert action to the Gang of Eight, unwillingness to submit to GAO oversight, the politicization of
rather than including the full congressional committees, is there- the agency, and the persistent loophole afforded to the execu-
fore necessary in certain cases. With that accepted, the budget- tive make Congress’ current solution an imperfect one.
ary solution would not work.
Moreover, Congressional budgetary authority would be sub- Solution
ject to prohibitive political pressure and maneuvering. It seems A better solution to the problem of oversight is to give ju-

Equal Justice
unlikely, especially in such a climate of fear as followed 9/11, that risdiction to a national security court, hereafter called the Intel-
any member of Congress would be willing to vote against fund- ligence Oversight Court (IOC). The IOC would be modeled
ing a program that the President insists is necessary for national after the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), estab-
security. With the never-ending election cycle, it is in a Con- lished in 1978, also in the wake of the Church hearings. Under
gress member’s self-interest to support executive security action the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that established
and to avoid taking any position that could be characterized as FISC, the executive must obtain a warrant from the court before
defunding the military or being “soft” on terrorism. Any congres- proceeding with its covert surveillance activities, such as wire-
sional opposition to an executive intelligence program would tapping.15 Like the FISC, the IOC would be housed in the execu-
almost necessarily be politicized – either scaring members away tive branch and staffed with federal district judges appointed
from such a stance or opening the process up to public postur- by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Rather than serv-
Health Care

ing and damaging delays. With approval of executive appoint- ing as the executive branch’s first point of contact, however, the
ments now used as bargaining chips for unrelated programs, for IOC would only adjudicate cases sent to it by Congress. First,
example, there is no guarantee that intelligence funding would the executive would notify the relevant members of Congress—
not suffer similar procedural delays. Since the establishment of either the entire committees or the Gang of Eight, depending
official congressional oversight in 1976, hardly a Congress has on the circumstances—about the action being taken. If, and only
graduated without some attempt to reform the rules, all with if, the congresspeople were concerned about the executive’s
little success. plans, they would notify the security court, who would review
the constitutionality of the executive branch’s program. As with
the FISC, the federal executive would be the sole petitioner in Mixed-Member Proportional Representation: Fixing
Defense & Diplomacy

this court, presenting its case to the judges. Unlike the FISC, this the “People’s House” 1
court would not be an authorization court, issuing warrants for William Organek
the government to carry out covert action. National security con-
cerns make such proceedings prohibitive and senseless. Instead,
the court would establish precedent delineating the extent and The United States is the world’s oldest extant constitutional
limitation of executive authority in intelligence and counterter- representative democracy, and the many of the initial democratic
rorism activities. If the program is ongoing, an IOC ruling against reforms which spread throughout the world in the 19th and early
it would force the executive to end its operations. 20th century were based on innovations pioneered in America.
This plan addresses the current lack of oversight without rais- For these and other reasons, pundits on both sides of the po-
Economic Development

ing the problems posed by a budgetary solution. Most impor- litical spectrum often claim that America is the most democratic
tantly, it gives Congress a realistic way of voicing their concern country in the world. Yet, the problems which plague America’s
over executive action without compromising sensitive informa- democracy are well-known: abysmally low turnout, incredibly
tion through leaks or threats of disclosure. Judges, unlike con- polarized parties, the replacement of discourse by mudsling-
gresspeople or even GAO employees, are supposed to be con- ing, legislative policy which often does not reflect the will of the
fidential and trustworthy. As a result, using a judicial mechanism majority, a legislature which is far behind America’s transformed
sidesteps the president’s stated security concerns. This proposal demographics, and the ever-present cry of voters who feel that
also prevents a partisan and intransigent Congress from block- their representatives do not represent them. America falls far
ing the executive’s activities or GAO appointments for political behind most Western democracies in many statistical measures
reasons, an issue of exceptional importance when dealing with of voter participation, minority repre-
time-sensitive, covert activities. Finally, because this court sentation, and the inclusion of many
is not an authorization court, the executive branch may
a competing views in our legislatures, de-

continue its activities until a judge rules against it. This merica falls far spite being “the most democratic coun-
option balances the concerns of the executive about na- behind most Western try in the world”: why is this? And what
tional security with those of the Congress regarding le- democracies in many can we do to fix it? This essay will dis-
gality and oversight and maintains the balance of power cuss how our flawed electoral system
among the branches of government.
statistical measures
causes or contributes to many of these
of voter participation. problems, and suggest a solution which
Conclusion could remedy these issues.
A comprehensive plan for national intelligence over-
Energy & Environment

sight is necessary to prevent the abuse of civil liberties of citi- A. Winner-Take-All and its Discontents
zens and non-citizens at home and abroad. The government has The answer lies in our “democracy technology” – the set of
repeatedly used questionable practices to achieve its goals in laws, practices, and institutions that dictate how we elect our
fighting terrorism, including torture at Abu Ghraib, waterboard- representatives.2 In the US, almost all elections follow either a
ing at Guantanamo, the secret black jail at Bagram, and plans to legislative or an executive paradigm. For the executive (mayoral,
assassinate American citizens abroad, none of which were dis- gubernatorial, and even Presidential elections), there is one indi-
closed in any meaningful way to the congressional intelligence visible office, and only one winner is possible.3 However, for leg-
committees. Aside from the detrimental effects such policies islative elections, in which there are multiple people who each
have on the United States’ national image, they have made try- have the job of being a Senator or Representative, our demo-
ing ostensible terrorists in court virtually impossible. Unrestrict- cratic technology is so ingrained as to make thinking of alterna-
ed and unmonitored executive power is harmful to the country’s tives quite difficult: each election pits two (or sometimes more)
Equal Justice

national security and its legal system, and must be accountable competitors against one another for a single seat, and “[c]ome
to another branch of government. The current model is clearly Election Day, one – and only one – victor will emerge because
dysfunctional; it leads to both security breaches and abuses one – and only one – seat has been contested.”4 That is, if two
of power, thus confirming the worst fears of both branches of candidates are competing in a given House race, the candidate
government. The climate of distrust and miscommunication ad- who receives the most votes wins – even if the contest is 50.1% to
dressed by Panetta is a direct result of the flawed and piecemeal 49.9%. This zero-sum pattern of winner-take-all (WTA) is repeat-
intelligence oversight system currently in place. After Presi- ed in every state and federal legislative election in the country,
dent Nixon abused his surveillance powers, Congress held the thus making alternatives almost unheard-of in the American ex-
Church hearings to repair American citizens’ faith in their gov- perience. And, with such a simple and intuitive system, why think
ernment, and established intelligence oversight committees to of alternatives? Unfortunately, the price of this simplicity is quite
Health Care

prevent future abuses of executive power. The imbalance in po- steep indeed, for reasons I will discuss presently.
litical power under the Bush and Obama administrations proves The WTA system, by forcing candidates to square off for a
that those committees’ resolutions are no longer sufficient, and single seat – for the chance at holding 100% of the representa-
that the oversight system requires overhaul on the scale of 1976. tion from a given district – causes a host of electoral ills which
are not immediately apparent, and their insidiousness makes
fundamental reform all the more necessary. To begin with, the

WTA system leads to a lack of competition in elections: geo- arbitrarily-drawn lines,15 it denies voters the ability to determine
graphical districts have been routinely drawn to create majori- the characteristics that they consider to be most important in

Defense & Diplomacy

ties for either one party or the other5, thus making many elec- their representative. For instance, some voters might consider
tions essentially a sham. In fact, in 2000, a full 41% of elections for race or gender to be more important than geographic location.
state legislatures were only contested by one of the two major Yet, these minority voters would, by definition, fall in the minority,
parties, making these elections little more than shows; nation- and therefore be unable to secure representation in the WTA
wide, the statistics are arguably worse, as 90% of incumbents system.16
are routinely re-elected, even while Congress’ approval ratings While not every minority would vote for a candidate of his
are perpetually well below 50%.6 If most of the country does not or her group simply because the candidate is a member of that
like Congress, how do the vast majority of individual members minority, there is a very visceral sense of fairness which would
keep getting elected? At a state-wide level, in 2000 fourteen dictate that minorities be represented in the legislature in pro-

Economic Development
states had single-party monopolies in Congress, while another portion to their presence in the overall population; however,
eleven states were one Representative shy of a monopoly, for this is manifestly not the case in the United States. For instance,
a total of half of the states; today, that figure stands at fifteen in the House only 14% of its members were female, although
one-party states, with again eleven one shy of a monopoly.7 This slightly more than half of the country is female; similarly, African-
lack of competition is troubling enough, but the truly unfortu- Americans in 2002 made up 12.9% of the population, equating
nate aspect is a direct consequence of the WTA system: for the to 56 seats in the House, while only actually having 37 seats, and
residents of a one-party state who do not support that party, Hispanics fared even more poorly, with only 4.4% of the House
they are not represented when issues fall along ideological lines. in 2002 compared to their sizable 12.5% of the population, and
“[T]o obscure the disenfranchising nature of Winner Take All, it other minorities fare even worse.17 Today, those statistics are only
has been necessary to construct a truly odd notion that defies marginally better: women make up 17% of Congress; while Afri-
even second-grader logic: that a legislator represents you just can-Americans, at approximately 13% of the country, comprise
because he or she sits in the chair – even if he or she is diametri- 9.5% of the House, and hold only one (appointed, not elected)

cally opposed to your point of view, and even if you in fact voted seat in the Senate; and Hispanics, the fastest-growing large im-
for someone else.”8 migrant group, comprising almost 14% of the population, hold a
Such “orphaned voters” have nobody to speak for them, and paltry 3 seats in the Senate and 5% of the House.18 These minori-
cannot be blamed for becoming apathetic in light of this disen- ties – some with very specific, narrowly-focused problems and
franchisement – why should a New York Republican or a Wyo- policy ideas – cannot hope to gain the acceptance of the major-
ming Democrat bother to vote?9And, when they do bother to ity by definition; therefore, in our WTA system, they are denied
vote, the “representational ripoff” – the difference between the representation entirely. How can a majority white and male leg-
percentage of the vote that a party gets and the percentage islature – in “the People’s House,” no less – claim to speak for our

Energy & Environment

of seats that said party gains in the legislature – is significant. diverse, multiracial society, or solve the issues that are particular
For example, in Massachusetts in 2000, “35% of voters pulling to one of these minorities?19 As we will see below, a proportional
R in the presidential race won only 14% of state House seats, representation-based system would ensure that minorities and
a huge representation ripoff of 21%.”10 The equation of 50% of women would be represented in the legislature in proportion to
the vote with 100% of the representation in a given district cre- their presence in the population.
ates one-party swathes of the country, disenfranchising millions But, supporters of the WTA system might retort, people with
and discouraging them from voting in the future, while denying views outside of the mainstream, or still have opportunities for
representation to those that did bother to vote. At the extremes representation, through the election of third-party candidates.
of this ripoff, the electoral oddities of WTA can create “manufac- In fact, by some measures third-parties are as strong as they
tured majorities,” which occur “when election procedures give a have ever been in the US: fully one-third of the electorate does
party that receives less than 50 percent of the vote more than not identify with either party, and movements like the Tea Party

Equal Justice
50 percent of the seats in the legislature.”11As an example, if, in a would be an example of working within the system to have other
three-way race, if party A won 40% of the vote, party B 35% and views represented. Surely, they will be able to have their views
party C 25%, then party A would win 100% of the representation represented, right? Unfortunately, for all of the energy and en-
from that district, even though it won far less than 100% of the thusiasm of the Tea Party, political scientists have understood for
vote.12 This example can play itself out nationwide, to great and decades that this will likely not translate into large electoral wins
damaging effect: in the 2000 House election, Republicans won for Tea Partiers. The reason for this – known in the academic lit-
47.96% of the vote (compared to Democrats’ 47.94%), but won erature as Duverger’s Law – and the associated issues of wasted
50.8% of the seats – and thus, 100% of the powerful Congres- votes, spoiler candidates, and the interminable quest for ‘swing
sional committee chairs, and unimpeded majority status, in spite voters’ make it all but impossible for the Tea Party to make elec-
of the fact that the majority of the country did not vote for the toral gains, in spite of their large and growing support base. Ac-
Health Care

Republicans!13 WTA is responsible for these flaws, and reform- cording to Duverger’s Law, two-party systems “are the product
ing this system would go a long way towards fixing them.14 of single-member plurality systems,” because the requirement to
In addition to leaving a huge proportion of the electorate win such a large portion of the vote (50% + 1 vote) provides huge
unrepresented, and disillusioning another significant part of disincentives for an interest group (such as environmentalists)
the electorate, the WTA system adds insult to injury by claim- that is likely only to gain a small part of the vote to remain its own
ing that the only important dimension of representation is geo- party.20 Instead, it would be best for them to become part of a
graphic location. By creating a WTA system that is based on larger party (such as the Democrats), and this process continues
until only two parties remain.21 Our WTA system necessitates that their views are not represented by legislators in either party,
two-parties, limits representation and choice, and thus discour- and this is not simply the talk of extremists, but that of many
Defense & Diplomacy

ages voting – any other behavior by smaller parties, larger par- voters with what would internationally be considered quite main-
ties, or voters would not make sense. stream views, but who have no corresponding representation in
In addition to the more insidious problems of underrepresen- Congress. This unfortunate consequence of the two-party sys-
tation, disenfranchisement, and a lack of women/minority rep- tem, combined with the distortionary effects of the WTA system
resentation, this two-party system leads to a host of familiar ills discussed above, significantly impact the impetus that a voter
such as wasted votes, spoiler candidates, and lesser-of-two-evils has to vote. Why would someone vote if they cannot vote for the
choices, each of which are both perilous for the health of our candidate that they want most to win, for fear of electing their
democracy and easily remedied. As a result of Duverger’s Law, least-favored candidate? Why vote if neither of the candidates
the two-party system is an inherent part of WTA, imprinted into from the two major parties expresses views that accord with
Economic Development

the very DNA of our “democracy technology.” As a result, when my own? Why should a Democrat vote in a heavily-Republican
presented with more than two choices on the ballot – all but area, or vice-versa? Why, even, should Democrats or Republi-
two of which will come from a third party – a voter who might cans bother to contest these elections? For this question, there
not agree with the positions of either major party is presented is a simple answer: they do not contest many elections, and in
with a common choice: do they vote with their hearts, selecting 2008, 12% of House races went uncontested.24 The reasons for
the candidate that they know will not win; or, do they vote with voter apathy and low voter turnout in the US are manifold and
their heads, and select a candidate other than their preferred extensively studied, and there is likely no “silver bullet” solution.
candidate?22 But, reforming the WTA system would go a long way towards
The negative ramifications of this dilemma manifest them- fixing it.
selves in numerous ways: if they vote for their preferred candi- The WTA system, it would seem, exacts more than a pound
date, their vote is wasted because it cannot possibly help that of flesh for its supposed simplicity. To begin with, a lack of com-
candidate over the 50% + 1 hump. Worse still, such a decision petition within elections subdues turnout and turns elections

could actually help a candidate they prefer least to get elected: into somewhat of a formality for much of the country. Next, WTA
voters who voted for Ralph Nader in 2000, it is fair to assume, creates “orphaned voters” – voters without a representative to
certainly preferred Al Gore to George Bush, but in fact their speak for them – with the ironic result that, the closer an election
vote helped Bush get elected. Similarly, voters in the 2009 spe- gets, the more people go unrepresented, and the larger num-
cial election in New York’s 23rd Congressional district (many of ber of votes that simply do not count. Vote dilution is another
whom were Tea Party supporters), in splitting their vote between problem, often leading to a significant “representational ripoff,”
Scozzafava and the more conservative, Tea Party-supported as the percentage of voters who vote for a specific party is often
Hoffman, helped to elect Owens, a Democrat who would have much higher than the percentage of seats that said party eventu-
Energy & Environment

been their last choice of the three. In both of these situations, ally gets in the legislature. On the other side of the ripoff, some-
the third-party candidate turned out to be a “spoiler”, enabling times parties which win less than 50% of the vote can gain more
the election of the candidate that was not only the least ideo- than 50% of the seats, leading to a seemingly unfair situation in
logically-preferred by the electorate, but also one that was the which a party which did not win a majority holds majority status,
least-preferred candidate for those that, in the end, ensured along with all of the associated legislative perquisites. The WTA
their election.23 system also fails to represent minorities and

Alternatively, a voter might see this inevi- women effectively, and thus implicitly claims
tability, and thus choose a candidate that is that women’s and minority issues could be
he two-party mo-
less preferred by them in order to have their solved more effectively by an overwhelmingly
vote count; however, such a predicament is nopoly, combined with white and male legislature. Finally, because of
unfair to the voter, and this lesser-of-two-evils the distortionary effects the inescapable logic of Duverger’s Law, the
Equal Justice

choice is completely unnecessary. Yet, even of WTA, leads to lower two-party system is completely entrenched in
ignoring the worst-case spoiler scenarios, it voter turnout and voter our “democracy technology,” and thus prob-
is obvious that anyone who voted for a losing lems such as spoiler candidates, wasted votes,
candidate wasted their vote, for the reasons and lesser-of-two-evils choices are inevitable.
explained above. Everyone who voted for WTA’s discontents, it would seem, are extreme-
the Democrat in a race where a Republican won, or vice-versa, ly significant. What can be done to address them?25
gains nothing from their vote, even if the race was decided by
only one vote. Clearly, such an outcome is unfair to the whole B. Proportional Representation – the Simple Answer
electorate, and in particular to those who voted for the third- As bleak as the picture may seem, all is not lost. There ex-
party or losing candidate; just as clearly, however, this does not ists an established method which has been tested by dozens of
Health Care

need to be the case. countries over the past sixty years, with almost perfect success:
Finally, it is important to see how the two-party monopoly, proportional representation (PR). PR is a system based on a dif-
combined with the distortionary effects of WTA, leads to lower ferent theory of representation from WTA, and as a result both
voter turnout and voter apathy. The two parties in our system uses different procedures and ensures different outcomes from
occupy a relatively small part of the political spectrum – in other the ones common to the WTA system. In this way, PR manages
countries, areas of the political spectrum which are covered by to produce governments which more fairly represent, reflect,
smaller parties are not represented in the US. Voters often feel and govern the people which they serve.
The philosophy supporting the WTA system is one where Now, compare these results with those from the PR elections.
representation takes a backseat to the logic of needing to Because PR allocates seats in the legislature based on percent-

Defense & Diplomacy

win just over 50% of the vote, and therefore can be summed age of the vote, rather than on simply winning, and because the
up quite succinctly: “If you have representation, then I don’t.”26 district has more than one member, the legislative seats can be
Representation, according to this philosophy, is not something distributed more fairly. PR systems anticipate that each party
that everyone deserves; rather, it is a prize to be won, at the will be able to win at least one, if not multiple seats, and thus
expense of those unfortunate others who share your (arbitrary) nominate many candidates to run for seats in a given district.
district. More than the unfortunate mathematical effects of two Usually, candidates for an election are placed on an ordered list
choices – as discussed above – and even more than the policy on the ballot, called a closed party list: if a party wins five seats
ramifications of binary politics27, the WTA system explicitly de- in a district, the first five candidates from this party list go to the
nies that representation in a democratic government is a fun- legislature. Other countries use a system called an open party

Economic Development
damental right. Once the gravity of such a statement is fully list, where the party nominates candidates but allows the vot-
comprehended, it is not difficult to see how anti-democratic it is: ers to choose the order in which they are selected to go to the
whether we subscribe to the most cutting-edge views on politi- legislature. The open party list system is similar to the US primary
cal pluralism, or the intellectual ideas of the post-war democratic system, in that it allows voters to choose which candidates are
consensus, or even the ideas of the Framers to discuss repre- selected by each party; however, it does this with a system that
sentation, all agree that the representative assembly “should be is far less distortionary than the primary system, for reasons dis-
in miniature an exact portrait of the people at large,” and there- cussed below.
fore all should be represented by it – not just those who won.28 In this election, even though the Republicans again took 60%
This idea speaks to the fundamental belief that minority rights of the vote, they are given 6 seats in the legislature – not too
should be protected from a “tyrannical majority,” a belief that many, but just the right amount. The Democrats, too, are treated
we are taught the American government was founded on. As more fairly: rather than being excluded entirely, they are given
important is the different answers that WTA and PR provide to 3 seats in the legislature. And, in an event almost without prec-

the following question: “who will do the governing and to whose edent in the US, the Independent is also given a seat. The party
interests should the government be responsive when people are only attracted 10% of the vote – but, that does not matter. Rather
in disagreement?”29 The WTA system posits “the majority” as the than being shut out entirely from political representation, they
answer; the PR system, more satisfactorily, suggests that the an- are accorded representation in proportion to their electoral
swer is “as many people as possible.”30 By what mechanism does strength.33 Like a Goldilocks of Elections, each party has not too
PR include as many people as possible? many seats nor too few, but the amount that is “just right,” and
PR, as its name suggests, allocates seats in a legislature ac- nobody is shut out of the system.
cording to the percentage of the vote that a given party won. This simple example shows the differing philosophies of WTA

Energy & Environment

In order to do this, it is necessary to depart from our current and PR in action. Rather than giving Republicans too much rep-
system in which each district is represented by a single legislator resentation, to the detriment of 40% of the electorate, PR gives
(known in the literature as the single-member district approach), voters exactly what they ask for. “In a stroke, [PR allows] views
and embrace a system where multiple members can be elected and voices that are usually suppressed to receive representa-
in a district (a multi-member district). Then, in an election, seats in tion, broadening the effective political spectrum” and thus in-
the legislature are meted out according to the proportion of the creasing the likelihood that many more citizens will vote.34 It also
vote that a given party won, rather than only to the winners. To prevents the insidious effects of the WTA system: voters would
prevent electoral instability and the presence of too many small not need to worry about spoiler candidate, their votes would
parties (a common attack on PR systems), an electoral threshold almost never be wasted, and since a smaller proportion of the
is set, mandating that a party attain at least a certain percentage electorate would be necessary to elect a candidate, minority and
of the vote in order to gain seats in the legislature.31 Once these women candidates would be much more electable. In short, PR

Equal Justice
simple changes are made, the effects on representation can be would facilitate the goal of achieving fair and accurate represen-
startling. tation for everyone.
As an example, imagine a state with ten Representatives, and But, PR is not perfect. For PR to work properly, multi-member
imagine that statewide Republicans comprise 60% of the elec- districts are critical – without them, it would be impossible to
torate, while Democrats comprise 30%, and a third party cap- distribute representation equitably to all parts of the electorate.
tures the final 10%, and that these voters are distributed evenly And, for reasons that are too mathematically complicated for this
within the state. The different outcomes that the WTA system paper,35 the more members elected from a given district, the
and a PR system would precipitate, given the same exact elec- more accurately voters’ preferences can be translated into the
torate, can be seen in Figure 2.32 In the WTA system, in each composition of the legislature. Political scientists agree that a
district the vote split would be 60% R, 30% D, and 10% I, leading multi-member district, to be effective, should elect at least five
Health Care

to a Republican victory in each election, and thus giving Repub- representatives; but, in the US, where each single-member dis-
licans victories in all ten seats, as well as control of the entire trict currently contains over 650,000 people – oftentimes with
legislature. This unfairly boosts Republican representation to very distinct local needs – creating districts with over 3.25 million
the detriment of almost half of the electorate, and places no dis- people could reasonably be suspected to dilute representation
senting voices in the legislature. Democrats and Independents in an important fashion. It is important to realize that a multi-
would have to watch idly as “their” representatives did exactly member district with five representatives and 3.25 million people
the opposite of what they would want. would still have the same ratio of legislators to constituents as
a single-member district with 650,000 people – this is not the for this part are allocated proportionally. One crucial feature is
sense in which local representation would be diluted. Instead, that the candidates on these two sides are different: it would be
Defense & Diplomacy

it is America’s unique system of local governance – in the sense entirely possible to elect a Republican from one’s district, and
that a voter has one distinct representative whom he or she can yet cast one’s party-side ballot for the Democrats. This gives the
contact with grievances – which could be placed at jeopardy if a voter a significant amount of flexibility: if he or she believes that
pure PR system were implemented. For each district to have 3.25 environmental policy is important nationally, but believes that a
million people, entire cities, regions, and at times whole states specific party, or even a specific candidate, would be best for his
would need to be combined into a single district. People who or her personal district, he or she can split his ticket effectively,
currently believe that they have a close tie to “their legislator” potentially securing the election of both candidates. In the sam-
would be hurt by this proposal. While this may be the best solu- ple ballot in Figure 3, if a voter prefers Lintz as a candidate, but
tion to WTA’s obvious ills, such a dissolution of local governance believes that the New Party will be best nationally, he or she can
Economic Development

may be too much to ask for. In a country with over 10,000 school vote in that manner; or, if he or she thinks that the Independent
districts, thousands of elected officials at all levels of govern- will be best equipped to “bring home the bacon” to his or her
ment, and fiercely independent hamlets, towns, villages, and cit- district, but prefers the fiscal austerity of the Libertarians nation-
ies, subordinating the local to the national, or even state level ally, that is a viable option as well – the possibilities for choosing
– even if it is to fix such grievous electoral ills as our WTA system the most important factors in electing a candidate, whether it
causes – may simply be asking for too much. It goes against 200 be political ideology, personality, race, gender, capability, or any
years of traditionally local governance, and for this reason it may other quality, allows the voter to make the best decision pos-
simply be politically untenable. Fortunately, a pure PR system – sible. With this system, no longer will a voter need to decide
one which completely eliminates single-member districts, local between a good candidate with bad policies or a bad candidate
representation, and a reasonable claim on the part of the voter with good policies – now, the voter can have both.
to “my representative” – is not the only way to address these ills. One additional characteristic of MMP merits mention: the
A better kind of system exists, one which combines the best of party-list votes (on the right side of the ballot) “determine the to-

both worlds. tal portion of the 100-seat legislature that each party deserves.”
39 For instance, if the Democrats won 40% of the vote on the
C. Mixed-Member Proportional Representation: The Com- right side of the ballot, then they would be entitled to 40% of the
plete Solution total legislature. If, for example, in a 100-seat legislature, 28 Dem-
If single-member districts and WTA causes huge, unaccept- ocrats had already been directly elected from the left side of the
able problems, while pure PR goes against too much tradition ballot from 28 districts around the country, then the Democrats
and custom, then a solution which operates on both principles would be entitled to an additional 12 seats in the legislature, and
would seem to be ideal. Fortunately, such a system exists: mixed- these candidates would come from the party side of the bal-
Energy & Environment

member proportional representation, also known as MMP. In lot.40 This not only ensures, as already discussed, that each party
this ingenious system, the legislature is elected by two parallel gets seats in the legislature proportionate to its vote share, but
systems, with one part coming from traditional single-member it also allows the voter to vote for both local and national issues
districts, and being elected in the familiar WTA fashion; mean- simultaneously, expressing different preferences for each if the
while, the other part of the legislature is elected from larger, voter so chooses. And, while MMP retains some of the structure
multi-member districts, utilizing the fairer PR system. This system – and hence some of the flaws – of the WTA system, it rectifies
allows each voter to claim a single representative as his or her those in part through the additional use of a PR system, while
own, since they directly represent his or her district; at the same still retaining the few good parts of the WTA system. MMP is
time, this voter can be sure that his or her views are accounted a compromise between the merits of these two systems which
for at a national level, by the party which adheres most closely to combines the best of both systems, while fixing, in part, the flaws
his or her personal views. Such a system allows a voter to make of both systems.
Equal Justice

an educated decision about what is best both for the country

and for his or her individual district, without needing to sacrifice D. Implementing MMP – Barriers and Solutions
one for the other, or place the provincial above the national, or As we have seen, MMP is a system which could transform
vice-versa. American elections: they could quickly become more repre-
To explain the mechanics of MMP, Figure 336 contains a sentative, more equitable, and more open; they could almost
sample MMP ballot. Each voter has two votes: one which goes instantaneously shed some of the worst problems of the WTA
towards the voter’s representative from that district, and one system, including wasted votes, misrepresentation, and a lack of
which goes towards the national parties. For the district elec- electoral competition; and all of this could be done with both
tion, the candidate with the most votes wins, and each district “the relative diversity promoted by PR and the relative stability
is represented by only one representative – this part, in other offered by SMP.”41 How would MMP be implemented in the US?
Health Care

words, is exactly the same as our current system, with all of its What would have to change, and what could not change?
flaws.37 But, as discussed above, the flaws of such a system are The easiest way for MMP to be implemented in the US would
accepted in light of the perceived positives of this method of be for the House of Representatives exclusively to adopt it. The
election: “providing the geographical representation and close Senate could not easily be part of this process, since the Consti-
constituency ties of single-member plurality voting.”38 In order tution clearly mandates that “[t]he Senate of the United States
to overcome these deficiencies, however, a second part of the shall be composed of two Senators from each State” – multi-mem-
ballot exists, where the voter votes for a party, and the seats ber districts and would be impossible without a Constitutional

amendment, and because of the constraints that Article 5 places reforms – and so they do not. Fortunately, the initiative process
on the amendment of this clause, it would require the agreement in many states can counteract the self-interested nature of politi-

Defense & Diplomacy

of every state to alter the equal-representation formula of the cians, and allowing the electorate to vote on these beneficial re-
Senate, something which would be almost impossible.42 Schol- forms could allow these reforms to pass at the state level – with
ars agree, on the other hand, that “there is no constitutional re- the hope that enough public pressure would mount nationwide
quirement or demand of democratic theory that requires” single- to force politicians to vote for these reforms at the federal level.
member districts in the House.43 There is, however, “one federal But, why will voters approve such measures when they already
law passed in 1967 – ironically enough to support the […] Voting can hardly be bothered with going to the ballot box, and espe-
Rights Act’s efforts to elect more racial minorities – that man- cially in the face of what would surely be a virulently negative
dates single-seat districts in US House elections.”44 For MMP campaign against the MMP reforms? Overcoming voter apathy,
to be implemented, this law would need to be repealed, so that misinformation, and general lack of knowledge will be the most

Economic Development
states could begin to pass laws and constitutional amendments difficult part of implementing these reforms, but current events
allowing for the use of multi-member districts. can allow one to be hopeful for the future of these reforms. The
Next, multi-member districts would need to be created. This, Tea Party has shown that the American electorate, even in the
of course, poses a problem for the twelve states which only have face of daunting challenges and startling inequities, can still mo-
one or two Representatives, as it would be bilize for a cause. The most likely place for
impossible to create multi-member districts in pressure to build for reform “would be within
these states45; however, the reason that these
states have so few Representatives – and the
reason that the House of Representatives has
S disaffected or underrepresented factions of
ystemic reform hits at the existing parties,” as it is these factions
the core of every politi- which would gain most from these reforms.47
the second-worst ratio of citizens-to-legislators cian’s prime motivation: The Tea Party on the right and Progressives
in the world – is because of Public Law 62-5 self-preservation on the left, seeing their efforts to gain rep-
(1913), which mandated that the House of Rep- resentation thwarted time and again, would

resentatives be frozen at 435 members, regard- be prime targets for teaching the virtues of
less of population increases.46 If this law were PR systems generally, and MMP in particular.
repealed, and replaced by a measure which provided states with Hopefully, these groups would teach their constituents and mo-
more representatives, then this problem, too, could be avoided. bilize them, prompting reform across the country.
With these two laws repealed, the vast majority of states could A final and pernicious obstacle to the implementation of
experiment with multi-member districts, laying the foundation MMP in the US is institutional inertia. Unbeknownst to most peo-
for MMP. ple, the US actually has a long history of PR voting, and “[d]uring
Yet, while many Americans have not heard of the MMP sys- the first half of the twentieth century, two dozen American cities

Energy & Environment

tem, Germany has been using it since 1949, and PR systems have used for a time” a form of proportional representation.48 Cities
been widespread around the world for decades. Additionally, across the country, from West Hartford, CT to Boulder, CO, and
while there are hurdles to the implementation of MMP, its pas- back to the largest, New York, utilized this form of PR to great ef-
sage is far from impossible, and in fact would only require a ma- fect. As an example, “in the last pre-PR election in New York City,
jority of Representatives (and sixty Senators) to vote for it. Why, the Democrats won 95.3 percent of the seats on the Board of
then, have US policymakers, politicians, or citizens not picked Alderman with only 66.5 percent of the vote,” but only five years
up on the flaws of WTA and urged implementation of an MMP after this PR system was implemented, it “gave the Democrats
system? Three main reasons explain this: elected officials’ self-in- 65.5 percent of the seats on 64 percent of the vote,” while being
terest, apathy and misinformation, and institutional inertia. Each beneficial for Republicans and three smaller parties.49 Minority
of these, fortunately, has a reasonable solution, and thus none candidates of all stripes were elected, wasted votes were signifi-
pose an insurmountable problem to the adoption of MMP. cantly reduced, and additional parties found it easier to gain rep-

Equal Justice
First, it must be understood that while electoral reform is resentation, although the record on increased voter turnout was
often discussed, radical reforms which would fundamentally al- mixed. Yet, these systems were eventually almost all repealed,
ter our system are rarely discussed by those in power. This is coming under attack “from the politicians and parties who lost
because such systematic reform hits at the core of every politi- power and privileges.”50 Additionally, PR was at times so suc-
cian’s prime motivation: self-preservation. While allowing more cessful that it scared the public – unprepared to have minorities
competition would be good for voters, it would be bad for poli- and politicians with “non-mainstream” ideas, many people voted
ticians who up until this point have had an easy time of being against these changes because they were too successful. Critics
re-elected. Currently, politicians are used to the typical two-step of PR “often played upon two of the most basic fears of white,
of running towards the party base during the primary, and then middle-class Americans: communists and African-Americans” –
back to the center during the main election. A politician’s en- and were fantastically successful in this endeavor.51 Institutional
Health Care

tire career is defined by this campaign logic, including raising inertia – the fear that something is too successful, too quickly
money to prevent primary challengers, mastering the negative – combined with the effective repeal campaigns of those freshly
campaign tactics and vague election promises typical of WTA out of power – were the undoing of PR in the US, with the end
elections. Multi-member elections and viable challenges from result that only one city in the entire country still uses PR – Cam-
third parties would throw a wrench into the whole system, mak- bridge, MA. Institutional inertia of this sort will be difficult for
ing a politician’s re-election that much more questionable. A cur- pro-PR and pro-MMP reformers to combat, but national norms
rently-elected politician would need to be crazy to vote for such today are hopefully different and tolerant enough from those of

the 1940s that MMP would not be repealed simply because it evidence to suggest that in the thirty-six years since the War
was effective. Powers Resolution was enacted, Congress has actually restrict-
Defense & Diplomacy

Implementing MMP would not be easy: voters would need to ed the authority of the president. Given the trend of presidents
be informed and persuaded; politicians would have to go against claiming war powers has continued unabated, and it has been
their most basic instincts; and as the history of PR in the US has particularly evident in the past decade.
shown, simply winning would not be enough – reformers would Politicians in both Congress and the White House are ratio-
need to keep fighting for years after the initial reforms passed. nal actors and “single-minded seekers of re-election,” according
However, in our broken electoral system, where many go unrep- to David Mayhew.6 Congress is not a black box, and there are
resented, where most views go without a voice in the halls of certain norms members of Congress adhere to. For instance, it is
power, and where polarization and the gladiatorial aspects of in Congress’ best interest to assert less authority in military mat-
WTA threaten to tear the country apart, such reforms could help ters because there are few upsides for success yet significant
Economic Development

reunite the country, bringing its policies closer to the will of the potential for blame if a war becomes unpopular. While it seems
people and once again making the House of Representatives counterintuitive that Congress would want to diminish its power,
worthy of the title of “the People’s House.” by allowing the president to assume authority in military actions,
Congress may maintain distance from an unpopular president
or an unpopular war. Even for popular presidents, members of
Congress and War Powers Congress can support the president through appropriations and
Sarah Scheinman leniency with oversight without having to formally declare their
support of the Commander-in-Chief’s agenda. Furthermore, if a
constituency is moderately anti-war, it is not in a member’s best
Background Information interest to wade deeply into military decision-making because
Congress has delegated significant war-making authority doing so could hurt his/her re-election prospects by alienating
to the President since September 11th. Eleven months into his single-issue constituencies.

first term, President Barack Obama has thus far sustained the Just as representatives are single-minded seekers of re-elec-
expansions of executive war powers made by President George tion, first term presidents are mindful of electoral strategy when
W. Bush. While Congress has utilized other tools in its arsenal determining foreign policy. The continuation of executive lead-
to hold the president accountable to the legislature, Congress ership in times of war has been a convincing argument for re-
remains disinclined to use its formal war powers. Through an election and could factor into presidential assertions of military
evaluation of the relationship between the executive and the action without congressional approval.
legislature since the beginning of President George W. Bush’s From January of 2001 until January of 2007, President George
tenure in the White House to President Barack Obama’s today, W. Bush governed alongside a Republican majority in Congress.
Energy & Environment

I will argue Congress has willingly relinquished its authority to Because the executive and legislative branches were controlled
declare war throughout the Global War on Terror as a result of by the same party, under a system of ‘unified government,’ Con-
both the partisan alignment of Congress and the legislature’s gress was likely to defer to the president on military matters es-
attempt to avoid blame for unpopular wars. Furthermore, I will pecially because congressional support increases the ability of
argue that President Obama is willing to continue the precedent the president to govern both at home as well as internationally.
of executive authority established under his predecessor when In fact, presidents exercise 45% more major military force and
dealing with Afghanistan. are more willing to incur the risks associated with military ac-
tion when they enjoy strong partisan support within Congress.7
Congressional support for popular presidents from their party is
The Problem significantly important when explaining why Congress deferred
Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution gives to President Bush on military matters during his first six years of
Equal Justice

Congress the power to declare war.1 Since 1789, that power has in office.
been invoked on five occasions, most recently in World War II.2 When a president has vast popularity in a system of unified
James Madison wrote in his Letters to Helividius, “In no part of government, as President Bush did post-September 11th, Con-
the constitution is more wisdom to be found than in the clause gress becomes significantly more likely to legislate according to
which confides the question of war or peace to the legislature, the desires of the Commander-in Chief. Given President Bush’s
and not to the executive government.”3 Alexander Hamilton 86% approval rating, he was able to easily push the Authoriza-
echoed Madison’s sentiments in the Federalist Papers; he said tion for Use of Military Force through Congress just seven days
the title of Commander-in-Chief was merely a nominal gesture, after September 11th.8 This legislation stated, “that the president
not a prescription for presidential war-making authority.4 Con- is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against
gressional authority in military matters has fluctuated over the [terrorists]” and thereby surrendered some congressional au-
Health Care

past century. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the first thority. This authorization was approved in a 98-0 vote in the
to increase executive war making authority as he sought to es- Senate and a 420-1 in the House of Representatives.9
calate the powers of the presidency during World War II. In re- In the months and years that followed, President Bush con-
sponse to such claims of executive power Congress reclaimed tinued to increase the powers of his office. The PATRIOT Act
its authority during President Richard Nixon’s tenure by passing was proposed in October of 2001 to expand the abilities of law
the 1973 War Powers Resolution, which “reassert[ed] congressio- enforcement to investigate threats after an attack on the United
nal prerogatives over foreign policy making.”5 Yet, there is little
States. The legislation passed by a vote of 98-1 in the Senate in sible for Congress to pass legislation compelling a recalcitrant
and 357-66 in the House.10 As Bush’s popularity waned to 68%, president to redirect a war effort.”18 In the end, Congress voted

Defense & Diplomacy

the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolu- for the appropriations bill without the timetable and accepted
tion of 2002 passed by smaller margins: 77-23 in the Senate and the president’s surge in Iraq. However, this signaled a shift in the
296-122 in the House.11 The legislation provided the president war dynamic. For the first time in President Bush’s tenure, the
with the authority to use the “armed forces of US as he deter- legislature did not accept his military policy out of hand.
mines to be necessary and appropriate… against the continuing President Barack Obama took office on January 20th, 2009
threat posed by Iraq.”12 As Republicans united behind President under a system of ‘Unified Government,’ with Democrats con-
Bush and the War in Iraq, Democrats remained divided, creating trolling both the White House and Congress. The first indica-
a political environment favorable to the president’s agenda to tion of Obama’s military policy came into public discourse over
expand the war-making authority of the president. decisions regarding troop deployment in Afghanistan, an exten-

Economic Development
While President Bush sought to expand his power, Congress sion of the Global War on Terror that began in September 2001
was doing little to thwart a potential breach of the separation of under President Bush’s leadership. In a speech at West Point on
powers out of fear of undermining a popular president in a time December 1st, 2009, President Obama announced his decision
of war. Even if Democrats wanted to increase oversight, “During to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan in order to fight Al-
Republican rule, critical hearings on Iraq were rare, [there were] Qaida and the Taliban proving his compliance with Bush’s poli-
50 hearings from March 2003 to March 2006 and almost 10% cies and his disregard for Congressional input.19
were informally held by Democrats.” Furthermore, the “Republi- President Obama’s decision regarding Afghanistan is an ex-
can committee chairs successfully blocked further investigations ample of a president unilaterally setting the military agenda and
into potentially embarrassing questions about the administra- the legislature responding to the policy set forth. In prepara-
tions conduct of the war and military strategy.”13 The Bush Ad- tion of his decision, President Obama spoke extensively with his
ministration welcomed the absence of congressional oversight, generals and bureaucrats, but left Congress out of his delibera-
but according to the president’s lawyer, John Yoo, Congress is tions.20 Obama’s exclusion of Congress implied he was confident

powerless to prevent the president from doing whatever he be- the plan would receive congressional consent, perhaps because
lieves to be necessary to win a war.14 And as it turns out Con- as “single-minded seekers of re-election” getting involved in an
gress is also powerless to prevent the president from starting unpopular war would not have served the legislature’s agenda.
a war. President Bush received unequivocal support from Con- Furthermore, Congress acknowledges that presidents and gen-
gress during a period of unified Republican rule. erals have significantly more information at their disposal on
However, as President Bush’s popularity decreased to 50%, military matters, enabling them to make better-informed deci-
the 2006 elections, in which Democrats reclaimed a majority in sions.21 Given the current partisan alignment in Congress and
Congress, dealt a blow to the administration’s goal of further ex- the legislature’s avoidance of the issue of Afghanistan, it is thus

Energy & Environment

panding presidential powers.15 The legislature sought to reclaim understandable that Congress would be willing to relinquish mil-
its authority in military matters. Because different parties led the itary authority to the president. Key Congressional Democrats
executive and legislative branches, the relationship between the publicly objected to Obama’s plan for troop build-up and though
legislature-executive was best described as a system of ‘Presi- influential Congressional Republicans have responded favorably
dent Party Power.’ “When the President’s party is relatively small to the troop build-up, they have voiced concern for the July 2011
and divided, the opposition party is larger and more unified, the timetable for withdrawal Obama has proposed, however none
president’s freedom to use force abroad should decline,” Howell were willing to publicly battle the president.22 Popularity for the
explained.16 From the moment Democrats claimed majority of war in Afghanistan stands at a 57% in favor, a number that spiked
the legislature, oversight of the president and the war began 9% after President Obama announced his deployment propos-
and grew. “In their first fifteen months in power, Congress man- al.23 Congress continues to indulge Obama’s plans out of fear of
aged to hold more than 65 investigative hearings on the war.”17 getting in too deep.24 While Congress is on a path to approve

Equal Justice
For the first time since President Bush was sworn in to office President Obama’s escalation, despite being shut out of the de-
a congressional majority stood in opposition to the executive, cision-making process, some observers have used his decision to
and they were well-equipped to offer a rebuke to the president’s draw parallels with previous unpopular wars like Vietnam. CNN
policies. Contributor, Julian Zelizer writes, “Both [Presidents Obama and
The first major challenge to executive authority occurred in Johnson] entered the war despite the fact that many top ad-
the spring of 2007, when the Democratic majority amended a visers in Congress strongly warned against escalation.”25 While
supplemental war-funding bill. Democrats sought to mandate President Obama’s decision to increase the number of forces in
a phased redeployment of American troops from Iraq within Afghanistan is not universally popular, withdrawing troops could
six months and set a goal for withdrawal by March 2008. Con- hurt President Obama when he seeks re-election.
gress did not employ its war-making authority to bring an end Congressional acquiescence during President Bush’s tenure
Health Care

to the war in Iraq; rather, the legislature exercised its power of and in the beginning of President Obama’s can be explained
the purse. Senate Democrats, short of the 60 votes needed to if it is assumed that Congress wants to maintain its popularity,
break a filibuster, were forced to cave into the President’s stipu- both in the media and constituents. Publicly battling a popu-
lations that the bill must not include a timetable for withdrawal, lar president in the media on military decisions could deliver
an indication of how difficult it can be for the majority party in a blow to any individual member’s chances at re-election be-
Congress to override the president. Despite the best intentions cause the media can influence public support and the positions
of the Framers, congressional institutions “make it all but impos- of constituents. During the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq, the
Bush Administration waged a media campaign to convince the The Solution
public that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The Much emphasis on congressional authority in military mat-
Defense & Diplomacy

first story in the press regarding WMD in Iraq surfaced on Sep- ters has been based in the War Powers Clause, but Congress
tember 13, 2002, and it included no opinion to counter to the has other means to demand oversight and accountability of the
administration’s claim. In the absence of congressional opposi- President’s military decisions. Appropriations have been a tool
tion in the press, the American public for Congressional input especially dur-

easily bought the Bush Administration’s ing years of divided government. In-
assertions. Furthermore, 49.6% of lo- formally known as the power of purse,
cal stories on Iraq featured members
epresentatives engage in a poten- Congress maintains its authority, “To
of the Bush Administration, whereas tially dangerous cycle: Congress raise and support armies,” “To provide
members of Congress appeared in 21% looks to media and public opinion and maintain a navy;” and “To provide
Economic Development

of the local stories, despite their long- for guidance on how to behave re- for organizing, arming, and disciplin-
33 While congressio-
founded relationships with constitu- garding military action, but neither ing, the militia.”
ents and local news outlets.26 Inequity nal institutions can make it difficult for
in media appearances created a sense
the media nor the public are Congress to end wars, the legislature
of congressional complacency among well-informed on matters involving could theoretically stop funding them.
the American public during the delib- the use of force. For example, “as of spring 2008, Dem-
erations on the war in Iraq. ocrats had approved less than 10% of
When evaluating the behavior of the administration’s requested $189 bil-
Congress in military pronouncements, it is important to under- lion in that year’s supplemental appropriation for Iraq,” an act of
stand what congressional influence amounts to in the public dis- defiance directed at an unpopular president.34 Congressional
course. Since the president sets the foreign policy agenda in the investigative powers are another means of legislative oversight
media, Congress must decide if the president’s case will receive derived from the McGrain v. Daugherty decision in the U.S. Su-

‘a free pass’ or if the legislature will investigate the president’s preme Court.35 Mayhew argued congressional investigations or
claims. A study by Matthew Baum and Timothy Groeling demon- “Publicity probes,” draw in the media and public opinion, provid-
strated how “support for the president in the wake of a military ing Congress with an opportunity to hold the president account-
deployment coincided with the tenor of congressional rhetoric able.36 Military appropriations and congressional investigations
reported in the mass media.”27 Researchers further tested the have become key instruments wielded by the United States Con-
influence of Congress on public opinion. In one study, respon- gress for military decision-making. These tools allow members of
dents were offered three situations in the fictional country of Congress to signal to constituents whether or not they support
Energy & Environment

Ecretia, modeled after Iraq: the president says there are WMD, the president’s foreign policy agenda without forcing the repre-
the president says there are WMD and Congress disagrees, and sentatives to take an active role in military action and potentially
the president says there are WMD and Congress agrees. In these receive the blame for unpopular military misadventures.
scenarios, 24.3%, 19.9% and 29.9% of respondents supported the To ensure re-election, members of Congress have taken
28 an indirect approach to American foreign policy, going so far
invasion, respectively. The study, coupled with past research,
demonstrated how Congress has sway over media coverage as as to surrender their constitutional authority to declare war to
29 the President of the United States in an effort to avoid blame
well as public support for a president’s military agenda. Con-
gress has authority in military situations, but often does not take for unpopular military matters. President Barack Obama is cur-
up the War Powers mantle, for fear of alienating constituents. rently reaping the benefits of the congressional relinquishment
Representatives engage in a potentially dangerous cycle: of war-making authority to the Commander-in-Chief. If Presi-
Congress looks to media and public opinion for guidance on dent Obama’s plan for Afghanistan and the manner in which he
how to behave regarding military action, but neither the media reached the current proposal is any indication for how Obama
Equal Justice

nor the public are well-informed on matters involving the use of plans to treat the United States Congress in the future, Ameri-
30 cans can expect retention of executive authority for military ac-
force. Congressional fear of falling out of favor with constitu-
ents over potentially unpopular military action can prevent repre- tion. President Obama treated Congress as an afterthought in
sentatives from asserting their constitutional authority to declare the first large-scale military decision of his presidency, and Con-
war and engage in war-making activities. Mayhew described the gress accepted this treatment, because the legislative branch
‘public sphere,’ as the “realm of shared American consciousness overwhelming fears alienating constituents.
in which government officials and others make moves before an
attentive stratum of the public, in which society’s preference for-
Automatic Absentee Voting
mation, politics, and policymaking all substantially take place.”31
Aditya Mukerjee
In the Iraq War, Congressional position taking and popular opin-
Health Care

ion within this ‘public sphere’ have complimented one another.32

These assessments suggest Congress is more willing to wade
into military matters when the public supports them, but as sup- In the 2008 presidential elections, the United States saw
port for the Global War on Terror, or what is now referred to as record levels of voter turnout, particularly among youth voters
the War in Afghanistan, wanes, Congress has remained willing to (voters between the ages of 18 and 25 years old). In general, vot-
hand over decision-making authority to the president. ers aged 18-25 years old are significantly less likely to vote than
the general population. In New York state, there was a 30% dif-
ference in voting turnout between citizens aged 18-25 and citi- In Oregon, the success of a different vote-by-mail program
zens aged 25 and above.1 Compared to the national average, has led the state to conduct all elections exclusively by mail.

Defense & Diplomacy

New York State youth were 2% less likely to vote in the 2004 Youth voter turnout in Oregon is 8% higher than the national av-
election.2 A number of factors may contribute to this relative erage. In addition, this voting system has saved the state millions
lack of participation, such as absence due to college, or a de- of dollars since its inception.
creased level of awareness of civic affairs. Both factors are even When Oregon moved to “mail-only” voting, the costs of run-
more salient in local elections, which typically gather little, if any, ning elections decreased by 20%,3 because the state and coun-
coverage outside the home district or state. ties no longer had to maintain polling stations on Election Day.
Currently, New York State law permits a voter to request an In the first presidential primary held after the switch, the cost of
absentee ballot only for a few specific reasons, such as expected the election was $583,791 less than the estimated $3,396,272 that
absence from the polling district on the day of the election, reli- would have been spent.4

Economic Development
gious duties, or admission to a hospital. Any citizen who does not Under automatic, no-excuse absentee voting, polling stations
fall under one of these categories must vote at the polling loca- would still be necessary, unlike in Oregon. However, if this pro-
tion on Election Day. Requests for absentee ballots must be filed gram is enacted and achieves sufficient popularity with voters
within the month before the election. Youth who attend college who currently vote in person, the number of polling locations in
in another state or who do not keep track of election dates may some districts may be reduced, which will lower the total costs
easily miss this window, especially for local and special elections. of holding elections.
Establishing automatic no-excuse absentee voting as an op- As shown, this program would increase youth voter turnout,
tion during voter registration will increase voting turnout and increase youth civic awareness, and lower the costs of holding
civic awareness among youth. Under this policy, voters would elections. An automatic, no-excuse absentee voting program
be allowed to submit a standing request for an absentee ballot. could be easily enacted with a single, two-part bill. First, the
Voters who utilize this option would automatically receive an ab- special requirements for requesting an absentee ballot should
sentee ballot in the mail, thus saving them the trouble of remem- be eliminated, so that any registered voter is able to vote by

bering to request an absentee ballot for each individual election. absentee ballot for any election. Second, New York State voter
These voters will never forget or miss an election date, as receiv- registration forms should be amended to include an option to
ing an absentee ballot will serve as a de facto reminder of the request an absentee ballot for all future elections. 

upcoming election. To enable this program, the existing laws sur-
rounding absentee ballots should be changed to allow voters to
request absentee ballots without specifying a qualifying reason. Abortion Clinic Buffer Zones for
This would allow a voter to request an automatic absentee ballot New York State
even if he is not sure that he will be away (whether traveling or Philip Verma

Energy & Environment

at college) on every future election date. These benefits would
particularly impact youth voter turnout, as college students are
likely to be absent from their home district on election dates and Since 1977, there have been 6,143 incidences of violence na-
may not be aware of elections in time to request an absentee tionwide against abortion providers, including eight murders.
ballot. There have also been 156,961 incidences of disruption, and 763
In addition, automatic incidences of clinic blockades.1 Abortion is protected under fed-
no-excuse absentee vot-
ing will increase civic A utomatic no-excuse
absentee voting will
eral law, as upheld by the 1973 landmark Supreme Court deci-
sion Roe v. Wade, which affirmed a woman’s freedom of choice
awareness among par- in these matters. However, women seeking access to abortion
ticipating voters. Voters increase civil aware- clinics are frequently obstructed by protestors, who claim their
in the program will never ness among partici- actions are protected by the First Amendment. Protestors have

Equal Justice
be confronted with an un- been known to block clinic entrances and aggressively harass
familiar name in the vot-
panting voters. patients and staff.2 Patients and their chaperones sometimes
ing booth, as they will be react to the protestors’ provocations, which can lead to violent
able to research all candi- altercations outside clinics. In order to protect a woman’s right
dates before mailing back the absentee ballot. This will increase to choose and to prevent violence around the clinics, the state
knowledge of local, state, and federal civic matters. Because this of New York should implement buffer zones both around clinic
program will significantly benefit youth voters, this program is an entrances and around patients.
ideal way to increase civic awareness among youth voters. Federal protection of clinics already exists under the 1994
Washington State has successfully implemented this exact Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE), which pro-
program. In Washington, voter registration forms allow the op- hibits threats and violence against individuals obtaining or pro-
Health Care

tion of requesting an automatic absentee ballot for all future viding reproductive services. However, as events like the recent
elections during voter registration, and there are no special re- murder of Dr. George Tiller show, the provisions of FACE are
quirements for requesting an absentee ballot. Due to the popu- not enough. New York should create buffer zones around facil-
larity of this option, several counties now conduct all elections ity entrances wherein certain acts of protest are restricted. As
through the mail alone, though state law still allows both mail-in of 2010, three states have done this: Massachusetts, Montana,
voting and in-person voting. Youth turnout in Washington is 5% and Colorado, as well as a number of cities, notably New York
higher than the national average. and Chicago. Regulations usually involve some combination
of “fixed” buffers around clinic entrances and “floating” buffers restriction on free speech is not content-neutral, and therefore
around individuals seeking to enter. There have been three ma- not constitutional. By crafting a narrowly-tailored law that limits
Defense & Diplomacy

jor Supreme Court decisions on no-protest zones around clinics: speech somewhat without becoming content-specific or unnec-
Madsen v. Women’s Health Center (1994), Schenck v. Pro-Choice essarily restrictive, New York can protect the rights of women
Network of Western New York (1997) and Hill v. Colorado (2000). seeking or exploring the possibility of abortion. The concerns of
In Madsen and Hill, the court upheld most of the injunctions protestors on both sides should be taken seriously but prevent-
on protesting, while it struck down the ing continued violence and harassment
floating bubble provision in Schenck.
Together, the three cases adapted the
strict scrutiny test for free speech viola-
S trikes the best balance be-
tween two constitutionally
is strongly in the interest of the state,
and thus supersedes it. Even the ACLU,
which often breaks with other liberal
tion to the issue of clinic buffer zones. In groups on issues of free speech, has de-
protected rights: the right to
Economic Development

order to pass constitutional muster, the fended buffer zones as necessary and
prohibitions had to be strongly in the free speech and the right to have constitutional.8
state’s interest, relatively content-neu- an abortion New York is a state where clinic buf-
tral, and less restrictive than the state’s fer zones could be exceptionally helpful.
interest, in this case, abortion. The state at present does not have any
New York should implement both types of buffers, following provision like this, although its three largest cities—New York,
the legal parameters accepted by Supreme Court in Hill v. Colo- Buffalo, and Rochester—all have some form of buffer.9 New York
rado, its most recent decision on the issue. Colorado’s statute is a state with more abortion clinics than most, and not simply by
created an 8-foot buffer around patients within a 100-foot ra- virtue of its large population.10 60 percent of New York counties
dius of an entrance. Floating buffers like these around patients have abortion providers, compared with only 13 percent of coun-
are necessary to prevent protestors from forming a blockade at ties nationally; furthermore, those New York counties contain
the fixed distance from the clinic entrance. The 8-foot distance 97 percent of the state’s female population. This policy would

used in Colorado is sufficient to allow conversation but prevent therefore be very useful in New York, especially in the western
intimidation; in contrast, the distance in Schenck was 15 feet.3 part of the state, where violence has historically been more of
Furthermore, the law in Colorado is for all medical facilities, and a problem.11 The New York Assembly and Senate should there-
is therefore relatively content-neutral; it could even apply to anti- fore work with local governments and police forces to create
abortion alternatives, such as pregnancy crisis centers. Finally, and monitor buffer zones. These buffer zones will help protect
the statute only affected intentional approach; if a patient came patients and chaperones seeking abortion services and the doc-
within 8 feet of a stationary protestor, the protestor was not pun- tors and staff that provide them. They will also give the police a
Energy & Environment

ished.4 clearer policy for enforcement than granted by FACE and relieve
Although anti-abortion advocates have used the First Amend- them of continually breaking up conflict at clinics. Finally, it will
ment as a defense for their protests, this claim does not stand protect protesters from reprisal. Some anti-abortion advocates
closer scrutiny. Restrictions on free speech are to be avoided have expressed concerns that due to a chilling effect, people
whenever possible but when there is a compelling state inter- will stop protesting altogether.12 This seems unlikely given the
est—here the protection of abortion rights—the right to speech character and behavior of these protestors, but it is a possibil-
can be limited. Furthermore, there is significant precedent to ity. Therefore, free-speech groups like the ACLU and pro-choice
such restrictions in other political and social arenas. Polling plac- groups like NARAL and Planned Parenthood should work with
es, government offices, and labor strike locations were all histori- protest organizations to let them know what speech and protest
cally sites of violence and confrontation, which led to restrictions activities remain within their rights. Finally, for the first five years
against campaigning and protesting at said places.5 In Burson v. after implementation, data should be gathered about violation
Freeman (1992), the Supreme Court ruled that there was a com- and enforcement rates in the state to determine the policy’s ef-
Equal Justice

pelling state interest in regulating campaigning around polling fectiveness.

places on Election Day, and extensively cited past incidences of Under federal law, women have the right to get an abortion
violence in its decision. The buffer distance upheld in Burson was but more importantly, they have the right to choose, to make the
100 feet, equal to Colorado’s statue and far greater than those decision of their own free will. Violence and aggressive intimida-
6 tion take away this choice by denying women the opportunity to
of Montana and Massachusetts. Following the court’s logic in
Burson, a 100-foot restricted-speech zone is absolutely neces- even consider the procedure as a possibility. There are enough
sary, considering that today, violence against staff and patients stigmas and dangers involved with abortion as it is; women
at abortion clinics is significantly higher than against voters and should be allowed to at least explore the option of abortion
7 without intense intimidation and physical harassment. Protesters
election officials at polling places.
Even though the clinic buffer laws are less onerous than their should still be allowed to hold signs and distribute literature but
Health Care

counterparts in labor, election, and government circles, they in order to prevent violence at and around abortion clinics, they
have been subjected to far more scrutiny and criticism. This must keep a safe distance. The clinic buffer zone strikes the best
is primarily because the right to an abortion remains a highly balance between two constitutionally protected rights: the right
controversial issue in the United States and abortion opponents to free speech and the right to have an abortion.
want to protest. If these protestors truly believe that protest
restrictions are illegal, then they should similarly advocate end-
ing the other types of restrictions mentioned. Otherwise, the
Health Care

The passing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, by Congress and
signed by President Obama in March of 2010, is a long-overdue step in the direc-
tion of increased equity, access, and affordability in the American health insur-
ance system. However, behind all of the hyperbolic talk of socialism and “govern-
ment takeovers,” scholars of health policy understand that this bill lacks a number
of important provisions, some of which were even included in Richard Nixon’s
proposed 1974 reform. The legislation lacks a public option to drive down insur-
ance prices; it does not reach fully universal coverage; it will not cover undocu-
mented immigrants; many provisions do not begin until 2014. The time is thus still
ripe for innovative local, statewide, and national solutions that increase access
to and lower the rise in our country’s spending on medical care. In this journal,
students tackle the issues of access and affordability with articles about rape
and domestic violence classifications in insurance, electronic health records, and
the finances of reproductive labor.
congressional surveys include Aetna, Nationwide, Allstate, State
The Limits of “Fair Discrimination”: Farm, Metropolitan Life, The Prudential, and the Principle Finan-
Defense & Diplomacy

Rape and Domestic Violence Classifications in cial Group.6 New York Senator Charles Schumer conducted a
Health Insurance survey of 16 major New York-based health insurance companies
Ihotu J. Ali in 1996, finding half of which considered domestic violence a
legitimate underwriting criteria on which to consider denial of
coverage.7 Another survey of life, health, and accident insurers
Introduction: Public cases of denied coverage to abuse sur- in Pennsylvania found that, out of 437 companies, 28% (22% of
vivors raise the alarm health insurers) used domestic violence as a criterion in their de-
The story of Christine Turner surfaced in early 2009, as health cisions to provide coverage.8 Thus making sexual and domestic
insurance reform debates began in Washington, D.C. Turner, 45, abuse a “pre-existing condition.”
Economic Development

appeared on dozens of internet sites to explain how, after being As explained by U.S. Representative Constance A. Morella (D-
drugged, raped, and left on the roadside in Fort Lauderdale, she MD) to a Senate committee hearing in 1996: “Insurance com-
followed medical advice to take medication to prevent against panies, it appears, have refused to cover victims of domestic
the small possibility of HIV transmission.1 However, when Turner, violence – as one company representative last year said, on the
a former insurance underwriter herself, lost insurance months grounds that covering battered women is like ‘covering diabetics
later and sought a new policy, she was denied due to suspicions who refused to take their insulin.’”9 Chronic diseases like diabe-
of having HIV. Another rape victim in New Jersey encountered tes require multiple sources of specialized medical care, which
problems when her insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and associ- becomes very expensive. If such a disease develops while an
ated managed care organization, Magellan, delayed and even- individual is under a single insurance policy, the insurer is obli-
tually denied her mental health treatment to recover from the gated to pay for the increased costs and absorb this risk. How-
trauma.2 In Pennsylvania, a 25-year-old woman garnered media ever, when an individual already diagnosed with chronic disease
attention and public outrage with her story. After her husband applies for a new policy, her chances of finding a reasonable
policy are slim. Many individuals with pre-existing conditions are

shoved her into some furniture during an argument and injured

her hip, two insurance companies denied her health, life, and dis- charged exorbitant premiums, offered policies that cover few
ability coverage.3 Cases of “abuse classifications” used to deny costs, or in most cases, are denied coverage entirely.
insurance coverage continue to grow public, sparking concern These issues are not new, to insurance companies or to
that this issue is rather a chronic problem across the insurance state and federal legislative bodies. The feminist movement and
industry. women’s health advocates succeeded in raising the public con-
These women’s stories question the fairness of insurance poli- sciousness around rape and domestic violence as a major public
health concern in the 1980s, triggering abuse screening in hospi-
Energy & Environment

cies regarding the traumatizing experience of rape and domestic

violence. Even months and years after the incident, survivors4 tals and encouraging doctors to provide appropriate treatment
find themselves struggling a second time to receive full insur- and document abuse in medical records as proof for obtaining
ance coverage and support for the services necessary for their orders of protection or legal compensation. However, as abuse
long-term recovery. However, many survivors do not even know advocates made strides in the medical and legal realm, insurance
the reason for their insurance denial, since companies are not re- companies took note as well and adopted abuse classifications
quired to disclose their reasons for refusing coverage. Rape and in order to deny specific benefits or coverage altogether for indi-
domestic violence are silent tragedies that affect thousands of viduals with any single history of abuse. Insurers could review in-
women each year, and their trauma often goes unspoken as well dividuals’ medical records as well as police reports, court, credit,
as untreated, which health insurance policies only exacerbate. and employment records, and were never required to disclose
Just as doctors diagnose and prescribe, insurers classify, rate, the reasons for denial. Thus, for many years survivors and advo-
and estimate. Before offering a new health insurance policy, each cates did not know and could not prove if they had been denied
Equal Justice

insurance company reviews the overall health, “high risk” activi- based on abuse history.10
ties, and medical and family history of the applicant. This paper A public debate called into question the “fairness” of deter-
will explore rape and domestic violence as health risk classifica- mining insurance policies on certain classifications. A Supreme
tions under such review, and the role they should play in health Court ruling declared on the basis of Title VII of Civil Rights Act
insurers’ underwriting decisions. I ask the question: Should insur- of 1964 that race, religion, sex, and national origin were prohibited
ance companies be allowed to consider patient medical histories as classifications, but only in certain employer-sponsored plans.
of rape and domestic violence as grounds for denying coverage? All fifty states enacted some form of limit on the personal char-
acteristics used in insurance classifications.11 In the mid-1990s,
Background: History of abuse classifications in government Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN) introduced AMA-endorsed
and the industry legislation that would prohibit insurers from raising premiums,
Health Care

Abuse classifications such as “history of rape” or “history of denying coverage, or classifying as pre-existing conditions any
domestic violence”5 have been used in insurance underwriting abuse-related injuries. However, such legislation has never suc-
criteria for decades, particularly stemming from an increased ceeded at the federal level. Instead, the states acted. Several
public awareness of abuse in the 1980s. The classifications have states approved legislation to regulate insurance companies’ use
not been used uniformly across health insurers; however, the of abuse status, abuse-related conditions, and histories of abuse-
practice is widespread and accepted at many insurance compa- related claims in the underwriting process. In last decade, how-
nies. Among those identified by women’s advocacy groups and ever, the issue of abuse classifications went largely silent, until
the 2008 presidential campaigns and a renewed focus on health “more common than auto accidents, muggings, and rapes by a
insurance reform. The voting records of Republican candidates stranger combined” and “the number one reason that women

Defense & Diplomacy

John McCain and Sarah Palin were exposed and criticized for go to emergency rooms.”17 With this conflicting information, sup-
their lack of support for comprehensive reproductive health porters continue to see survivors as being at “high risk” of need-
services for women and sexual abuse survivors.12 Then under ing ongoing medical services and financially straining insurance
health insurance reform, bills in the House of Representatives companies.
and Senate have each debated amendments regarding rape Insurance executives have also been using pre-existing con-
and domestic violence and appropriate means for survivors to ditions and “risk rating” since the inception of private health
receive health care. Public pressure mounted on ten Republican insurance as an acceptable means of limiting costs amid an in-
Senators when advocacy groups exposed their votes against a creasingly expensive health care system. They likely consider
bill in 2006 that would have forced insurance companies to com- survivors to be a small amount of the general population, and a

Economic Development
ply with state laws banning the use of abuse classifications.13 The relatively small public relations price to pay in order to avoid tak-
reform bill passed recently by the House of Representatives in- ing on additional risk. Even if survivors were offered comprehen-
cludes a provision banning several “unfair” classifications, specifi- sive coverage, someone would still have to pay the additional
cally including domestic violence. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi costs, therefore removing high risk beneficiaries such as abuse
describes the impact of this provision, if survivors from the insurance pool avoids

passed by the entire Congress: “Think of cost shifting and keeps everyone else’s
this. You’ve survived domestic violence, omestic violence is the lead- premiums relatively low.
and now you are discriminated [against] The logic of abuse classification pro-
in the insurance market because you
ing cause of injury to women in ponents is often criticized as inhumane,
have a pre-existing medical condition. the United States, affecting 4 as the Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim ex-
Well, that will all be gone.”14 million victims and costing over plained: “Under the cold logic of the in-
Today, eight states still allow domes- $31 billion surance industry, it makes perfect sense:
tic violence as a pre-existing condition If you are in a marriage with someone

and comprehensive services (particularly who has beaten you in the past, you’re
mental health treatment) continue to be denied to abuse survi- more likely to get beaten again than the average person and
vors across the nation. While the nation is on the verge of dra- are therefore more expensive to insure. In human terms,” he
matic health insurance reform, the supporters and opponents continues, “it’s a second punishment for a victim of domestic
make their case to the legislators who may very well change the violence.”18 Nevertheless, supporters of “fair discrimination” see
landscape of this issue in the months and years to come. their policies not as an intentional lashing out against abuse sur-
vivors, but an unfortunate and yet necessary step in order to stay

Energy & Environment

Supporters: “Fair discrimination” and industry-wide accept- in business and provide fair coverage to all.
ed practices
As health insurance reform looms closer, everyone is waiting Opponents: Statistical evidence, true fairness, and cost-ef-
to see the final product after months of debate in Congress and fective prevention
across the nation. The few, yet powerful supporters of abuse On the other hand, opponents of abuse classifications include
classifications includes several Republican Senators, health in- most Democrats in Congress, reproductive health advocates,
surance executives, and particularly managed care organizations battered women’s groups, survivors themselves and the unin-
concerned about the “bottom line.” As proponents of the finan- sured, as well as potentially all women. This group is known for
cial stability of the insurance industry, they espouse a point of their “antidiscrimination perspective” that individuals shouldn’t
view often called the “fair discrimination perspective.”15 be held accountable for health risks outside of their personal
They may have little knowledge or intention of “re-victimizing” control, and for their concern for the overall health and human

Equal Justice
the survivors; however, they are concerned about the reality of rights of the individual survivor over profit-margins and business
medical costs and actuarial estimates of risk. Survivors of rape practices.19
can require long-term services, and emergency contraceptives, First, the pre-existing condition policy makes an unfair as-
rape kits, and HIV and STI prophylaxis can be expensive. Ex- sumption of guilt on the part of the survivor and requires her to
tended mental health services are also costly, and are often not pay the penalty of more expensive insurance policies (if she can
reimbursed fully by or included in basic health insurance plans. receive coverage at all) or shoulder additional expenses on her
Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women in own if the insurer refuses to pay. All 50 states prohibit the use
the United States, affecting 4 million victims and costing over $31 of race as a classification, despite well-known differences in life
billion in abuse-related medical treatment each year. Domestic expectancy based on racial background and pre-disposition to
violence is estimated to cost employers up to $5 billion and ac- certain diseases.20 Gender, however, is not uniformly prohibited
Health Care

count for a total cost of $67 billion nationwide. In his defense of as a classification and current estimates report that women pay
legislation to prohibit abuse classifications, Senator Paul Well- up to 50% more for health insurance than men, not including
stone declared the bill as necessary “to correct an abhorrent maternity costs.21 According to the antidiscrimination perspec-
practice” of denying coverage which perpetuated “plain, old tive, an individual should be no more accountable for her history
fashioned discrimination,” “profoundly unjust and wrong.” Yet in of abuse than for race or gender.
the same press release, the Senator went on to describe do- In addition, other victims of violent crimes such as stabbings
mestic violence as an enormous cost to the health industry, as or shootings are fully covered for their recovery, while sexual
violence – a potentially more traumatizing crime – may be de- tive services, they could avoid later, more severe physical and
nied under the same context. The American Bar Association has especially psychological debilitating conditions such as PTSD,
Defense & Diplomacy

spoken out against abuse classifications for over a decade, with clinical depression or anxiety disorders that would require more
the explanation of its President: “We don’t hold victims of crime chronic and specialized care.
responsible for their injuries. Insurance companies do not deny American Medical Association trustee Dr. Timothy T. Flaherty
coverage for an individual who has been shot or stabbed by a testified in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Labor and Hu-
stranger. They should not revoke coverage when the attacked man Resources in July 1996, expressing: “The AMA has strived
is a spouse.”22 As opposed to a reckless driver or diabetic who to facilitate the reporting and diagnosis of domestic abuse in
refuses to take his insulin, an abuse survivor who is denied cover- an effort to identify and help the problem before it goes too
age is not only effectively blamed for someone else’s crime, but far. Recent insurance company practices threaten to impede our
is treated with an inappropriate level of discrimination given her valuable progress in this area.”28A representative from the Penn-
Economic Development

circumstances. sylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence has also said that
Members of the insurance industry may counter this argu- “not being able to obtain health, automobile, or homeowner’s
ment with the fact that risk rating is an accepted practice, and insurance because of domestic violence means a mother can’t
that all applicants are subject to the same review of their medi- afford to take her kids to the doctor, can’t provide for her kids
cal histories. Pisano of the insurance trade group expressed a in the event of her disability or death, can’t own a car, or own or
concern that “it’s important to point out that health plans are not even rent a home – all critical factors in establishing a life free of
denying coverage based on the fact that someone was raped, violence.”29 Survivors may not necessarily be as “high risk” bene-
but [Post Traumatic Stress Disorder] could be a factor in denied ficiaries as insurers often assume, and the prohibition of an abuse
coverage.” However, a staff attorney at the Women’s Rights Proj- classification in insurance may actually help to reduce their risk
ect at the American Civil Liberties Union disagrees. “That might in exposing them to efficient medical and mental health treat-
not be a discriminatory action, but it certainly would seem to ment to prevent the need for lifelong care.
have a discriminatory impact,” she says. “Insurance discrimina- Although rape and domestic violence are very different cases

tion against rape victims will only further discourage them from each with unique types of health care costs and statistical risk,
coming forward to law enforcement and seeking medical help.”23 but if abuse survivors are truly less of a risk than previously as-
Opponents of the abuse classification take issue with the policy sumed, it is in the interests of both women’s advocates and in-
of abuse classifications (and the concept of profit-driven classifi- surers to rectify this actuarial error. This would encourage the
cations in general) because of its “overly burdensome” effect on survivor to access comprehensive and preventative treatment,
survivors in practice.24 while also allowing the insurer to offer competitive rates and
However, even under the business logic of health insurance policies to “good risk” beneficiaries and enhance the viability of
Energy & Environment

companies, this constituency opposes abuse classifications due the insurance pool.30
to a lack of solid evidence identifying abuse survivors as “high
risk” beneficiaries. From any single incident of unprotected sex, Recommendations against abuse classification: State Regula-
including rape, the probability of contracting HIV lies between tion and Disclosure
1% and .01%, or one in 1,000 cases.25 Although chances are I stand with the opponents of rape and domestic violence
small, medical professionals agree that preventive medication be as health insurance classifications for both moral and actuarial
taken as soon as possible following the incident and regular test- reasons. First, I believe in following a public health and human
ing occurs in order to prevent further related health care costs. rights model in hopes that insurance agencies, despite being ob-
Peg Echols, Assistant Counsel of Federal Affairs for State Farm ligated to the “bottom line,” will acknowledge the societal impact
admitted this assumption made by insurers, saying that “there is of their policies and weigh the value of their increased profit
insufficient data available to measure costs associated with insur- with the amount of undue trauma inflicted on vulnerable indi-
ing victims of [domestic violence].” Deborah Senn, Washington viduals. However, I also believe that private insurers and women’s
Equal Justice

State Insurance Commissioner, has also said there is no “bona advocates can find common ground in the possibility that the
fide evidence that the victims of abuse are a greater risk” draw- exclusion of abuse survivors from coverage is neither fair, nor
ing from insurance pools.26 Although the total costs of abuse profitable. In fact, effective models of care and early treatment
have been roughly estimated, there is no scientific evidence that may be a strategy both sides can agree upon and work toward
an applicant, with no prior conditions except for the status as a best-case scenario.
an abuse survivor, will necessarily require more costly treatment The battle of insurance for survivors also degenerates into
in her recovery. Part of the explanation may come from an in- debates over physical health versus mental health, definitions of
creasingly efficient system of treating survivors such as using the “accidental” injuries, and the definition of “medically necessary”
model of trained volunteer crisis counselors in New York City treatment. Research indicates that physical and mental health
emergency rooms. Another explanation may lie in preventative are both critically important to an individual’s overall functional-
Health Care

care. ity, however, mental health services are consistently questioned,

Estimates suggest that over 90% of survivors choose not to devalued as “medically necessary,” and are often limited (if cov-
come forward and receive physical and mental treatment due ered at all) under basic health insurance plans. If victims of some
to the obstacles mentioned in this paper and stigma around the crimes are given full coverage of their injuries, the same principle
incident.27 However, this may actually be contributing to the high should be equally applied to victims of all crimes, including sex-
cost of abuse in the health industry. If insurance companies were ual abuse crimes. Moreover, I believe the decision of “medically
to encourage more survivors to seek immediate and cost-effec- necessary” treatment should be left to trained physicians, not
the managed care organization staff who have taken over this
role in the name of “reducing costs.” Financial Compensation and the Commodification of

Defense & Diplomacy

Finally, I would be remiss not to mention the impact of ste- Women’s Reproductive Labor
reotypes in framing the national debate around survivors of rape Carla Palacios
and domestic violence. One in six women are sexually assaulted
nationally, and domestic violence rates in New York City alone
are estimated at over 3.9 million, or 7 percent.31 These crimes
affect women, men, children, heterosexuals, homosexuals, the Introduction
wealthy, the poor, and even the elderly and the disabled. Yet The American Society for Reproductive Medicine officially
despite the statistics, public opinion often suggests that these defines oocyte donation as the “donation of an ovum by one
incidents strike only the more “undesirables” of our society – the woman to another who attempts to become pregnant by in vitro

Economic Development
undeserving poor, prostitutes, drug users, or “loose” women – fertilization.”1 Currently in the United States, women have the
and that abused women may have lied about the nature of sex or opportunity to donate certain forms of reproductive labor in ex-
have even instigated the attacks on themselves. Ultimately, there change for financial compensation, through oocyte donation, an
is a weak imperative that services be appropriately accessible opportunity previously non-existent. Oocyte retrieval is current-
for survivors. This gap in accessible services is a major flaw in an ly in high demand and has various uses including female fertility
advanced health care system; it is unacceptable that some of the treatment, human embryonic research, and stem cell research.
most egregious and traumatizing health concerns (which can be Rules regarding financial compensation are non-existent in the
easily and inexpensively treated) are minimized and allowed to United States, and there is no current legislation on the sale of
go untreated. oocytes.2 This paper will describe the current state of commodi-
Since the states have traditionally regulated insurance com- fication of women’s reproductive oocytes, as well enumerate the
panies and have prohibited other insurance classifications be- reasons why commodification is both detrimental to potential
fore, they should take the lead in this policy arena. I recommend recipients and potentially even the health of donors. This paper

that the remaining eight states adopt legislation to ban the use will also suggest the creation of a standard or limit for financial
of domestic violence as a pre-existing condition, however, all compensation that follows the model that the FDA has created
states should also take a more active role in determining the for clinical trials.
definition of “medical necessity,” particularly in regard to men-
tal health services, and states should mandate insurance com- Background on Oocyte Donation
panies to disclose their reasons for denying coverage. Insurers In the United States alone, there are between three and sev-
should offer coverage at least to battered women who have left en million infertile couples trying to conceive.3 Thus, oocyte do-
their abusers, as they need not be continually penalized for hav-

Energy & Environment

nation has been increasingly prevalent and will continue to grow
ing fully left the dangerous situation, and to women who are in as an idustry. Oocyte retrieval is a relatively new technology, with
counseling and attempting to reduce their exposure to harm.32 the first successful in vitro fertilization in 1978 and subsequently,
In addition, government insurance programs such as Medicare the first recorded pregnancy in 1983.4 This procedure is general-
or Medicaid with higher capacities to cover potentially high-risk ly used for three types of reproductive problems: women with a
individuals should consider extending eligibility to abuse survi- history of severe genetic disorders, women without functioning
vors. Finally, the federal and/or state governments should also ovaries, and women with failed attempts of in-vitro fertilization.
consider negotiating down mental health costs and promoting In recent years, there has been a correlation with the demand
mental health parity, to assist both insured and uninsured survi- for egg donation and the increasing age of woman trying to con-
vors of domestic violence and rape with access to needed care. ceive. There is approximately a fifty percent chance that an egg
donation will result in a birth.5 Due to this large percentage,
Conclusion: A call for common ground and cost-effective oocyte donators are compensated generously.

Equal Justice
models of care The process of oocyte donation is both time-consuming and
Although the chasm between supporters and opponents of laborious. It is a complicated procedure that causes extreme
abuse classifications may seem wide, I believe progress is on the discomfort to both the donating and receiving parties. Both the
horizon. Regarding the case of the 25-year-old Pennsylvania sur- donor and the recipient receive repeated hormone treatments.
vivor mentioned earlier, First Colony Life Insurance Vice Presi- If fertilized eggs result, they are placed in an incubator and then
dent David H. McMahon refused to speak publicly about the two to four of these “pre-embryos” are placed in the woman’s
fact that his First Colony had denied her benefits, however he uterus and a pregnancy may result.6 The process of oocyte has
mentioned that the company was “participating with the Ameri- both short and long term effects on the women involved in the
can Council of Life Insurance and the [NAIC] to try to come up procedure. Since donors are given a large amount of hormone
with model legislation that will address this industry-wide prob- treatments, these women often suffer physical and mental side
Health Care

lem and meet the needs of the public and insurers.”33 There is a effects. The increased levels of hormones, as well as the fertil-
need for honest discussion, accurate data, and a spirit of coop- ity drugs, may also cause long term effects, such as decreased
eration on both sides of this issue to devise workable policy solu- fertility, ovarian hyper-stimulation, and increased risks of uterine,
tions. Even if national health insurance reform doesn’t provide a ovarian, and breast cancer. Women may disregard the effects the
comprehensive solution, the time is ripe for states and insurers procedure may have on their health due to the financial compen-
themselves to act for the health and prosperity of all. sation.7

The average price of an egg is about five thousand dollars, ing power in some cases, some women may refrain from disclos-
but the price ranges up to fifty thousand dollars.8 One of the ing imperative background information that may result in the
Defense & Diplomacy

best-known examples of the commercialization of egg dona- devaluing of their compensation.

tion is Ron Harris’s website, www.ronsangels.com, which offers The Ethics Committee of the American Society for Reproduc-
models as egg donors. They are auctioned online to “would-be tive Medicine argues that financial compensation for “the time,
parents willing to pay to one hundred and fifty thousand dollars inconvenience, and discomfort associated with oocyte retrieval
in hopes of having a beautiful child”.9 Clearly the women on the can and should be distinguished from payment for the oocytes
website have exceptional market access; that access is denied to themselves.”16 The committee further argues that once this dis-
others, raising issues of distributive economic justice. tinction is made, financial compensation of this matter can be
The ethical issues surrounding financial compensation for similarly viewed as compensation for “employment and other
oocyte donation are very controversial in the United States. In situations in which individuals are compensated for activities de-
Economic Development

France, bioethics laws prevent the sale of any organs or prod- manding stress, physical effort, and risk.”17 This argument would
ucts of the human body, including gametes. The United King- hold true if there was a standard financial compensation across
dom limits financial compensation for oocyte donation to fifteen the board that each donor was given upon completion of the
pounds and is only available in clinics that existed previous to procedure.
this mandate. The issue of financial compensation is currently Compensation solely for the inconvenience and danger to
unresolved in the United States and while the payment for organ the donor, rather than for oocytes would reduce the likelihood
donation is strictly prohibited, there is no current legislation on of ethical complications not only with disclosure by donors, but
the sale of gametes.10 In their guidelines, the American Fertil- also with recipient valuing the oocytes of one race or ethnicity
ity Society states that “donors should be compensated for the more than another. Currently, oocyte recipients provide a larger
direct and indirect expenses associated with their participation, financial compensation for certain character traits such as hair
their inconvenience and time, and to some degree, for the risk color, eye color, SAT scores, etc. Aside from the obvious ethi-
and discomfort undertaken.”11 Thus, in the United States, there cal implications of the ability increase or decrease the value of

is a large amount of ambiguity surrounding financial compensa- an oocyte based on the characteristics of the donor, distributive
tion for oocyte donation since there is no distinction between justice becomes an issue because financial compensation and
reasonable compensation and incentive for donation.12 In addi- continual increase in prices of oocytes may result in potential
tion, the qualities and characteristics of the donor are taken into recipients finding the process prohibitively expensive.
account as a reason for different pricing of oocytes.
The lack of regulation regarding financial compensation en- Solution
ables human embryos to be objectified as commodities. One Despite negative connotations, financial compensation for
Energy & Environment

argument is that human embryos are undeniably human and oocyte donation can be justified within certain realms of modi-
therefore should be treated as persons with full moral standing. fication. Given the time consumption and physical burden of
The eggs are “intimate connection to [our] personhood”13 and the donation process, it is highly unlikely that women would
therefore should not be commodified. However, others believe agree to free donation. Since financial compensation increases
that an egg is not life till after conception; and the egg itself the number of donors, it should not be completely eliminated.
should not have full moral standings. Therefore the egg needs In fact, one argument in favor of financial compensation is the
to be commodified in order to incentivize donors to donate. “feminist for money” argument citing the certain emergence of a
To date, because of the lack of regulation or standardiza- black market for oocytes if donation were to be banned, which
tion, physicians, researchers, and private institutions have been would cause so many more negative effects to the donor than
forced to formulate their own policies and ethical standards re- commodification itself. Given today’s increased demand for egg
garding egg donation. Instead of instating policies that estab- donation, there is no doubt that a black market would arise if it
lished an ethical standard for egg donation, the United States were banned altogether. Many women would be coerced into
Equal Justice

encourages women to undergo the process through other donating their oocytes by either a middleman, who is motivated
means, for example by offering tax deductions.14 According to by the possibility for a large profit, or by the recipient herself,
the Ethics Committee of the American Society for Reproductive who wants to be able to conceive her dream child. Thus, a wom-
Medicine, two ethical issues arise from financial compensation an’s autonomy or her right to donate her oocytes on her own
for oocyte donation: “[1] recruitment practices incorporating re- accord would scarcely be taken into consideration.18
muneration sufficiently protect the interests of oocyte donors, The American Society of Reproductive Medicine emphasizes
and [2] does financial compensation devalue human life by treat- that the establishment of donor’s rights is also crucial in justify-
ing oocytes as property or commodities?”15 Increasing attention ing financial compensation. If the compensation reflects the time
has been given to these two major ethical issues as the demand and physical/mental burdens of the donor, which it should, then
for oocyte donation has increased and financial compensation a donor would be more likely to withdraw from the process if
Health Care

becomes more routine part of the process. previous medical problems or other issues arise, because she
The most common type of financial compensation is paid to will still be compensated for her previously invested time. Given
women who undergo the process for the sole purpose of do- the nature of the process, even with proper informed consent,
nation. Since financial compensation ranges anywhere between the donor may feel uncomfortable with continuing with the pro-
five thousand and in some extreme cases a hundred or more cess. The donor should have the right to withdraw from the pro-
thousand, women may agree to undergo this procedure due to cess at any point and thus the recipients should be warned that
financial needs. Because monetary compensation is such a driv- there is a possibility the donor might withdraw.
The level of financial compensation for oocyte donation, how- states that, “the amount of compensation [for a clinical trial] is
ever, should be limited to a sufficient and reasonable amount to determined by the amount of time you will be required to dedi-

Defense & Diplomacy

eliminate hasty actions of the donor and cate to the trial, and to the level of dis-
thus increase informed consent. This com- comfort that might be associated with
pensation should be seen as renumerance
for the donor’s inconvenience, rather than T his will... allow access
more people, while diminishing
medical or surgical procedures related
directly to the study.”25 Under this sys-
commodification of her oocytes. In this tem, recipients would not be able to pay
manner, oocyte donation would be com- the likelihood of donor for eggs of a “higher caliber,” similar to
pensated in the way that clinical trials are dishonesty. the system used in the United Kingdom.
compensated. This will lower current prices faced by
At a minimum, an egg donation cycle couples seeking infertility treatment in

Economic Development
costs approximately twenty thousand dollars; however only ap- the United States and allow access to more people, while dimin-
proximately five thousand dollars is likely to go to the egg donor ishing the likelihood of donor dishonesty.
and the rest of the money goes to the clinic, as well as to paying
various other administrative fees.19 If there were stricter guide-
lines, more women would have market access rather than deny- Are Electronic Health Records a Deterrent to
ing others the same opportunity. Therefore, financial compensa- Patients Seeking Medical Care?
tion based on the number of oocytes, the quality of oocytes, and Lauren M. Anderson
characteristics of the donor (ethnicity, age, hair color, eye color,
etc.) should be forbidden, as it limits the diversity of women who
would have access to the market of oocyte donation and makes
this process both unfair to recipients who find the prices exorbi- Introduction
20 Americans believe that Electronic Health Records (EHRs)
tant, as well morally and ethically questionable.

One possible method for setting a standard financial com- have value, but they also have serious concerns about privacy.
pensation would be to equate it to the compensation received A poll by National Public Radio, the Kaiser Family Foundation
for sperm donation. For example, in 2000, sperm donors were and the Harvard School of Public Health reported that three-
compensated between $65 and $70 for a procedure that takes quarters of Americans polled said, “it was very important or
place over the course of an hour. Given these statistics and the somewhat important for doctors and hospitals to use electron-
knowledge that the entire process of oocyte donation requires ic records instead of paper. But nearly the same amount said
about fifty-six hours, the justified compensation for oocyte dona- they were not confident that their computerized records would
tion would range from $3,360- $4,200. While there is argument remain safe from prying eyes.”1 Similarly, an eHealth Initiative

Energy & Environment

about how a standard amount of compensation should be set, telephone survey reported that more than 80 percent voiced
the Ethics Committee of the American Society of Reproduc- strong and consistent support for EHRs and that they believed
tive Medicine agrees that there should be limitations. Once the an electronic exchange would enhance quality and efficiency of
financial compensation becomes excessive, which the commit- the healthcare system. This approval was articulated regardless
tee defines as exceeding ten thousand dollars, and then it can of political affiliation, age, education or socioeconomic status.2
no longer be viewed as compensation for the donor’s inconve- A Markle Foundation survey reported 56 percent of surveyed
22 population were very concerned and 18 percent somewhat con-
nience, but rather payment for her oocytes.
cerned about potential abuse by employers. However, Markle
Implementation respondents were also eager to reap the benefits of Internet
While there is extensive public policy enacted around clinical technology. Most of the medical community shares the public’s
trials that can be used to create a new foundation for reproduc- optimism about the potential benefits, but not their fear of secu-

Equal Justice
tive technology regulation. For instance, the FDA has consider- rity failures. The Forrester Research survey found that 52 percent
able guidelines for the correct implementation of a clinical trial were “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” that informa-
that can be serve as a starting point for more formal egg and tion might be used by an employer and limit their job opportuni-
sperm donation regulation. Fortunately, despite the minimal ties.3 While employment threats are frequently sited, this paper
federal regulation presented in the United States on egg and will attempt to tease out some other implications by looking spe-
sperm donation, it is still administered through the FDA. This cifically at the illegal immigrant and transgender communities in
means that the FDA could have the power to classify oocyte the United States and ways in which EHRs can be shaped to as-
donation in the same manner as it classifies organ donation, thus suage specific populations’ concerns and address public fears of
leading to standardization on the national level. safety more broadly. This paper will look at background informa-
The process for advertising for clinical trials should be closely tion regarding electronic health records, illegal immigrants and
Health Care

regulated and avoid the emotional pleas and bloated financial the transgender community. This will be followed by an analysis
promises made in the current egg donation ads. In fact, when concerned groups and individuals, and security measures. Lastly,
egg donation was being developed at the University of Califor- this paper will also address some policy recommendations to ad-
nia Los Angeles, in the 1970s, it was treated as a clinical trial. dress any legitimate concerns.
The human donors were compensated fifty dollars a day for their
time and expenses.24 Though the payment would undoubtedly Background: Electronic Health Records
be higher now, the same structure could be utilized. The FDA In 1968 Dr. Larry L. Weeds introduced his concept problem-
oriented medical records, which incorporated the symptoms, di- Illegal immigrants do take advantage of “safety net provid-
agnoses, treatment and progress notes pertaining to a patient’s ers” like the Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). FQHCs
Defense & Diplomacy

diagnosis.4 Although the idea may not be novel, it was depen- are a benefit under Medicare that became effective October 1,
dent upon the advancement of computers to make electronic 1991 and include; community health centers, public housing, pro-
records in every practice and hospital feasible. Electronic Health grams funded by the Indian Health Service, and programs serv-
Records (EHR) and Electronic Medical Records (EMR) have ing homeless and migrants.12
slightly different implications; Both EHR and EMR are electronic
records of patient health information generated by one or more Background: Transgender Community
encounters in care delivery setting. They can include informa- Reliable statistics on the prevalence of transsexualism do not
tion on patient demographics, progress notes, problems, medi- exist. The statistics that exist are based on the number of sex re-
cations, vital signs, past medical history, assignment surgeries, which is not reflec-
Economic Development

immunizations, laboratory and radiology tive, because not all transgender individu-
data.5 The difference between the two ost of the medical commu- als pursue this treatment. The American
is whether or not they are Health and Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and
Human Services (HHS)-certified. HHS- nity shares the public’s optimism Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
certified records are able to exchange about the potential benefits, but IV estimates that roughly 1 in 30,000 as-
information through interoperability; if not their fear of security signed males and 1 in 100,000 assigned
a record is interoperable other provid- failures females seek sex reassignment surgery in
ers could view it as well. An EHR can the United States.13 An estimate gener-
exchange information interoperably, and ated from the Amsterdam Gender Dys-
an EMR cannot. The industry is moving toward electronic health phoria Clinic, gives figures of 1 in18,000 assigned males and 1
records that have recognized standards for interoperability, in 54,000 assigned females seeking gender reassignment sur-
HHS-certification.6 geries13. Using these more conservative estimates applied to US

Former President George W. Bush and President Barack census data from 2006-2008 would imply that there are 6,475
Obama promised that every American would have the benefit of transgendered persons in the United States (1,528 per assigned
an EHR. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 female plus 4,947 per assigned male)14 are likely to have pursued
(ARRA) is historic health care legislation in that it provides fund- gender reassignment surgery.
ing, allocating $19 billion to promote health information technol- The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Health Access
ogy (HIT) and EHRs. The Office of the National Coordinator of Project (GLBT HAP) commissioned JSI Research and Training In-
Health Information Technology (ONCHIT) was also created by stitute, Inc. to conduct focus groups addressing the health care
Energy & Environment

ARRA to implement a strategic plan for EHR adoption. Starting needs and experiences of transgendered people. Their study
in 2011, $17 billion of that provision will be applied to financial in- reported that transgendered persons frequently encounter pro-
centives for doctors and hospitals to adopt and upgrade EHRs.7 viders who will not treat them and experience a lack of sensitiv-
The National Health Care survey reported in 2003 that EHRs ity such as the unwillingness to address transgender people by
were in use in 17% of physicians’ offices, and 29% of hospital out- their preferred pronoun. It is important to note that transgen-
patient departments.8 dered individuals have unique set of health care needs such as
issues related to hormone use, gynecological care, HIV preven-
Background: Illegal Immigrants tion counseling, or other concerns related to sexuality.15
The illegal immigrant population in the United States is es-
timated to be about 11.2 million people.9 According to a Pew Security Concerns and Security Measures
Hispanic Center report, in 2005, 57% of illegal immigrants were First this paper will look at the basis for security concerns in
from Mexico, 24% were from other Latin American countries (pri- these communities and more broadly, what preventive measures
Equal Justice

marily from Central America), 9% were from Asia, 6% were from exist and if their concerns are founded. Not only are individuals
Europe and Canada, and 4% were from the rest of the world.10 concerned, but also health organizations share their fear. “Con-
What little is known about access to health care by unauthor- cern that medical records will fall into the wrong hands is great-
ized immigrants suggests that access is poor. Immigrants are est among groups representing people with disabilities, HIV or
much less likely to use primary and preventive medical services, mental health problems, who already face stigmatization.” If con-
hospital services, emergency medical services, and dental care fidential information is accessed electronically their members
than are citizens, even after controlling for the effects of race/ could face greater discrimination. A poll of more than 200 orga-
ethnicity, income, insurance status, and health status. Researcher nizations worldwide, including almost 50 in England, by Health
Don Villarejo published a survey of California farm workers in and Social Campaigners News International (HSCNI) found that
2000 that found that only one-sixth were offered employer- despite enthusiasm about the electronic health records technol-
Health Care

sponsored health insurance, and one-third of those receiving ogy, 64% of the groups in England said they were worried that
offers of coverage could not afford the insurance offered. One- patients would suffer a loss of confidentiality and privacy.16 A
third of the females and half of the males had not seen a physi- survey by Pricewaterhouse-Coopers on Canadians’ views about
cian in the past two years. This is due to several factors including electronic medical records demonstrated a generational differ-
language barrier and the fact that immigrants are often unin- ence in concern. “Canadians aged 15 to 24 were most willing to
sured and out-of-pocket health care costs are higher than those have their personal health records stored centrally, while those
paid by the insured.11 65 and older were least willing.”17 Younger people already accus-

tomed to disclosing personal information online, such as bank- an individual and relates to the physical or mental health
ing and credit card information, are perhaps more inclined to condition of the individual, the provision of health care

Defense & Diplomacy

believe in the potential benefits. services to the individual, or the payment for health care
Illegal immigrants may not utilize health providers to the services…a covered entity generally may not use or dis-
extent of native-born citizens, but standardized electronic re- close PHI without the individual’s authorization, except
cords could present another barrier for them. “Because some for treatment, payment, or health care operations or as
public health care facilities inquire about immigration status, im- otherwise in compliance with HIPAA’s requirements.24
migrants believe that seeking treatment at such facilities could
lead to problems with immigration officials.”18 As a result, some States have the power to determine if they want to be an “opt
immigrants turn to black-market sources of health care, such as in” or an “opt out” state. If the state decides to become an “opt
unlicensed health care providers. They also purchase prescrip- in” state, patients in that state would have to designate that their

Economic Development
tion drugs that have been smuggled into the United States18. information could be incorporated into the electronic system. If
FQHCs, the safety net providers, are actively trying to adopt the state decides to become an “opt out” state, its patients would
EHRs. Under ARRA national coordination is supplemented by be incorporated unless the patient explicitly refuses. Although
regional extension centers that “aim to provide assistance and most patients may be unaware of their rights to “opt out,” health
education to all providers in a region but shall prioritize any di- information is still only passed on to another provider, such as a
rect assistance first…” to FQHCs and other specified safety net specialist, at the patient’s authorization or possibly in the case of
providers.19 emergency care, in some states. “Patients ultimately have control
There is no evidence to lead to the conclusion that improved over who sees their data.”25
health care for illegal immigrants would attract more immigrants Paper records have also presented similar problems for these
to the United States. Better quality of health care is already an communities in terms of fears of being deported and discrimi-
appeal to immigrants by the current standard American health- nated against, and in some ways are less secure than their elec-
care. Mexico has an estimated infant mortality rate of 18.42 in- tronic upgrade. When unauthorized people try to gain access

fants under one year old per 1,000 live births in 2009 compared to electronic health records, computers are programmed to ask
to a mortality rate of 6.26 in the United States.20 Should the ille- them to explain why they are seeking the information and warns
gal immigrant population rise, they have limited negative impact electronic intruders: “Be aware that your user ID and password
on the health care system and economy. A study by Dr. Sarita have been captured.” Thus a paper trail is created that shows
Mohanty, based on data from the late 1990s, found that, “per who tried to access a patient’s record is a legally punishable of-
capita, medical expenditures for immigrants were about 55 per- fense. And unlike paper records, which do not have viewing logs,
cent lower than those of US-born individuals. Expenditures for if there’s an unauthorized viewing of an electronic health record,
uninsured and publicly insured immigrants were also approxi- a patient will be informed. William Straw, 59, a Los Altos, Calif.,

Energy & Environment

mately half those of their US-born counterparts.”21 family physician, said about his EMR, “Nothing is 100% private,
Fear of discrimination and stigma kept many in the gay, les- [but] Electronic medical records are probably more secure than
bian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) community from seeking the paper record we used to have, which could be sitting around.
care for themselves or their families. Additionally, once in care, …With our [electronic] records we can trace who had access.”26
GLBT members withheld personal information that their health
care providers needed.22 Transgender individuals who disclosed Policy Recommendations
information to a trusted single provider, such as a primary care If illegal immigrants fear being deported and transgender
doctor, may be concerned that sensitive information will now be individuals fear more discrimination, these are concerns that ex-
accessible by all health care providers with whom the person tend beyond just loss of employment. The danger is that some
may interacts. “Providers frequently refer to trans issues in unre- patients are so fearful that they will make decisions that inhibit
lated health care situations such as setting a broken bone, filling them from getting appropriate medical care, thus endangering

Equal Justice
a cavity or treating a cold.”23 This is disrespectful and may fur- their health. “One in eight respondents in a survey last fall by the
ther deter GLBT persons from seeking care given the interoper- California HealthCare Foundation said they had tried to hide a
able nature of EHRs. medical problem by using tactics like skipping a prescribed test
or asking the doctor to ‘fudge a diagnosis.’”27
Security Measures Fear has been a barrier for illegal immigrants and educa-
Certified EHRs are compliant with the Health Insurance Por- tion can fix that. Some illegal immigrants are eligible for Med-
tability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996. HIPAA creates icaid benefits, but are too concerned about becoming a public
standards for the security and privacy of an individual’s health charge and thus ineligible for citizenship. “These fears remain
information. HIPAA regulates the activities of several “covered despite Department of Justice clarifications that have reiterated
entities”, which includes health care providers who rely on elec- that Medicaid and SCHIP coverage are not to be used in public
Health Care

tronic health care transactions. Information subject to HIPAA is charge determinations and outreach work by community groups
called protected health information (PHI). PHI includes; at the local level.”28 Even though there are limits to the effective-
ness of outreach and educational campaigns, there is evidence
individually identifiable health information” transmitted to suggest that it would be a valuable initiative. A report pre-
or maintained in any form or medium. This individually pared by Westat for the Agency for Healthcare Research and
identifiable information includes health and personal in- Quality (AHRQ), suggests that American consumers are in need
formation that either identifies or can be used to identify of education about health information technology. The report fo-

cuses on how patients do not realize the more active role they
will be able to play in their medical care, but this identified de-
Defense & Diplomacy

gree of ignorance suggests the average consumer is unaware

of the safety provisions in place for their medical care.29 Any
educational campaign should be geared toward the aging popu-
lation, who are more concerned about health technology and
stand to benefit the most from increasing health needs.
The incorporation of EHRs is not going to change or encour-
age already existing prejudices. This paper is not intended to
address provider sensitivity, but whether this health evolution
will affect individuals’ fears of discriminatory activities. This is a
Economic Development

concern that has been shared by the mental health community.

Several EHRs implementations, spurred on by community men-
tal health departments and advocacy groups, are considering a
two-tiered system with regards to information for mental health
patients. One tier would pertain to PHI information and another
tier of highly sensitive PHI would require “informed consent.”30
Essentially ensuring that there is an “opt in” criteria for more sen-
sitive information.
The transgender community is fairly small and the illegal im-
migrant community is larger, but does not utilize health care
providers as frequently as native-born citizens. Their concerns,
however, are analogous to other individuals, such as those with

sensitive sexual diagnosis information. Provisions such as two-

tiers for PHI criteria could help to assuage some of those fears,
but provisions are useless unless patients are informed of their
existence. The problems associated with paper records, as a bar-
rier and source of discrimination, will carry over into electronic
records, but the safety measures and provisions patients can uti-
lize can bring solutions to those concerns as well.
Energy & Environment

There is evidence that suggests that EHRs are ineffective and
could, in fact, increase health care costs. Advocates of electronic
health records, however, say they will result in the elimination of
redundant tests, prevent prescribing conflicting medication, and
better-prepare doctors who can get a more complete picture by
having their patients’ entire medical history in one place in front
of them on their computer.31 Studies of EHR adoption have also
found associations between adoption and increased efficiencies,
and less expensive health care.32
Although some day in the United States, as in other devel-
Equal Justice

oped countries, perhaps EHRs will be the standard, the United

States is currently in a state of transition. Joy L. Pritts, a health
policy analyst at Georgetown University, said the government
seemed to assume that it could “tack on privacy protections
later… [but][i]f you don’t have the trust of patients, they will with-
hold information and won’t take advantage of the new system.”33
To facilitate that future ONCHIT and state governments should
consider two-tier provisions and implement educational cam-
paigns. One thing that will ensure that EHRs are ineffective is if
patients don’t trust them.
Health Care

19 Apr 2010. <http://www.boeing.com/defense-space/military/b52-strat/index.
Endnotes 3. Richter, Paul. “Obama’s nuclear-free vision mired in debate.” Los Angeles
Times, 04 Jan 2010. Web. 19 Apr 2010. <http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jan/04/
Privatized Port Security: Leaving America Vulnerable 4. Sheridan, Mary Beth. “New nuclear arms policy shows limits U.S. faces.”
* For the purposes of this paper, I will refer to the entire Executive Branch Washington Post, 08 Apr 2010. Web. 7 Apr 2010. <http://www.washingtonpost.
of the Federal Government, including the agencies under the Department of com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/06/AR2010040601369.html>.
Homeland Security, for example, as the Bush Administration. 5. Browne, John C, Clark A Murdock, Francis Slakey, Benn Tannenbaum,
1.”9/11 Commission Report.” National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon Jessica Yeats, 2008, Nuclear Weapons in the 21st Century US National Security:
the United States, 2004, p391. Report by a Joint Working Group of AAAS, the American Physical Society, and
2. These numbers are based on the Kheel-Kormanoff Plan’s internal analysis the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Washington DC: AAAS
and are included with the Balanced Transportation Analyzer. Publication Services, pg 4-6.
3. Michael D. Greenberg, Peter Chalk, Henry H. Willis, Ivan Khilko, and 6. Grossman, Elaine. “New U.S. Global Strike Command to Juggle Nuclear,
David S. Ortiz. Maritime Terrorism: Risk and Liability. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Conventional Missions.” Nuclear Threat Initiative: Global Security Newswire,
Corporation, 2006, p29. April 27, 2009. Available at: http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/
4. Ibid. xix nw_20090427_2483.php
5. Stephen E. Flynn. America the Vulnerable : How Our Government Is Fail- 7. Wilcox, Christopher. “Lessons from Vietnam: Should B-52 Squadrons Per-
ing to Protect Us from Terrorism. 1st ed. New York: HarperCollins, 2004, p84. form Both Nuclear and Conventional Missions?” Air University. April 2009. Pg
6. John F. Frittelli, Martin R. Lee, Jonathan Medalia, Ronald O’Rourke, Ra- 3-21. Available at: https://www.afresearch.org/skins/rims/q_mod_be0e99f3-fc56-
phael Perl. Port and Maritime Security: Background and Issues. New York: Nova 4ccb-8dfe-670c0822a153/q_act_downloadpaper/q_obj_5ec09d73-8747-45ca-b267-
Biomedical, 2003 p2. 2f45547af700/display.aspx?rs=enginespage
7. Ibid. 6 8. Roberts, Kristin. “U.S. mistakenly sent nuclear missile fuses to Taiwan.”
8. Stephen E. Flynn. America the Vulnerable : How Our Government Is Fail- Reuters, 25 Mar 2008. Web. 19 Apr 2010. <http://www.reuters.com/article/
ing to Protect Us from Terrorism. 1st ed. New York: HarperCollins, 2004, p88. idUSN2538598920080325>.
9. Ibid. 82 9. Hoffman, Michael. “Commander disciplined for nuclear mistake.” USA
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11. Ibid. 90 military/2007-09-05-b-52_N.htm>.
12. Ibid. 92 10. Huntley, Wade. Threats all the way down: US strategic initiatives in a
13. C-Tpat Overview. Customs and Border Protection, December 13, 2007 unipolar world. Review of International Studies, 32, pp 49-67
[cited November 24 2008]. Available from http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/trade/ 11. Gerson, Michael. “Rethinking US Nuclear Posture.” Carnegie Endow-
cargo_security/ctpat/what_ctpat/ctpat_overview.xml. ment for International Peace, 29 Sep 2009. Web. 19 Apr 2010. <http://www.
14. Mike Nizza. Inquiry Finds Port Security Lacking New York Times, May 27 carnegieendowment.org/files/0929_transcript_nuclear_posture1.pdf>.
2008 [cited November 12 2008]. Available from http://thelede.blogs.nytimes. 12. Chilton, Kevin. “Statement of General Kevin P. Chilton Commander
com/2008/05/27/inquiry-finds-port-security-lacking/. United States Strategic Command Before the Strategic Forces Subcommittee
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gov/xprevprot/programs/gc_1165872287564.shtm. asp?id=123162337>.
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(Washington, Center for American Progress, 2008, 1). Crane, D., Cruickshank, S., Dietz, S., Edmonson, N., Garbett, S.-L., Hamid, L.,
4. Gordon, 8. Hoffman, G., Ingram, D., Jones, B., Patmore, N., Radcliffe, H., Sathiyarajah, R.,
5. “Teaching Standards Development,” The State Education Department/ Stock, M., Taylor, C., Vernon, T., Wanjie, H., & Zenghelis, D. (2006). Stern review:
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meetings/2010Meetings/February2010/0210hed3.htm 3. Pielke, R., Prins, G., Rayner, S., & Sarewitz, D. (2007). Lifting the Taboo on
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http://www.emsc.nysed.gov/part100/pages/1002.html#o 4. IPCC, 2007: Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulner-
7. ibid. ability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of
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Yearbook 2009: New York,” (Washington, National Council on Teacher Quality, J.P. Palutikof, P.J. van der Linden and C.E. Hanson, Eds. Cambridge University
2009, 74). Press, Cambridge, UK, 976 pp
9. General School Requirements 5. Tol, R. S. J. The double trade-off between adaptation and mitigation for
10. Simmons, Warren. “Urban Education Reform: Recalibrating the Federal sea level rise: an application of FUND. Mitig Adapt Strat Glob Change (2007)
Role.” Voices in Urban Education 24 (2009). 12:741–753
6. IPCC, 2007: Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulner- 4. Alfred Cumming, “Gang of Four Congressional Intelligence Notifications,”
ability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of Congressional Research Service (January 29, 2010): 3.
the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. M.L. Parry, O.F. Canziani, 5.Vicki Divoll, “Congress’s Torture Bubble,” New York Times, May 12, 2009,
J.P. Palutikof, P.J. van der Linden and C.E. Hanson, Eds. Cambridge University Opinion Section.
Press, Cambridge, UK, 976 pp 6. Alfred Cumming, “Gang of Four Congressional Intelligence Notifications,”
7. Ibid Congressional Research Service (January 29, 2010): 1.
8. Ibid 7. Ibid 6-7.
9. Ibid 8. Panetta press release: https://www.cia.gov/news-information/press-releas-
10. Dücker, P., Glindemann, H., Witt, H.-H., Thode, K. 2006. Concept for a es-statements/congress-and-the-cia-time-to-move-on.html
sustainable development of the Tidal Elbe River as an artery of the metropoli- 9. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nation/6579615.html
tan region Hamburg and beyond. http://www.tideelbe.de/pdf/Strategiepa- Christopher Pyle and Richard Pious, The President, Congress, and the Consti-
pier_Tideelbe_eng.pdf. tution: power and Legitimacy in American Politics (New York: The Free Press,
11. Ibid 1984): 384-85.
12. Lowe, A., Foster, J., Winkelman, S. Ask the Climate Question: Adapting 10. Marc Ambinder, “Did Hoekstra Compromise a Sensitive Intelligence
to Climate Change Impacts in Urban Regions. Center for Clean Air Policy. June Program,” The Atlantic (Nov 12, 2009) http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/
2009. http://www.ccap.org/index.php?db=pages&e-edit=1&id=166 archive/2009/11/did-hoekstra-compromise-a-sensitive-intelligence-pro-
13. Dücker, P., Glindemann, H., Witt, H.-H., Thode, K. 2006. Concept for a gram/30033/
sustainable development of the Tidal Elbe River as an artery of the metropoli- 11. Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, HR 2071, 111th
tan region Hamburg and beyond. http://www.tideelbe.de/pdf/Strategiepa- Congress. Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, SR 1494, 111th
pier_Tideelbe_eng.pdf. Congress.
14. Ibid 12. Walter Pincus, “White House threatens veto on intelligence activities
15. Ibid bill,” Washington Post, March 16, 2010.
16. Ibid 13. “Desperately Seeking Watchdog,” New York Times, April 5, 2010, Opinion
17. Ibid section.
18. Mote, P., Petersen A., Reeder, S., Shipman, H., and Whitely Binder, L. 14. Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, HR 2071, 111th Con-
2008. Sea Level Rise in the Coastal Waters of Washington State. Report gress, Section 321. Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, SR 1494,
prepared by the Climate Impacts Group, University of Washington, Seattle, 111th Congress, Section 332.
Washington, and the Washington Department of Ecology, Lacey, Washington. 15. Elizabeth B. Bazan, “The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act: An Over-
19. Salathé, E.P. 2006. Influences of a shift in North Pacific storm tracks on view of Selected Issues,” Congressional Research Service (July 7, 2008): 2-3.
western North American precipitation under global warming. Geophysical
Research Letters 33, L19820, doi:10.1029/2006GL026882, 2006. Mixed-Member Proportional Representation: Fixing the “People’s House”
20. King County Executive Office. 2007 King County Climate Plan. Febru- 1. The author would sincerely like to thank the following people, without
ary 2007. http://www.kingcounty.gov/exec/globalwarming.aspx whom this paper would have been impossible: Rob Richie and the rest of the
21. Ibid FairVote organization, for their dedication to ensuring fair representation for
22. Wolf, K. Adapting to Climate Change: Strategies from King County, all, and for taking me under their wing and teaching me about these issues;
Washington. American Planning Association. March 2009. Professor Raymond Smith, for his helpful and informative comments on recom-
23. Ibid mendations for improving this paper; and the Roosevelt Institute at Columbia,
24. Ibid for giving me the opportunity to grow as a person, a writer, and an informed
25. King County Executive Office. 2007 King County Climate Plan. February citizen over the past 4 years.
2007. http://www.kingcounty.gov/exec/globalwarming.aspx 2. Hill, Steven. Fixing Elections: The Failure of America’s Winner Take All
26. Wolf, K. Adapting to Climate Change: Strategies from King County, Politics. New York: Routledge, 2002, p. ix.
Washington. American Planning Association. March 2009. 3. There are many problems with our current executive election paradigm,
27. King County Executive Office. 2008 King County Climate Plan. January and many of these could be fixed by solutions outside of the scope of this
2009. http://www.kingcounty.gov/exec/globalwarming.aspx paper, such as Instant Runoff Voting (IRV). For discussion on these topics, see
28. King County Executive Office. 2007 King County Climate Plan. February Real Choices/New Voices, Ch. 10.
2007. http://www.kingcounty.gov/exec/globalwarming.aspx 4. Smith, Raymond. Importing Democracy: Ideas from Around the World
29. Ibid to Reform and Renew American Democracy. Praeger Publishers: Westport, CT,
2010, ch. 1, p. 1.
Big Data and Computer Server Energy Efficiency: the Need for a Rigorous, 5. For many districts, these lines are truly arbitrary - a few relatively
Scalable, and Universal Standard insignificant changes could easily flip a safe-Democrat district Republican, or
1. L. A. Barroso and U. Hlzle. The Case for Energy-Proportional Computing. vice-versa.
IEEE Computer, 40, 2007. 6. Amy, Douglas. Real Choices/New Voices: How Proportional Represen-
2. US Environmental Protection Agency, “Report to Congress on Server tation Elections Could Revitalize American Democracy. New York: Columbia
and Data Center Energy Efficiency: Public Law 109-431”; www.energystar.gov/ia/ University Press, 2002, p. 6.
partners/prod_development/downloads/EPA_Datacenter_Report_Congress_Fi- 7. Hill, Steven. Fixing Elections: The Failure of America’s Winner Take
nal1.pdf All Politics. New York: Routledge, 2002, p. 45. Moreover, this trend is getting
worse: there is today not a single Republican representative from New England,
Green Jobs through Vocational Education while many other states are ruby red.
1. Maddow transcript: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29394872/ 8. Ibid., p. 45.
2. http://www.cqpolitics.com/wmspage.cfm?docID=news-000003118085 9. Ibid., p. xii.
3. With “intelligence activities” defined in Senate Resolution 400 of the 94th 10. Ibid., p. 15.
Congress as “(1) the collection, analysis or use of information which relates to 11. Amy, Douglas. Real Choices/New Voices: How Proportional Represen-
any foreign country, or any government, political group, party, military force, tation Elections Could Revitalize American Democracy. New York: Columbia
movement, or other association in such foreign country, and which relates to University Press, 2002, p. 37.
the defense, foreign policy, national security, or related policies of the United 12. Ibid., p. 37.
States; (2) activities taken to counter similar activities directed against the 13. Ibid., p. 39.
United States, (3) covert or clandestine activities affecting the relations of the 14. These flaws, which are characteristic of WTA, are even more apparent
United States with any foreign government, political group, party, military force, in the Electoral College, where the WTA nature of the election in each state,
movement or other association; and (4) the collection, analysis or use of infor- combined with the decision that 100% of a state’s EV go to the winner of the
mation about activities of persons within the United States whose political and contest (the so-called “unit rule”), produces immense distortions in the outcome
related activities pose, or may be considered by any department, agency, bu- of presidential elections.
reau, office, division, instrumentality, or employee of the United States to pose, 15. The problem of gerrymandering is significant and unfair, though its
a threat to the internal security of the United States, and covert or clandestine actual effects are small when compared to the structural inevitability of WTA
activities directed against such persons.” leading to disenfranchisement and poor representation; therefore, solutions to
gerrymandering are not addressed here, though much literature exists on the
16. There are solutions, such as Cumulative Voting, which have been sug- 33. As long as the electoral threshold was set at or below 10%, the Inde-
gested by scholars like Lani Guinier, which have been implemented in some pendents would get a seat. If it was set higher, they would not get a seat – an
locales to increase the election of minority candidates. However, these solutions important factor to keep in mind when discussing electoral thresholds.
are imperfect – in part because they are versions of semiproportional represen- 34. Smith, Raymond. Importing Democracy: Ideas from Around the World
tation – and thus can be improved by implementing a fully proportional system. to Reform and Renew American Democracy. Praeger Publishers: Westport, CT,
Cf. Guinier, The Tyranny of the Majority, and Amy, Real Choices, p. 219-25. 2010, ch. 1, p. 8.
17. Amy, Douglas. Real Choices/New Voices: How Proportional Represen- 35. For a discussion on district magnitude, cf. Real Choices, New Voices,
tation Elections Could Revitalize American Democracy. New York: Columbia ch. 231-3.
University Press, 2002, p. 109, 126. 36. Figure 3
18. With Hispanics, it is important to note that their proportion of the elec-
torate is much smaller than their proportion of the total population, due to the
large number of non-citizen Hispanics and Hispanics who are here illegally.
19. Many attempts have been made to remedy this, most of which have
centered around so-called “racial gerrymandering”, where a district will be
redrawn so that a majority of the population in a given district belongs to a
given minority, in order to ensure the election of a candidate of that minority.
However, in addition to forcing the minority population to vote specifically on
the grounds of race to get a minority candidate elected, as well as disenfran-
chising those in that district that are not members of that minority, in locations
such as diverse cities (like New York City) it is impossible in many areas to draw
a district that is both large enough to obviate 14th Amendment challenges
(requiring approximately 650,000 people/district) and homogenous enough to
ensure the victory of a specific candidate.
20. Smith, Raymond. Importing Democracy: Ideas from Around the World
to Reform and Renew American Democracy. Praeger Publishers: Westport, CT,
2010, ch. 2, p. 8.
21. This helps to explain some of the awkward coalitions that are found in
US political parties: environmentalists and labor unions are both represented by
Democrats, and libertarians and social conservatives are both represented by
Republicans, even though their interests are diametrically opposed.
22. This is a well-studied dilemma, known in the literature as “sincere vs.
sophisticated voting.”
23. By “the least ideologically-preferred”, what is meant is that, on a
political spectrum, the voters who voted for Nader or Scozzafava were closer
ideologically to Gore or Hoffman, respectively, than to the eventual winners.
Also, while it turned out that Hoffman, the third-party candidate, received more
votes than Scozzafava, the Republican, it was the presence of both in the race
that caused Owens to be elected.
24. “Dubious Democracy 2008.” FairVote. Accessed at http://www.fairvote.
Adapted from Douglas Amy’s Real Choices, New Voices: How Proportional
Representation Could Revitalize American Democracy, p. 21.
25. Due to space constraints, I have limited the examination of fairness to
37. One potential way to correct these flaws on the district side of the
almost purely mathematical notions of representation; however, WTA causes
ballot would be to implement Instant-Runoff Voting on this side of the ballot.
or contributes to many more problems than these, including low-quality and
Doing so would eliminate the spoiler effect, wasted votes, and would give a
negative campaigns, legislative policy which is unrepresentative of the will
third-party candidate a chance of winning if he or she was the second-choice
of the electorate, unnecessary obstructionism, increased pork-barrel politics,
of a significant portion of the electorate. It could, however, overly complicate
geographic polarization, and the placement of narrow and provincial interests
an already somewhat complicated voting procedure. Cf. Real Choices, New
above those of the country at large. For a more in-depth discussion of these
Voices, p. 215-19.
issues, see Fixing Elections, ch. 12-15, and Real Choices, ch. 7-8.
38. Amy, Douglas. Real Choices/New Voices: How Proportional Represen-
26. Hill, Steven. Fixing Elections: The Failure of America’s Winner Take All
tation Elections Could Revitalize American Democracy. New York: Columbia
Politics. New York: Routledge, 2002, p. 43. (Italics original).
University Press, 2002, p. 20.
27. See Figure 1.
39. Ibid., p. 20.
28. Adams, John. “Thoughts on Government.” Accessed at http://www.
40. Due to some mathematical quirks, this can at time require additional
seats in the legislature, known as “overhang” seats. While the mathematical for-
29. Amy, Douglas. Real Choices/New Voices: How Proportional Represen-
mulae used to determine if, when, and how many overhang seats are created,
tation Elections Could Revitalize American Democracy. New York: Columbia
the function of such seats is to ensure that each party is given representation in
University Press, 2002, p. 169.
accordance with its vote share.
30. Ibid., p. 169-70.
41. Smith, Raymond. Importing Democracy: Ideas from Around the World
31. This electoral threshold is a critical number, as setting it too low can
to Reform and Renew American Democracy. Praeger Publishers: Westport, CT,
lead to instability, while setting it too high can block out minor parties. Many
2010, ch. 2, p. 6.
successful PR systems set a threshold of around 5%; Italy and Israel, as two
42. US Constitution, Article I, Section 3, Clause 1. Accessed at http://www.
examples of failed PR systems, set their thresholds extremely low, at around 1%.
32. Figure 2
43. Smith, Raymond. Importing Democracy: Ideas from Around the
World to Reform and Renew American Democracy. Praeger Publishers:
Winner Take All Proportional Representation Westport, CT, 2010, ch. 1, p. 7. Also, cf. Hill, p. 294.
44. Hill, Steven. Fixing Elections: The Failure of America’s Winner Take
10 seats in 10 Districts 10 Seats in 1 District All Politics. New York: Routledge, 2002, p. 294. This law was passed to
60% R, 30% D, 10% I 60% R, 30% D, 10% I eliminate at-large elections, which were an even worse form of “democracy
technology” commonly used in the South to prevent African-Americans
Legislative Composition: Legislative Composition: from winning elections.
r: 10 Seats r: 6 Seats 45. For states with one Representative, it is obvious why this is the case.
With two Representatives, even if one district with two members is created,
D. 0 Seats D. 3 Seats each member would need to win 50% of the vote – leading to the same
I: 0 Seats I: 1 Seats problems as WTA.
46. Hastings Letter. FairVote Program for Representative Government. Ac-
cessed at http://www.fairvote.org/?page=866. Abortion Clinic Buffer Zones for New York State
47. Smith, Raymond. Importing Democracy: Ideas from Around the World 1. “Violence and Disruption Statistics,” National Abortion Federation, http://
to Reform and Renew American Democracy. Praeger Publishers: Westport, CT, www.prochoice.org/pubs_research/publications/downloads/about_abortion/
2010, ch. 1, p.9. violence_stats.pdf.
48. Amy, Douglas. Real Choices/New Voices: How Proportional Represen- 2. David L. Hudson, “Abortion Protests and Buffer Zones,” First Amend-
tation Elections Could Revitalize American Democracy. New York: Columbia ment Center, http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/assembly/topic.
University Press, 2002, p. 267. This form, known as the single transferable vote aspx?topic=buffer_zones
(STV, also known as Instant Runoff Voting), allows voters to rank their choices 3. Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network of Western New York 519 U.S. 357, 117
on a ballot, preventing spoiler candidates, severely limiting wasted votes, and S.Ct. 855 (1997).
making third-party candidates viable alternatives. 4. David L. Hudson, “Abortion Protests and Buffer Zones,” First Amend-
49. Ibid., p. 269. ment Center, http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/assembly/topic.
50. Ibid., p. 272. aspx?topic=buffer_zones
51. Ibid., p. 273. 5. Rachel Entman, “Picket Fences: Analyzing the Court’s Treatment of Re-
strictions on Polling, Abortion, and Labor Picketers,” Georgetown Law Review
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Culture without Bias, Diplomacy without Propaganda 6. “State Policies in Brief,” Guttmacher Institute (January 1, 2010), http://www.
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