Fw: NCPA Policy Digest

ICAN! America (icanamerica@email.msn.com)
Mon, 27 Dec 1999 21:43:36 -0500


National Center For Policy Analysis
DAILY POLICY DIGEST

IN TODAY'S DIGEST

   o   ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS ASCRIBE ILLS TO GLOBAL WARMING,
       although the evidence is contradictory....USA TODAY

   o   JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM DOESN'T REHABILITATE, TREATS
       OFFENDERS LIKE ADULTS, according to a new study....USA
       TODAY

   o   SERIAL BATTERERS COMMIT MUCH DOMESTIC ABUSE according
       to new Massachusetts study....USA TODAY

   o   WE SPEND MORE ON HEALTH CARE because it is more
       productive, says one analyst....ATLANTIC MONTHLY

   o   STATES WITH "NO FAULT" AUTO INSURANCE HAVE HIGHER DEATH
       RATES than they would under tort liability, say
       researchers....SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH NETWORK

   o   ADULTS AND STUDENTS FAILED AN ECONOMICS SURVEY, and only
       13 states require a course in economics....NATIONAL
       COUNCIL ON ECONOMIC EDUCATION

IN TODAY'S NEWS

GLOBAL WARMING COOKED BOOKS

Seven environmental groups have released a worldwide map packed
with more than 100 anecdotes and reports of scientific studies
that purport to prove catastrophic global warming.  But they have
cooked the books, says Detroit News reporter David Mastio, by
ignoring evidence that doesn't fit.

Today's United Nations estimates of global warming are about half
the warming over twice the time -- an average of 4 degrees over
the next century -- as estimates made in the 1980s.  But despite
more careful estimates, some environmental groups insist on
confounding other factors with global warming.

For example, in the map compiled by the National Resources
Defense Council and other groups:

   o   A study is cited that found 31 percent of 65 bird species
       in England in 1995 laid their eggs an average of 8.8 days
       earlier than in 1971 -- though the average change for all
       65 species was an insignificant 2 days.

   o   In the West Antarctic, they report that "Nearly 1,150
       square miles of...ice shelves collapsed between March 1998
       and March 1999," although a recent study in Science found
       the sheet has retreated several hundred feet a year for
       more than 7,000 years.

   o   A U.N. report suggests global warming may cause tropical
       diseases to spread to temperate climes, but such
       "tropical" diseases as Dengue fever, yellow fever and
       malaria were common until recently in the U.S. and Europe
       -- with the Netherlands, for instance, only declared
       malaria-free by the World Health Organization in the
       1970s.

They also say global warming may make the weather more
unpredictable and extreme, but the period between 1991 and 1994
was the "quietest" on record for hurricane activity.

Source: David Mastio (Detroit News), "Global Warming Propaganda
Trumps Science," USA Today, December 16, 1999.

For USA Today text http://www.usatoday.com/news/comment/ncguest.htm

For NCPA's Global Warming Hotline go to
http://www.ncpa.org/hotlines/global/gwhot.html

MANY YOUNG CRIMINALS TREATED AS ADULTS

A century after the first juvenile court system was established,
one in ten juveniles incarcerated are in the adults system, and
juvenile institutions make little effort at rehabilitation,
according to a new study.

The study, by the Coalition for Juvenile Justice, is mandated by
federal law and examines the juvenile justice system in the U.S.
The coalition represents state and local governments and other
juvenile justice experts.  The study found:

   o   Ten percent of the 85,000 juveniles who are incarcerated
       on a given day are in adult facilities.

   o   Of juveniles who are in detention facilities, 33 percent
       are there for violent offenses such as murder, rape,
       assault and robbery.

   o   Some 75 percent are in overcrowded facilities.

According to the report's authors, John Hubner and Jill Wolfson:

   o   The juvenile system got more punitive in response to the
       increase in violent juvenile crime in the late '80s and
       early '90s.

   o   However, since 1993, arrests for violent juvenile crimes
       have been declining, but get-tough statutes are still
       being passed at the state level.

   o   Juvenile correction facilities do not offer the necessary
       mental health, educational and rehabilitative programs and
       services.

The  report recommends Congress set minimum guidelines for
facilities and juvenile programs, and suggests local governments
support legislation to alleviate overcrowding by funding
alternatives to incarceration.

Source: Gary Fields, "Justice for Youths Found 'Lopsided,'" USA
Today, December 16, 1999.

For more on Juvenile Crime
http://www.ncpa.org/hotlines/juvcrm/hotline.html

DOMESTIC ASSAILANTS HAD MULTIPLE VICTIMS

A new analysis of domestic violence cases reports nearly 25
percent of those studied had assaulted more than one victim.  Of
those with multiple victims, 91 percent had previous adult or
juvenile crime records.  The Massachusetts Probation Commissioner
study looked at citizens who had temporary restraining orders
against them in domestic cases between 1992 and 1998.

The report, the first of its kind, defined serial batterers as
those who were named in at least two court-ordered restraining
orders involving at least two unrelated victims.

   o   About 11,000 assailants each year could be counted as
       serial batterers.

   o   They attacked up to 26,000 victims yearly.

   o   A large percentage of the victims were wives or other
       women involved in ongoing or past dating relationships.

   o   About 13 percent of the serial batterers were female, and
       the sex of their victims was not specified.

While the study only covers one state, it reflects a trend
discovered in other research into women as victims of violence.
In 1996, the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that women were
attacked six times more often by those with whom they'd had
intimate relationships than by strangers.  Nearly one-third of
all female homicide victims were killed by their husbands,
boyfriends or former boyfriends.  Only three percent of male
homicide victims were killed by their wives or girlfriends.

Source: Kevin Johnson, "Study Says Assailants Had Multiple
Victims," USA Today, December 16, 1999.

For more on Crime http://www.ncpa.org/pi/crime/crime22.html

IN OTHER NEWS

MORE HEALTH CARE IS BETTER

Within the next 25 years or so, according to recent estimates,
health care could account for as much as 25 percent of spending
in the United States.  Spending trends in almost all other
developed countries are headed in the same direction, although
with a time lag.  Author Charles R. Morris asks, what is so bad
about that?

Morris argues that health care is becoming a high-productivity,
high-technology industry where each dollar buys more.  Thus,
although health spending is increasing, most health care costs
are going down.  And as the personal computer industry shows,
falling costs and improved performance usually induces more
spending, not less.  For example,

   o   Cataract surgery used to be a dangerous operation,
       requiring up to a week's hospitalization for marginal
       improvement in vision -- now it's an hour-long outpatient
       procedure that usually restores near-normal sight and the
       long-term, per-unit cost of treatment is falling about one
       percent a year.

   o   The cost of treating heart attack patients actually fell
       by about one percent a year from 1983 to 1994, after
       adjusting for improved mortality, according to a study by
       David Cutler of Harvard University.

   o   The cost of treating depression fell at an annual rate of
       more than 5 percent before inflation during the early
       1990s, due to the use of antidepressants.

   o   Prices of artificial joint implants have fallen about 25
       percent over the past five years, according to Ned Lipes
       of the Howmedica Osteonics, a major manufacturer, and
       hospital stays for implants have been cut in half.

   o   Through the use of laparascopic surgery, fees for gall
       bladder surgery are about half what they used to be, and
       inpatient hospital stays have been virtually eliminated.

The share of national income devoted to food and health care
combined hasn't changed in 50 years, says Columbia University
economist Sherry Glied.  We just spend a lot less on food, and a
lot more on health care.

Source: Charles R. Morris, "The Health-Care Economy Is Nothing to
Fear," Atlantic Monthly, December 1999.

For more on Health issues
http://www.ncpa.org/pi/health/hedex1.html

"NO FAULT" INSURANCE ASSOCIATED WITH HIGHER FATALITY RATES

"No fault" insurance, in which the injured party collects damages
from his insurer, is frequently proposed to reform the tort
liability system for accident claims, and a national no-fault
automobile insurance program has been considered by Congress.

The concept has been adopted by several jurisdictions in the
U.S., and by Canada, Australia and New Zealand, as a mechanism
for controlling costs and improving the efficiency and timeliness
of accident compensation.

As a mechanism for compensating the victims of automobile
accidents, no-fault has several important advantages over the
tort system, say researchers.  However, by restricting access to
tort, no-fault may weaken incentives for careful driving, leading
to higher accident rates.

   o   Studies of the pure no-fault systems adopted in Canada,
       Australia, and New Zealand have found a positive
       association with automobile accident fatality rate.

   o   A recent empirical analysis of fatality rates in the U.S.
       found deaths for the period 1982 to 1994 in no-fault
       states were 5.5 percent to 9.9 percent higher under no
       fault than they would be under tort.

   o   Some 15 U.S. states now have some form of no fault law,
       with thresholds that make an average of 70 percent of
       claims ineligible for liability suits,; 12 additional
       jurisdictions have so-called add-on laws, which provide
       first-party medical expense coverage but don't restrict
       torts.

While pure no-fault systems substantially eliminate tort
liability for automobile accidents, the partial no-fault laws
adopted in the U.S. retain the right to sue for death and serious
injuries and thus are likely to have a weaker effect on
deterrence.

Source:  J. David Cummins (University of Pennsylvania), Mary A.
Weiss (Temple University) and Richard D. Phillips (Georgia State
University), "The Incentive Effects of No-Fault Automobile
Insurance," Social Science Research Network (SSRN) Electronic
Library, November 29, 1999.

For study text
http://papers.ssrn.com/paper.taf?abstract_id=175389

For more on Auto Insurance
http://www.ncpa.org/pd/law/tcr/index5b.html

ECONOMIC ILLITERACY

Half of all American adults and two-out-of-three high school
students received a failing grade for their knowledge of basic
economic concepts on a survey by the nonprofit National Council
on Economic Education.

The "Standards in Economics Survey," conducted by Louis Harris &
Associates, Inc., interviewed a national cross-section of 1,010
adults aged 18 and over and a representative sample of 1,085
students in grades 9 through 12.

The questions pertained to basic economic concepts regarding
production, money, interest rates and inflation, government and
trade.

   o   On average, American adults get a grade of 57 percent for
       their knowledge of basic economic concepts, while high
       school students scored 58 percent.

   o   Only six percent of adults received a grade of A, and ten
       percent received a grade of B.

   o   Only three percent of students received a letter grade of
       A, and seven percent received a letter grade of B.

Adults who have completed college score dramatically higher than
those who have not, with the majority receiving a grade of C or
better.  Working adults scored higher than non-working adults;
males scored higher than females; and whites scored higher than
blacks or Hispanics.

Twelfth graders -- who are more likely to have been taught
economics in school -- scored higher than students in the lower
grades and as well as adults.  Students who usually receive A's
scored higher than those who do not; students who have been
taught economics in school score higher than those who have not;
and students who have at least one college-educated parent score
higher than those who do not.

Although 39 states have written guidelines for economics
education in kindergarten through 12th grade, only 13 states
require students to take a course in economics before graduation,
says the council (see figure
http://www.ncpa.org/pd/gif/pd121699a.gif ).

Source: "The Standards in Economics Survey," April 1999, National
Council on Economic Education, 1140 Avenue of the Americas, New
York, N.Y. 10036,  (202) 861-5838.

To Take the Test (requires Javascript capable browser)
http://www.nationalcouncil.org/poll/econsurvey.html

For survey results
http://www.nationalcouncil.org/poll/results.html

For more on Social Sciences Curriculum &Standards
http://www.ncpa.org/pi/edu/edu5.html#c

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                  NATIONAL CENTER FOR POLICY ANALYSIS
                            DALLAS, TEXAS

                    "Making Ideas Change the World"

                           Internet Address:
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