The Edward H. Arnold Institute for Policy Studies

Closed Primaries Give Voters Clearer Choices in Elections

There is ongoing debate in our commonwealth and nation about open and closed primaries. It always heats up as we near a presidential primary season. Pennsylvania is a closed-primary state, meaning only those voters registered as either Republicans or Democrats may vote to select their party’s nominees for the general election. In states with open […]

Yes, Pennsylvania There is a Pension Crisis – Now What Are We Going to Do About It?

Yes, Pennsylvania, there is a pension crisis. No amount of political rhetoric can alter the fact that years of hefty benefit increases, fund losses and negligent underfunding have left the state’s two largest pension funds–covering both teachers and other state workers–in a huge budget hole. The $27 billion Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System and $51.7 […]

Another Look at Downsizing the State Legislature

In our form of democracy, good ideas are discussed over and over across the years with little evidence of progress. Over the last two legislative sessions, measures to reduce the size of the General Assembly passed the House but died due to inaction in the State Senate. Perhaps this will be the year that change […]

What Would Nixon Do?

What Would Nixon Do? Think he’d for a moment allow a terrorist state to build a nuclear weapon? Your humble servant had the great privilege of being a speechwriter and lawyer for Richard Nixon in the last year of his presidency, 1973-74. I am well aware that he was forced from office and that the […]

Say Thanks to Your Township Supervisor!

You may read about them in the newspaper or see them along local roads, plowing snow in the winter or patching potholes in the spring. They’re your township supervisors and staff, and while you may not know them personally, these public servants show up each and every day with one goal in mind: to build […]

The Knights Templar Shows How to Fight ISIS and Win

701 years ago, on March 18th, the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar was burned at the stake in France. As he died, Jacques de Molay cursed the French king who had betrayed him, and whose own dynasty collapsed fourteen years later. That didn’t help de Molay, whose order was exterminated as a road […]

Should Congress Pass the ‘Authorization to Use Military Force’ as Proposed by President Obama?

America’s 44th president, Barack Obama, has asked Congress to authorize the use of force against the Islamic State—ISIS. The Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham is a distinctive variety of Islam with strong beliefs about mankind’s path to the Day of Judgment. In his State of the Union address, […]

Pipelines Will Help Lead to America’s Energy Independence

A pipeline company has proposed to build a north-south natural gas pipeline through Lancaster County, and while opposition to the pipeline has been raised, it is important to realize how infrastructure investment in domestic sources of energy would help our nation by keeping energy prices low, reducing pollution, and ending a major cause of foreign […]

Municipal Pensions: The Rest of the (Untold) Story

Make no mistake: Pennsylvania is in the midst of a public pension crisis. The headlines, including those generated by recent comments by Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, indicate that the predicament is deep-rooted and widespread. But do the news reports tell the whole story? Clearly, the commonwealth is facing a snowballing pension bill, expected to mushroom […]