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November 3, 2010

On November 3rd, Steven Malanga visited the Young Leaders Circle to discuss the influence of public-sector unions and community activists in cities and states across the country.

How did American government get so big and so expensive? Malanga gives the answer in his new book, Shakedown: The Continuing Conspiracy Against the American Taxpayer (Rowman and Littlefield, 2010), a chilling history of the expansion of the public sector. A self-interested coalition of public employees’ unions and government-financed community activists has bankrupted state and local governments. Through increased government spending and backroom entitlement deals with politicians, this new political powerhouse is filling its coffers at the expense of taxpayers. The bill for this conspiracy against the American taxpayer is now coming due.

Malanga is City Journal’s senior editor, a Manhattan Institute senior fellow, who writes about the intersection of urban economies, business communities, and public policy.

Suggested reading:
In addition to Steve's presentation, we watch this short film about his new book:

October 6, 2010

On Wednesday, October 6th, Doug Schoen, noted pollster and coauthor of the new data-rich book, Mad as Hell: How the Tea Party Movement is Fundamentally Remaking our Two-Party System (Harper 2010) visited the Young Leaders Circle for a pre-election discussion.

He discussed why Tea Party candidates are winning primaries and threatening establishment candidates all over the country. They don't seem to be the strongest candidates, so why are they winning? In their new book, Mad as Hell, Schoen and his coauthor Scott Rasmussen show that the ideas they are running on have broad support. It turns out that honest platforms calling for smaller government, a lower tax burden, and individual responsibility really are what the electorate wants, and the Tea Party is making the establishment on both sides of the political aisle wake up.

Doug Schoen, who founded the landmark political polling firm Penn and Schoen, appears regularly on national news programs to analyze how ideas and policy trends are shaping the political landscape. Schoen graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School and attended Horace Mann High School in New York City. He has worked on the campaigns of many Democratic Party candidates including Ed Koch, Bill Clinton, and Hillary Clinton, as well as on behalf of corporate clients.

Suggested reading:
Three-part series by Doug Schoen and Scott Rasmussen in the Washington Examiner September 14-16, 2010:
One nation under revolt
Evolution of the Tea Party movement
It's not too late for the GOP or Democrats

September 15, 2010

"Our Generation's Fight against Radical Islam: Wars, Words, and Ideas," was the topic of Capt Pete Hegseth’s remarks on Wednesday, September 15th. Pete Hegseth is the executive director of Vets for Freedom and a captain in the Army National Guard.

Captain Hegseth spoke about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, specifically addressing the policy of declaring a timeline for withdrawal in Afghanistan and the recent conclusion to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Likewise, he addressed the current President's unwillingness to use the word "win" in either theatre, and reluctance to call the enemy by its true name. Finally, he outlined what America must be willing to do to handle the ideological threat posed by adherents of radical Islam, like Al Qaeda.

After graduating from Princeton, Captain Hegseth was commissioned into the U.S. Army in 2003. A year later he served in Guantanamo Bay on a security mission with his National Guard unit and subsequently volunteered to join the 3rd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division for the deployment to Iraq from 2005-2006. Capt. Hegseth served as an infantry Platoon Leader in Baghdad and Samarra, and has been awarded the Expert Infantryman’s Badge, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge and Bronze Star for his service. He is currently slated to deploy to Afghanistan in the first half of 2011.

Suggested reading:
What Was Missing from the President’s Speech, by Pete Hegseth, NRO, 09-01-10
The Death of al-Qaeda’s Number Three, by Pete Hegseth, NRO, 06-01-10
National Security, an Afterthought, by Pete Hegseth, NRO, 01-28-10

July 7, 2010

On Wednesday, July 7th, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office and president of the newly founded American Action Forum, visited the Young Leaders Circle. He discussed the new health-care legislation’s budgetary implications and the likely spillover effects on overall economic growth, health-care spending, and quality of care.

After earning his Ph.D. in economics at Princeton University, Mr. Holtz-Eakin taught at both Princeton and Columbia Universities. He served as a senior staff economist on President George H.W. Bush's Council of Economic Advisers and as a faculty research fellow and research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Mr. Holtz-Eakin was tenured faculty at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, where he was chair of the Department of Economics. He served as chief economist for the Council of Economic Advisers to President George W. Bush.

During Mr. Holtz-Eakin's tenure at the CBO, the organization assessed the 2003 tax cuts, the Medicare prescription-drug bill, and Social Security reform. As a scholar of applied economic policy, he has held positions at free-market think tanks, including the Manhattan Institute. From 2007 to 2008, he served as director of domestic and economic policy for John McCain's presidential campaign.

Suggested Reading:
Labor Markets and Health Care Reform: New Results, by Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Cameron Smith, American Action Forum report, May 2010
ObamaCare Strikes Out With Workers, by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Politico, June 8, 2010
Will Spending Under ObamaCare Trigger The Next Financial Crisis? by Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Paul Howard, Investors Business Daily, April 6, 2010

June 2, 2010

Now that Democrats have passed their health-care "reform" bill and are quickly pushing through finance "fixes," they are turning their focus on energy policy. Passing a comprehensive energy plan that reduces carbon emissions and invests even more money in renewable sources of energy has been a long-held dream of most Democrats, finally kicked off when Senators Kerry and Lieberman recently introduced their plan.

Wednesday, June 2nd, Robert Bryce, a new Manhattan Institute senior fellow and author of the new book Power Hungry: The Myths of "Green" Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future visited the YLC. He discussed the high cost of renewables and why the oil spill in the Gulf should not be used as an excuse to stop offshore drilling. Mr. Bryce also explained why the costs associated with the carbon-reduction strategies in the Kerry/Lieberman bill will not justify the outcome.

Mr. Bryce has been writing on energy business for twenty years, and since 2005 he has served as the managing editor of Energy Tribune, an online publication that focuses on the global energy sector. In 2008, he published Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of "Energy Independence" to wide acclaim, earning kudos from the New York Times, which called Bryce "something of a visionary and perhaps even a revolutionary." He joined the Manhattan Institute as a senior fellow in its Center for Energy Policy and the Environment in April 2010.

Suggested Reading:
The Real Problem With Renewables,, 05-11-10
Seven Thoughts on The Deepwater Horizon Disaster, Energy Tribune, 05-03-10
Five Myths About Green Energy, Washington Post, 04-25-10
Cleaning Up Oil's Reputation, Wall Street Journal, 04-23-10

May 5, 2010

On Wednesday, May 5th, Nicole Gelinas visited the Young Leaders Circle to make her argument for how the Dodd bill for financial reform will not fix government's two decades' worth of mistakes in regulating the financial industry, but instead will double down on those mistakes. In a lively discussion with the members, she shared her thoughts on what Washington should do instead to create a free market in finance and cut distortions in the rest of the economy.

Nicole is the Searle Freedom Trust Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal. She is a Chartered Financial Analyst charterholder and a member of the New York Society of Securities Analysts. She is the author of the best-selling book After the Fall: Saving Capitalism from Wall Street—and Washington, which has influenced much of the current thinking about the government’s role in “too big to fail” policies.

April 7, 2010

On Wednesday, April 7th, Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute's Center for Civic Innovation Fred Siegel visited the Young Leaders Circle to dissect the severe fiscal and political crises that have plagued New York State in recent years. Unsustainable government spending—with public sector union strangleholds and corrupt elected officials sharing much of the blame—has devastated the budget, swelled tax rates and unemployment, and forced the mass migration of residents elsewhere. He argued that only pressure from the financial markets and a major overhaul of the legislative bodies could improve this grim picture.

Mr. Siegel was one of the major intellectual forces in the revitalization of American cities in the 1990s. As a senior adviser to Rudolph Giuliani's 1993 mayoral campaign, he wrote one of Mr. Giuliani's path-breaking speeches on quality of life. He was also one of the original editors of the Manhattan Institute's City Journal.

Suggested Reading:
Rotten, City Journal, Spring 2010
Albany's Crime Spree, The Weekly Standard, March 22, 2010
The New Tammany Hall, The Weekly Standard , October 12, 2009
France on the Hudson, The Weekly Standard, November 16, 2009

March 10, 2010

On Wednesday, March 10th, Manhattan Institute senior fellow and director of the Center for Legal Policy Jim Copland presented the shocking findings of his latest research into how today's massive trial lawyer lobby buys political influence, blocks tort reform, and costs Americans billions.

Mr. Copland's recently released Trial Lawyers Inc: K Street—A Report on the Litigation Lobby, 2010, has garnered praise from the likes of Senator Jeff Sessions, Representative Lamar Smith, and former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese, but another group on the Hill is less than pleased with having the whistle blown on their unyielding support of the lawsuit industry. Included in this group is Senator Arlen Specter, who wrote a fiery Letter to the Editor in response to Copland's Wall Street Journal op-ed on the report.

February 3, 2010

On Wednesday, February 3rd, grassroots strategist and president of Americans for Tax Reform Grover Norquist joined the Young Leaders Circle to discuss the current trend in how Americans want their government to work for them. As presented in his recent book, Leave Us Alone: Getting the Government's Hands Off Our Money, Our Guns, Our Lives, Norquist argued that a burgeoning coalition of the American electorate who want simply to “control their own destinies,” free of government intervention and interference, has the potential to be the defining movement of the next 50 years. As a gift from Mr. Norquist, all members who attended received a complimentary copy of his book.

Mr. Norquist serves on the Board of Directors of both the American Conservative Union and the National Rifle Association, and is a contributing editor to The American Spectator. He holds a Masters of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics, both from Harvard University.



January 6, 2010

Kicking off the 2010 program series, on Wednesday, January 6th, the Young Leaders Circle had the honor of welcoming former Manhattan Institute senior fellow and current W. H. Brady Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, Charles Murray.

One of the country's leading social policy scholars and author of 1984's landmark Losing Ground: American Social Policy 1950-1980, Mr. Murray discussed the United States' apparent slide towards European-style social democracy and its potential for disastrous civic consequences. He argued that only with a momentous revival of American exceptionalism can our current leaders' pushes for growth-stifling social democracy be countered. A political scientist, author, and libertarian, Murray earned a B.A. from Harvard and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

His talk at YLC was a version of his AEI Irving Kristol speech, the text of which is available here.







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