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Criminal Justice

The United States has the highest incarceration rate of any developed country. 2.3 million people, or nearly a quarter of the world’s prison population, are incarcerated in the United States, and another 4.5 million people are on probation or parole. Overzealous prosecutors and strict minimum sentencing laws are important reasons why so many Americans are behind bars. Perhaps even more shocking is the fact that over 70% of individuals re-offend once released from prison. Any adequate solution to America’s criminal justice catastrophe must place rehabilitation at the heart of the incentives structure for prisons, jails, and community corrections programs. A legal framework which encourages entrepreneurial members of society to help formerly incarcerated individuals improve themselves and their communities is key to real criminal justice reform.

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Housing

The lack of affordable housing in America’s high-productivity cities is crippling growth, exacerbating regional inequality, and destroying equality of opportunity in our society. A recent study estimated that lowering regulatory constraints in the most productive American cities to the level of the median American city would increase U.S. GDP by 9.5%, generating over $32 trillion over the course of the next decade. The culprit for America’s undersupply of housing is “Not In My Back Yard” or “NIMBY” syndrome, as manifested in restrictive land use regulations. Zoning reform is the heart of any successful housing policy.

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Healthcare

America spends over $3.2 trillion on healthcare per year, and healthcare represents 26% of federal government spending. Healthcare spending accounts for 18% of GDP, or roughly 1 in 5 dollars spent in America, and experts estimate that up to 1/3rd of that expenditure is waste. As Larry and Sergey pointed out in a recent interview, “Health is just so heavily regulated, it’s just a painful business to be in…The regulatory burden in the US is so high that it dissuades a lot of entrepreneurs.” Streamlining regulation in the healthcare sector to allow sharing and analysis of prices and medical data is vital to ensuring that our society can sustainably provide affordable, quality care for all Americans in the decades to come.

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Regulation

The American regulatory regime is broken. Decades of poor planning have created an avalanche of hundreds of thousands of restrictive and ineffective regulations. These outdated rules cost the economy trillions of dollars every year. The causes are systemic. Administrators create rules with limited public input, and are therefore blind to the consequences of their decisions. Legislators lack the time or ability to fight the torrent of rules. Meanwhile, special interests have captured key elements of the regulatory process at the expense of the American public. Missing data and siloed policy experience have created a treacherous regulatory landscape for public and private sector actors. Regulatory solutions must begin with transparency and measurement, as enabled by advances in information technology.

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Transportation

America faces a mounting transportation crisis. The primary culprit is road congestion. Americans spend 7 billion hours a year sitting in traffic, crippling both our individual health and national economic productivity. Commuting costs keep many Americans locked out from urban hubs, which are centers of innovation and economic opportunity. Worse, infrastructure financing has dried up. American roads have a $836 billion capital needs backlog, and the Highway Trust Fund is insolvent. Our country must expand construction of new lane-miles, implement congestion pricing, and create alternative infrastructure schemes to get back on the road to prosperity.

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Education

Education reform is the best solution to the challenges of short-term technological unemployment and the skills gap in the American labor force. In the coming decades, many conventional forms of work will be automated. Fortunately, there are currently millions of unfilled jobs in the US labor market, and new jobs are emerging in sectors such as science, technology, healthcare, and service industries. We believe that a combination of high school apprenticeships and a properly incentivized higher education system will allow Americans to develop the skills necessary to pursue their vocations, jumpstarting growth and innovation across the country.

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