Text of articles from Fall '96 IQ
Nothing succeeds, we say, like success.
The Washington Institute for Policy Studies has seen spectacular growth and success over the past decade. As a result, two affiliated organizations have been formed under one roof.
Welcome to the new Washington Institute Foundation (WIF), which will take its place alongside the better-than-new Washington Institute for Policy Studies (WIPS).
WIF has been created to do public-policy research and education. It will conduct studies, publish reports and engage in other nonpartisan activity. The Foundation is classified as a non-profit, tax-exempt 501c(3) organization by the Internal Revenue Service.
Emilio Cantu, former state senator from Bellevue, is Chairman of WIF's Board of Directors. Richard Derham, former managing partner of the Seattle law firm Davis Wright Tremaine, has been named President of the Foundation.
"During my years in the state Legislature, I came to depend upon the Washington Institute for Policy Studies to provide reliable and timely information," said Cantu. "I look forward to working with the Washington Institute Foundation to continue that tradition of excellence."
In recent years, we've heard increasing requests from opinion leaders for more direct efforts to actually change public policy. But as a 501c(3) organization, the Institute was limited in its ability to respond. Consequently, WIPS has asked the Internal Revenue Service to revoke its tax-exempt status so that it can become a taxable non-profit organization.
Under our new status, WIPS will promote conservative and free-market ideas by engaging in political advocacy such as grass-roots lobbying, endorsing legislation and/or candidates, supporting initiative campaigns and evaluating judges. We also will continue to publish CounterPoint and pursue other media related activities.
John Carlson, who founded the Institute in 1985 as one of the first state-based public-policy think tanks in the country, will remain as Chairman. Bill Baldwin, who has been President of the Institute since 1994 (when he agreed to "one year" of service!) will continue in that position on a part-time basis and remain on the Board of Directors, but also return to work in the private sector.
"We're very excited that the Washington Institute for Policy Studies will now be able to play a more active role in this state's political arena," said Carlson. "And the Washington Institute Foundation will undoubtedly do first-rate research work."
WIF will assume WIPS's former role of providing studies and reports that offer background and support for constructive public-policy debate. WIPS will no longer produce studies and reports, but will publish various advocacy documents including op-ed pieces, policy briefs, and "Citizen's Views" from members of the community.
The Institute and the Foundation will be co-located in our current premises, with certain functions, staff and equipment shared.
After more than a decade of helping change the public-policy debate in Washington State, the creation of an affiliated organization is a natural transition for the Washington Institute for Policy Studies. Again, welcome to the Washington Institute Foundation, its new staff and Board of Directors.
A Special Note: Supporters of WIPS will automatically be associated with and receive material from WIF through 1997.
A Note from the Webmaster: In the next few weeks the Washington Institute Foundation will be establishing its own presence on the Web. Watch the Washington Institute for Policy Studies' home page in the next few weeks for more details. Top of Page
Here's a partial rundown of our activities over the past few months.
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After the Legislature's 1997 session comes to an end, the Washington Institute for Policy Studies will present our "Legislative Leadership Awards."
The awards will go to four legislators-a Republican and a Democrat from both the House and the Senate-who best represent the Institute's guiding principles of limited government, free markets, private solutions to public problems and individual freedom.
The winners will be selected by the Institute's staff and Board of Directors.
We invite nominations from our supporters and the public. Please complete the form below and submit it back to us within 7 days after the Legislature adjourns.
There is a saying in the legal profession that states "a right without remedy is an illusion."
Well, in today's world an education organization without modern technologies to disperse its information is an illusion as well.
I am happy to announce that the Washington Institute for Policy Studies has entered the real world and now has a hardware and software system that allows our members and others to communicate with our fine organization.
Our new Web Site and e-mail capabilities have been made possible through contributions from PEMCO and Microsoft. Our membership contributes to our general operating fund, which allows us to employ outstanding individuals such as Jenny Doman of Intermark Communications, the consultant who designed our Web Site, and Dennis Lisk, our project coordinator who maintains the site in-house.
We have had many positive remarks from those who have already accessed our Web Site.
A special thank you to all of you who have made this possible.
Why are we so excited about our technological capabilities?
Because our research and the ideas that develop from it are worthless if they don't get into the hands of our citizens.
Education is a matter of information and we know that our citizens and legislators need both sides of an issue to be able to make an intelligent decision. The mainstream media has proven to be to bias and incompetent in providing private sector solutions to public problems, so it falls on institutions like ours to fill the void.
Our newly developed city and university Student Network Groups will now have immediate access on public policy issues being addressed by the Institute.
You see, our information helps all people, especially the little guy, the entrepreneur, the small business person, the job creator and their families!
Taking a passage from Jay Winik's new book On the Brink, the Internet and World Wide Web allows information to be released like a caged bird. It allows it to take flight, soaring into the heavens unfettered by man's intrusion, its course determined exclusively by nature, its own will and its own heart.
These types of technologies will allow individual solutions to our problems to prevail over today's government run solutions.
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Why would a college student want to join a free-market think tank like the Washington Institute? Aren't we all a bunch of card-carrying liberals?
Well, no, we're not. Many students are conservatives, and the Washington Institute has a lot to offer us. We need intellectual ammunition to counter the one-sided arguments we often hear on college campuses - not only from other students but from professors and administrators as well.
That's why the Student WINGs were created. I'm proud to be part of this effort.
The Institute gives us access to solid information on topics such as government privatization, regulatory reform, property rights and educational innovation. The Institute gives us the opportunity to hear prominent speakers and to attend fascinating events. We can also make good contacts in the business and political worlds by meeting with Institute members. Thus, the Institute can help shape the minds of the leaders of tomorrow.
In return, the Institute gains by hearing our ideas about important policy issues that affect our lives. If the main purpose of a think tank is to encourage debate and provide a forum for new ideas, then students can play a key role. And we can help influence other students on campus, many of whom take liberal knee-jerk positions or criticize conservatives without knowing what they're talking about.
Currently we have SWING leaders at four of the state's six public universities: Amit Ranade at the University of Washington, Alena Wixon at Washington State University, Derek Lester at Central Washington University, and Justin Franke at Eastern Washington University. Students at any other schools, public or private, who are interested in forming a SWING should contact me through the Washington Institute at (206) 938-6300.
The political season is here. The election is imminent. The free flow of ideas is vital. We need to get our message out to students on campuses all over the state.
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The Institute is as active as ever on Research projects. The following studies are complete and will be released this year:
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"Oh, no, NO, NO! I'm gonna KILL you, damned dog!"
In rising fury and outrage, I found myself screaming those words at the large tan dog that was running abruptly from our backyard. I fell to my knee beside my tiny pet dog, Jenny, who lay injured and whimpering in the grass.
That was the opening scene of a little neighborhood drama recently - a drama that had some surprising plot twists.
To set the scene: Our little Jenny is a Yorkshire Terrier, gold and silver, 61/2 pounds of waggy-tail happiness. She's trained to stay in our yard.
She loves her walks on a leash. She also enjoys patrolling our front yard, speaking in her soprano arf-arf, making friends with humans walking through our Mercer Island neighborhood.
That morning I heard a big ruckus in the back yard - loud growling, punctuated by little screams. I raced out to find the big tan dog - a stranger running loose - mauling Jenny. The big dog fled.
I gently picked up Jenny and ran to the front door, hoping for another look at the tan dog. Two women were walking in the street. "Did you see a tan dog?" I shouted breathlessly. They nodded and pointed north, where the big dog had trotted away.
Then the two women came into our driveway to console the little pet in my arms. One, a nurse, saw that I was pale and gasping.
"Are you all right?" she asked. I said yes. (In fact, I'm an old gray-haired goat with some heart trouble in my history.) I said I'd have to rush Jenny to the pet hospital. The woman calmed me, making sure I'd be able to drive.
After calling the police, I drove Jenny to a veterinary clinic. (She'd eventually be found to have broken ribs, damaged muscles and contusions - but nothing life-threatening.)
A short time later, I was driving around the neighborhood, seeking the tan dog. Years ago I'd gotten rid of my old .22 rifle: Good thing, I thought. Instead, I carried a leash, hoping to catch - not kill - the attacker.
I found the tan dog, and with the help of a neighbor managed to coax the wandering animal into a pen. There, in front of that house, came a climactic scene, when I met Jean, the tan dog's owner.
Jean was a visitor from California, a house guest at the home of her sister, another neighbor. Both women were in tears over what had happened.
Jean's husband had died only days earlier. After the funeral, she had left her California home and come north to her sister's bringing her tan dog. The dog had never before been out of an enclosed yard, but it slipped out that morning.
Tearfully, Jean announced that she'd immediately have her dog "put down."
"NO! NO! No," I shouted. I hugged both women and begged that the tan dog's life be spared. Now we were all crying. Here I was, pleading for the life of the animal I'd thought seriously of killing only minutes before.
Next day, Jean and her sister came to visit Jenny, home from the veterinary hospital. They told me the tan dog had been placed in an adoptive home, far out in the country.
Jean also brought a gift-wrapped package of puppy treats and a toy for Jenny. Plus, for me, a check covering the veterinary expenses - and a hug and a kiss.
Other tender things happened. The nurse, who'd been walking with her friend, called to see how Jenny and I were. Other neighbors and friends came to visit, too.
I'm not sure how it all happened. But I do know that, in this crazy, stressful world of ours, something quite rare occurred in our neighborhood.
What could have been a dangerous, boiling-anger confrontation produced, instead, human caring and new friendships. A mutual love of pets helped.
Sally Verrinder, the Mercer Island police switchboard operator who'd taken my first report of the incident, remembered a hospital reader-board message that seemed appropriate: "Be gentle. Everyone you meet is carrying a heavy burden."
Richard W. Larsen is former Associate Editor of The Seattle Times. This article was excerpted from the Mercer Island Reporter, Aug. 28, 1996.
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One of the most effective ways to spread a message is by word of mouth. By telling your friends and colleagues about the benefits of joining the Washington Institute, you expose them to free-market ideas and give them the opportunity to support research, studies, events, and forums that help shape public policy. In the end, you have a network of people who are better-informed participants in the public policy debate, which results in sound policy decisions.
Here's the Challenge:
For more information contact Mala Krishnamoorti or Dann Mead Smith at (206)938-6300 or (800)546-4460 or email us at email@example.com.
Congratulations to John Bemenderfer for being the Institute's very first on-line sponsor!
You, too, can become a supporter via the Internet by calling up the Washington Institute Web Site at http://www.wips.org. Just complete the form on our "Join the Institute" page and send your invoice and pledged amount to the Washington Institute. Take the "WIPS Challenge" on the Net by signing up supporters electronically and receive a complimentary copy of Do the Right Thing: the People's Economist Speaks by Walter Williams.
The Washington Institute for Policy Studies accepts in-kind contributions and would greatly appreciate office equipment and services which will facilitate our operations. Here is a list of possible items:
Any of these or other items would help us keep our costs down so that we may continue to provide you with more timely publications and distinguished speakers. Thank you for your support!
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Our Institute is on the move. We are playing a major role in Washington state public policy.
Citizens all over the state - whether Republicans, Democrats, independents or libertarians - tell us that the Washington Institute has a growing impact on vital decisions.
Legislators, county and city council members, and other community leaders statewide are constantly expressing appreciation for our efforts. A few recent examples:
"They deal with the entire state of Washington, so it gives us the basis to make decisions that are extremely important." - Speaker of the House Clyde Ballard (R-East Wenatchee)
"The information provided by the Washington Institute is valuable for us to go out and assess the accountability of all parts of government throughout the state." - State Auditor Brian Sonntag (D)
"I hope that the next 10 years will show that the views of the Washington Institute for Policy Studies are the prevailing views here in the state of Washington." - U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton (R)
Why do these leaders endorse our Institute? Because they see clear benefits from our work, such as:
We help educate the public about new, free-market approaches that really work.
We influence public policy with our studies, reports and policy briefs.
We provide a counter-balance to the liberal establishment - public-employee unions, environmental activists, and other special-interest groups.
We are leaders in networking with like-minded organizations to coordinate our educational efforts. CounterPoint, our media-critique newsletter, is causing the media to face their biases and become more accountable to the public.
Our efforts to end government monopolies and introduce competition to the state will save taxpayers and businesses millions of dollars, and provide more efficient and effective services.
Both "Three Strikes and You're Out" and "Hard Time for Armed Crime" will continue to reduce violent crime and make judges more accountable.
For the first time, local communities across the state are able to contribute ideas through our Washington Institute Network Groups (WINGs).
We will soon broadcast our ideas statewide through "Community Comments" radio spots.
We will reach a potential audience of millions by going on-line with a World Wide Web site on the Internet.
In all these ways and more, the Washington Institute is making a difference.
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I would like to welcome three new members to our Board of Directors:
Ron Cohn, a longtime supporter of the Institute, is owner of Consolidated Restaurants, Inc. His establishments include the Metropolitan Grill, Union Square Grill, Pescatore, Elliott's Oyster House & Seafood Restaurant, and several Steamers cafes in Seattle, Bellevue and Tacoma.
Conrad Denke is president and owner of American Production Services and American Motion Pictures, the largest independent film and video service company in the area, with 75 employees in Seattle and Redmond. He has won numerous national filmmaking awards.
Dr. Michael Schlitt has been on our Board of Advisors for two years. A practicing neurosurgeon, he is a nationally known advocate for private medicine and doctor-patient rights, and president of the state chapter of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.
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A decade ago, a welfare mother was arrested for drug and alcohol abuse. In recovery, desperate for help, she committed her life to Christ and opened her heart to his divine plan.
Two years later, she ran across a book in a thrift store, Bringing in the Sheaves: Transforming Poverty into Productivity by George Grant. This book and her commitment to serving others helped chart her destiny.
While the bureaucrats argue and debate over how to reform welfare, Cheryl Honey, a mother of four, works out of her home in Bothell, connecting people who are willing to share resources to those who need a helping hand. She calls it Family Support Networking.
"Everyone has something to offer," Honey says. "It doesn't matter if you're rich or poor." She believes some of the most valuable resources we have today are people on the welfare rosters. "Many of the families receiving support are the ones who have the most time and skills to help the families living from paycheck to paycheck." She knew she had something to offer when she was on welfare, but the system wasn't set up to utilize her desktop-publishing and database-management skills.
In 1992, while she was still receiving assistance, Honey began weaving the Family Support Network by compiling the skills, abilities and resources of community members into a database, and linking those with needs to caring neighbors. In 1993, the Family Support Network (FSN) became a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to connecting families. To build the Network she published a quarterly newsletter, "What's Happening," created a website on the Internet and developed a training program.
Community members who wish to share resources with others register with the Network as a "Good Neighbor." Those who have more discretionary time and money are trained and certified as a "Family Advocate." They comfort and support those living through difficult situations. They come from diverse backgrounds, speak different languages and touch lives in a variety of ways. They share services such as baby-sitting, carpentry, and car repair, and organize family activities like camping, fishing, water-skiing and pet parades. Good Neighbors and Family Advocates have tracked down runaways, provided shelter to fire victims, found services for seniors, supervised visitations of kids in foster care, and most of all let people know they weren't alone and that someone cared.
"We're a family and we all care about each other," Honey says.
Local agencies have realized the benefits of this informal support system and are utilizing it to enhance services to their clients.
In 1995 the Network received close to 1,000 phone calls and was able to help more than 90% of those who sought information or assistance.
And all this has been done without a dime of taxpayer's money or foundation dollars. "We have received no grants -- public or private -- and we have continued to grow," says Honey.
A favorable story in The Seattle Times (March 2, 1996) by Kery Murakami helped raise the organization's profile and attract more interest.
The FSN is in need of more funds to increase its effectiveness and expand its reach. The Network needs office space, volunteers for data entry, and operating funds. And it would like to fill vacancies on its board of directors.
"Right now there is a lot of confusion...people don't know where to turn for help," Honey says. "This neighbor-to-neighbor approach is a more compassionate way to help families. Government can't do this for us, we have to do this for ourselves.
Want to help the Family Support Network? Here's how to reach them:
Telephone: (206) 487-4009
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Watching the health-insurance debate in Washington state reminds me of my daughter and her friends when they do the hokey-pokey on roller skates. Some are pretty good and zoom in, out and around with ease -- sometimes at the peril of those standing near. Others try to follow all of the directions. A few decide to drop out before the song's over.
Similarly, in health-care legislation over the last several years, we put government in, then we put it out; some insurance companies expanded to meet the challenge, others quit selling certain services in Washington.
To someone watching from the sidelines, both dances appear quite a muddle.
A little history helps. First, a 1993 Democrat legislature and governor adopted a government-run health-care system for Washington with the Health Services Act. It required all employers to purchase health insurance for their employees, and laid plans to dictate the basics of what health services were to be covered.
Largely in response to government's attempted takeover of the health-care system, voters returned much legislative control to the Republicans in 1994. They, in turn, repealed much of the 1993 act. They left in place certain requirements affecting a person's ability to get health insurance, regardless of their pre-existing health conditions, and to move between employers without jeopardizing their coverage.
During this period of turmoil both in Washington state and in Washington, D.C., as Congress pondered the Clinton administration's proposal, the private sector didn't sit quietly by doing nothing.
Large, self-insuring employers and other major purchasers of health insurance began taking action to identify and define successful health-care systems for their employees. And, they continue to look for ways to measure the quality of care being received.
Health-insurance plans are finding ways for consumers to provide their own individual balance between affordability and value by sharing in the payment of their health-care costs. A variety of mechanisms such as co-pays, deductibles, and managed care programs, which monitor use of the health-care system, are being used. Managed care, especially, has seen tremendous growth throughout the country.
The national backlash that is currently in full swing was probably predictable. In Washington, the 1996 session of the legislature has been called the "anti-managed care" session. Here, lawmakers threatened to put government back into health care again in ways most free-market advocates would find unacceptable. Nearly 100 separate pieces of legislation addressing various characteristics of managed care were introduced. Only a couple passed, like the "Disclosure Bill" (ESSB 6392), which requires that health carriers allow consumers to obtain health-care services outside a prescribed plan and make available upon request a long list of contract provisions, including written descriptions of reimbursement or payment arrangements. But the impulse to control through legislative fiat hasn't yet waned.
Everyone wants to do something to help "fix the problem." As Rep. Phil Dyer said at a recent health-care forum, public policy is struggling "to get to the head of the line." But the "problem," to the extent that there is one (and most people agree that the United States has one of the best health-care systems in the world), has shifted. Everyone probably needs to take a breather and let the dust settle from the last several years of turmoil.
Mostly, those who tend to believe that private-sector solutions are preferable to government solutions need to hold firm to their instincts and approach any legislative proposal on health care and health-care insurance with caution.
Worker's Compensation Study
In a related, but equally complex area of public policy, the Washington Institute's evaluation of our state's workers' compensation system is well under way. Our first publication will be a basic primer on Washington's existing system of industrial insurance. It will include:
Later in the year, subsequent publications will compare the performance of Washington's workers' compensation system, where possible, with the performance of systems used in other states, and will offer suggestions for changes in this state.
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Who will win in Russia and why?
Most of the polls on voter preferences for the June 16 presidential elections show Yeltsin and Zyuganov far ahead of other candidates and Yeltsin leading Zyuganov by up to 4%. One major poll shows Yeltsin rising from 8% in January to 28% in May, while Zyuganov rose from 20% to 27%. This indicates a trend strongly in Yeltsin's favor, as does the much larger vote spread when voters are asked who they think will be elected president, a result suggesting that Yeltsin will fare better than Zyuganov in a runoff.
But the recent poll results of the Institute of the Sociology of Parliamentarism, based on a much larger sample than other polls and supported by a record of predicting accurately the outcomes that other polls missed badly in 1993 and 1995, show Zyuganov with an 18-20% lead over Yeltsin, and the possibility of a 45% vote in the first round. Should this prove accurate, a majority in the second round would be virtually assured.
There is, in brief, no clear indicator in the polls. What is clear is that the election results could either advance the remarkable process of Russian reform or delay and damage it severely.
Though the Russian communist and nationalist press give Yeltsin poor reviews, the fact is that in less than five years he has accomplished fundamental political and economic reform against incredible institutional obstacles and powerful political opposition He has replaced an unworkable Soviet-era constitution with a one that provides an effective division of powers and a strong executive authority. He has granted broad autonomy to the ethnic republics and Russian administrative regions that comprise the Russian Federation.
His economic reforms have replaced the disastrous communist economy with a market economy in which most of the national product is now produced by private enterprise and Russia has been integrated into the global economy.
But with a powerful ultra-nationalist and communist opposition, and a population still feeling enormous pain from the economic and social changes, there is now a serious chance that the powerful office of president will pass to the hands of a communist leader who, while more moderate than the Bolshevik 80% of his party, could scarcely be called a Eurocommunist, or compared to the Polish or Lithuanian communist leadership. His real program, in contrast to his ingratiating performance for the Western business community at Davos, calls for rebuilding the statist economy, restoring government by soviets, and rebuilding the multinational Soviet Union.
But the Yeltsin reforms contain powerful barriers to their reversal. Procedures for constitutional amendment are highly restrictive; the regional governments will defend their new powers vigorously; and the beneficiaries of privatization (which include large numbers of nominal communists) have no wish to surrender their new property to the state.
An attack on the private sector, combined with negative treatment of imports and foreign investment would cause an immediate and desperate shortage of food and consumer goods, and a quick cutoff of foreign credits, while their promised social programs would guarantee runaway inflation. The Communists' claim to a solution to Russia's problems is as fraudulent as their current efforts to whitewash Stalin and the era of Soviet power.
Herbert J. Ellison is a Professor at the Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington.
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The Washington Institute for Policy Studies has always received generous contributions from civic-minded individuals and businesses. Our contributors understand the importance of public policy based on free-market principles -- and recognize the value of supporting those who share these ideals.
Our donors, however, may be exceptions to the rule. Patterns of Corporate Philanthropy is an annual publication from the Capital Research Center -- a respected Washington, D.C., nonprofit educational organization. The 1996 edition of Patterns notes that far too many corporations "make financial contributions to special-interest advocacy groups that favor policies hostile to free markets and limited government."
Patterns reveals that "for every $1 that big corporations gave to conservative and pro-free market advocacy groups, $4.07 went to liberal and left-of-center advocacy groups." Leftist groups that support more government spending and regulation -- and actually work against corporate interests -- received more than four times as much as free-market groups that favor business.
Such corporate giving is illogical. Patterns cites these examples:
Misdirected giving by corporations not only gives credibility to leftist advocacy groups, but also takes much-needed funds away from private programs and traditional charities that cannot compete with well-funded government programs.
Corporate philanthropies are not doing anyone any favors by trying to build relationships with their ideological opponents. So, remember, the next time you take out your checkbook, be sure to support those who support your ideals. The more thoughtful we are about philanthropy, the more we will be able to make a serious difference.
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