Office of Congressional Relations

Farsighted Leadership in a Shortsighted World

Looking Beyond the 2012 U.S. Election

As the U.S. presidential election draws to a close, there is increasing demand for simple answers to complex questions, immediate solutions to entrenched challenges, and ten-second sound bites to sum it all up.

The RAND Corporation has always focused on big, long-term, core public policy issues and has cultivated the farsighted perspectives required to address those issues. In the fall edition of RAND Review, a periodic magazine focusing on relevant issues facing the U.S and the world, nine essays look at key election issues for President Obama and Governor Romney.

Game Over for Health Care Policy? Not with Climbing Costs

U.S. currency under a stethoscope

Even with the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in June to uphold the Affordable Care Act, high health care costs will not disappear. If anything, they will continue to climb, despite the cost-saving measures in the Affordable Care Act, writes Art Kellermann. He contends that electronic medical records, reduced use of unnecessary procedures, reformed payment systems, and responsibly designed consumer-directed health plans might be good foundations to start building a high-value health care system.

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Immigration's Fiscal Puts and Takes

an immigrant worker

James Smith asserts that the immigration debate should account for the differential effects that legal and illegal immigration have on the U.S. economy and on U.S. taxpayers. After assessing the costs and benefits of immigration in dollar terms, Smith offers a possible way out of the current "muddle" of U.S. immigration policy.

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Energy Alternatives

a lightbulb superimposed over a green field

Keith Crane assesses the costs and benefits of using renewable energy sources such as biomass to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. He also investigates the feasibility and implications of putting a tax on crude oil as an alternative to the existing federal gas tax used to pay for highways.

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Grading the Candidates on Education

a student and a teacher in a classroom

Since both presidential candidates call for various reforms to No Child Left Behind, Darleen Opfer takes a look at how well each education platform squares with the findings of actual education research. Answer: pretty well, but with a few important caveats.

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Building Democracies in the Arab World

Libyan election

Building democracies in the Arab world will take years to succeed, but there are no insurmountable obstacles to democracy taking root in countries that have thrown out autocratic rulers, writes Laurel Miller. The United States should support the creation of government accountability mechanisms, and help establish civilian control of security institutions. Without decent governance, democratic transitions remain tenuous.

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Other RAND experts weighed in on reasons for income inequality, the resurgence of al Qaeda, the stabilization of Iraq, and peace with China, through deterrence.

To request a free hard copy of this RAND Review, please contact Ben Pietrzyk at

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