As the United States prepares for the 1990s, it faces a number of pressing policy issues. Some have simply been put aside during the conservative counter-reform of the 1980s. Others have been addressed during this period, but with mixed results. And some have emerged precisely because of failed political and economic policies that must now be addressed. Policy Issues for the 1990s presents a systematic approach to identifying policy issues that will be on the agenda for the next decade and perhaps beyond. This authoritative survey emphasizes the consequences for policymakers of decisions made by their predecessors and provides a blueprint for how to approach establishing a policy agenda for the next decade.
Among the issues put on hold during preceding years has been the growing poverty of children, the emergence of an underclass, and the near collapse of the mental health system. Among issues that have received attention, but with uncertain success, are the strengthening of military defenses, the social and medical consequences of AIDS, and health care for the elderly. And among new issues that now require policy attention are the twin deficits of budget and trade, foreign policy in Central America and the Middle East, and the growing schism in the United States between the "haves" and the "have-nots." This volume evaluates these issues and boldly establishes an agenda for policy analysts of the next administration. As the Reagan administration learned and as its successor will doubtless find, perspectives and approaches that have had more than a decade of dominance in the policy arena are not eliminated automatically by an election or even by a new set of actors on the stage. For judicious policymakers of the 1990s, the challenge will be to initiate change as rapidly as practical, without destablizing the economy, the polity, or the society.
Policy Issues for the 1990s is the latest in the Policy Studies Review Annual series, which brings together the most important and provocative policy research recently published in the United States and elsewhere. It distinguishes itself by its inclusion of original contributions representing the most recent thinking of key policy analysts that has not yet been published in the journal literature, addressing such themes as health care for the elderly, employee stock option programs, strategies to combat inflation, and changes in American educational policy.
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