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Should chronically disruptive students be allowed to remain in public schools? Should nonagenarians receive costly medical care at taxpayer expense? Who should be first in line for kidney transplants—the relatively healthy or the severely ill? In T argeting in Social Programs , Peter H. Schuck and Richard J. Zeckhauser provide a rigorous framework for analyzing these and other difficult choices. Many government policies seek to help unfortunate, often low-income individuals—in other words, "bad draws." These efforts are frequently undermined by poor targeting, however. In particular, when two groups of bad draws—"bad bets" and "bad apples"—are included in social welfare programs, bad policies are likely to result. Many politicians and policymakers prefer to sweep this problem under the rug. But the costs of this silence are high. Allocating resources to bad bets and bad apples does more than waste money—it also makes it harder to achieve substantive goals, such as the creation of safe and effective schools. And perhaps most important, it erodes support for public programs on which many good bets and good apples rely. By training a spotlight on these issues, Schuck and Zeckhauser take a first step toward much-needed reforms. They dissect the challenges involved in defining bad bets and bad apples and discuss the safeguards that any classification process must provide. They also examine three areas where bad apples and bad bets loom large—public schools, public housing, and medical care—and propose policy changes that could reduce the problems these two groups pose. This provocative book does not offer easy answers, but it raises questions that no one with an interest in policy effectiveness can afford to ignore. By turns incisive and probing, Bad Draws will generate vigorous debate.
The conflict in Iraq is characterized by three faces of war: interstate conflict, civil war, and insurgency. The Coalition's invasion of Iraq in March 2003 began as an interstate war. No sooner had Saddam Hussein been successfully deposed, however, than U.S.-led forces faced a lethal insurgency. After Sunni al Qaeda in Iraq bombed the Shia al-Askari Shrine in 2006, the burgeoning conflict took on the additional element of civil war with sectarian violence between the Sunni and the Shia. The most effective strategies in a war as complicated as the three-level conflict in Iraq are intertwined and complementary, according to the editors of this volume. For example, the "surge" in U.S. troops in 2007 went beyond an increase in manpower; the mission had changed, giving priority to public security. This new direction also simultaneously addressed the insurgency as well as the civil war by forging new, trusting relationships between Americans and Iraqis and between Sunni and Shia. This book has broad implications for future decisions about war and peace in the twenty-first century.
A unique primer on how to think intelligently about the thorniest public issues confronting us today Let's be honest, we've all expressed opinions about difficult hot-button issues without always thinking them through. With so much media spin, political polarization, and mistrust of institutions, it's hard to know how to think about these tough challenges, much less what to do about them. One Nation Undecided takes on some of today's thorniest issues and walks you through each one step-by-step, explaining what makes it so difficult to grapple with and enabling you to think smartly about it. In this unique what-to-do book, Peter Schuck tackles poverty, immigration, affirmative action, campaign finance, and religious objections to gay marriage and transgender rights. For each issue, he provides essential context; defines key concepts and values; presents the relevant empirical evidence; describes and assesses the programs that now seek to address it; and considers many plausible solutions. Schuck looks at all sides with scrupulous fairness while analyzing them rigorously and factually. Each chapter is self-contained so that readers may pick and choose among the issues that interest and concern them most. His objective is to educate rather than proselytize you—the very nature of these five issues is that they resist clear answers; reasonable people can differ about where they come out on them. No other book provides such a comprehensive, balanced, and accessible analysis of these urgent social controversies. One Nation Undecided gives you the facts and competing values, makes your thinking about them more sophisticated, and encourages you to draw your own conclusions.
One of the most sustained and vigorous public debates today is about the value and, crucially, the price of college. But an unspoken, outdated assumption underlies all sides of this debate: if a young person works hard enough, they'll be able to get a college degree and be on the path to a good life. That's simply not true anymore, says Sara Goldrick-Rab. Quite simply, college is far too expensive for many people today, and the confusing mix of federal, state, institutional, and private financial aid leaves countless students without the resources they need to pay for it. Drawing on a study of 3,000 young adults who entered public colleges and universities in Wisconsin in 2008 with the support of federal aid and Pell Grants, Goldrick-Rab reveals the devastating effect of these shortfalls. She believes America can fix this problem. In the final section of the book, Goldrick-Rab offers a range of possible solutions.

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