Entries by Editorial Staff

Colonel Peter Hayden on U.S. Cyber Command & National Security

General Counsel of U.S. Cyber Command, Colonel Pete Hayden, shares insights about growing up in western Massachusetts, attending law school, his military service, and emphasizes the legal aspects of his national security work. Col. Hayden discusses Cyber Command’s mission, distinguishing it from the NSA, while stressing the importance of defending the nation in cyberspace.

Study Finds Obstacles to Search for Opioid Substitute

Inflation Reduction Act price controls on the category of drugs that includes most non-opioid pain relievers reduce return on investment, disincentivize research funding BOSTON – By reducing return on investment for the category of drugs that includes most potential non-opioid pain relievers, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) creates a major disincentive to the development of therapies to combat the opioid epidemic that is ravaging the United States, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that pain medication research already has a higher attrition rate than research in other therapies.  A 2023 Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) study found that pain projects have only a o.7 percent probability of gaining FDA approval, compared […]

Annual Massachusetts Outmigration Hits 39,000, Up 1,100% Over The Last Decade: BU Study

Could rise to 96,000 per year by 2030, costing Massachusetts $19.2 billion in adjusted gross income & $961 million in income tax revenue   BOSTON (April 24, 2024) – Annual net outmigration from Massachusetts has soared by a stunning 1,100 percent to 39,000 people since 2013, according to a new Boston University Questrom School of Business study. If the trend continues, the researchers found, the state’s net outmigration could reach 96,000 by 2030. Outmigration cost Massachusetts $4.3 billion in adjusted gross income (AGI) and $213.7 million in tax revenue during the 2020-21 tax year. The majority of that money went to Florida ($1.77 billion), New Hampshire ($1.1 billion), and Maine ($393 million.) Those numbers could rise to $19.2 billion in […]

Superior Court Judge Invalidates “Equity Theft” Law as Unconstitutional

Decision brings Massachusetts into compliance with 2023 U.S. Supreme Court ruling SPRINGFIELD, MA –A Massachusetts Superior Court has ruled that a state law allowing municipalities (or private actors to whom municipalities sell the right to foreclose) to foreclose on homes due to property tax debt without having to pay the homeowner the difference between the taxes owed and the value of the home is unconstitutional as applied to the facts of the case at hand.   Ashley Mills was on the verge of losing her fully paid for Springfield home worth around $230,000 due to a $22,000 property tax debt.  On Mills behalf, the Pioneer Public Interest Law Center, Greater Boston Legal Services, and the law firms of Morgan Lewis and […]

Johns Hopkins’ Ashley Berner on Educational Pluralism & Democracy

Johns Hopkins’ Institute for Education Policy director, Dr. Ashley Berner discusses educational pluralism’s role in improving K-12 performance, exploring European models and the impact of U.S. school choice programs. Dr. Berner analyzes universal ESAs and vocational-technical schooling, addressing persistent academic struggles and civic knowledge gaps.

Pioneer Institute Statement on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ March Tax Revenue Collections

Pioneer Institute Statement on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ March Tax Revenue Collections: Preliminary March tax revenue collection numbers were released on Wednesday (4/3/24) by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR). The Commonwealth took in $4.065 billion in total tax receipts for the month.  This figure is $129 million or 3.3% above the current monthly benchmark – the first time this fiscal year that actual revenues exceeded estimates. While the slight uptick is good news because it breaks an eight-month streak of declining revenues, let’s not queue up the confetti quite yet.  All major tax revenue categories other than withholding taxes are below estimates.  Withholding tax collections are likely buoyed by the worker shortage and higher salaries that workers can now […]

U.S. Chamber Foundation’s Hilary Crow on K-12 Civics Education

U.S. Chamber Foundation VP, Hilary Crow discusses the state of K-12 civics, emphasizing the Chamber Foundation’s role in addressing America’s wide civic education deficits. Crow highlights a recent national civics survey, alarming civic literacy gaps, and links between political unrest and our nation’s educational shortcomings in K-12 civics.

Transformative Medical Therapy Will Require New Cost-Benefit and Pricing Models

Current regulations increase development and manufacturing costs, are a potential disincentive for investors   BOSTON – Gene replacement therapy (GRT) is a transformative medical technology. However, a new regulatory model and a pricing paradigm that fully accounts for its value will be needed to ensure its continuing development, according to a new paper published by Pioneer Institute. GRT treats diseases by using or modifying genetic material and is particularly useful for rare diseases.  The first gene therapy available in the US was approved six years ago. “Gene therapy may only have to be administered a single time to treat the root cause of a disease, as opposed to traditional medical treatments that can be needed for a lifetime,” said Anne […]

UCLA’s Ronald Mellor on Tacitus, Roman Emperors, & Despotism

Dr. Mellor delves into the enduring influence of Tacitus, the great Roman historian, on both America’s Founding Fathers and contemporary understanding of politics and government. He discusses Tacitus’s insights on the early Roman emperors, unchecked authority, moral judgment of leadership, and the decline of the Roman Republic, as well as ancient lessons for modern governance.

Tufts Prof. Elizabeth Setren on METCO’s Proven Results

Prof. Setren discusses her recent study of METCO, a pioneering voluntary school desegregation program under which Massachusetts students in Boston and Springfield are bused to surrounding suburban districts. She discusses METCO’s history, the academic performance of students in the program, enrollment challenges, long-term benefits, and disparities among students.

Sunshine Week 2024

Partly Sunny with a Chance of Transparency As Pioneer Institute observes  Sunshine Week , March 10-16, it is worth remembering the uncommon courage it took for our founders to so publicly and transparently declare their political beliefs and loyalties at a time when Great Britain ruled the waves and the American Colonies. The Founders were indeed risking it all — fortune, honor, and indeed their very lives — to establish a system of self-governance that serves as a beacon of hope to the world. Unfortunately, our early twenty-first-century America — and Massachusetts — is marked by only partial sunshine. Politicians long entrenched in the halls of power would much prefer to eclipse the public’s right to information.  Massachusetts deserves better. Only by fully honoring the letter […]

Pulitzer Winner Joan Hedrick on Harriet Beecher Stowe & Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Prof. Hedrick discusses Harriet Beecher Stowe’s wide literary influence on U.S. history. From her abolitionist activism to the publication of international bestseller Uncle Tom’s Cabin, they explore Stowe’s New England upbringing, anti-slavery convictions, and lasting impact on American literature and social reform in the 19th century.

Dr. Adrian Mims on The Calculus Project & STEM

Dr. Mims navigates through the contentious “math wars” and underscores the pivotal role of Algebra I as a gateway to higher math. He also evaluates the negative impact of Common Core math standards, and proposes strategies to combat pandemic-induced learning setbacks and bridge the gap in math proficiency between American students and their international counterparts.

Boston Children’s, MGH Among Massachusetts Hospitals with Highest Relative Commercial Prices

Pioneer Institute’s new tool, the Massachusetts Hospital Relative Price Tracker, displays relative price and facilitates relative price comparisons among hospitals. The average price among all hospitals will have a relative price of 1.0. A relative price of 1.5 means that a hospital charges 50 percent higher than the average of all Massachusetts hospitals. Similarly, a relative price of 0.84 means that a hospital’s prices are 16 percent below average. Relative price data is collected and reported by the Commonwealth’s Center for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA) and is an aggregate measure used to evaluate price variations among different hospitals. It is recalculated annually based on data collected from commercial payers and includes information on private commercial insurance and commercially managed public insurance products such as Medicare Advantage and Medicaid Managed Organizations/Accountable Care Partnership Plans.

Study: Ed Reform Has Improved Academic Performance and Equity

Over the past 30 years, rigorous standards, assessments, and accountability for outcomes have propelled Massachusetts public schools to become the nation’s best. Taking away the high-stakes component of MCAS would weaken the accountability system and lead stakeholders to de-emphasize the assessment data that drives high-quality instruction, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.

UK U-Warwick’s Benjamin Smith on Mexico’s Cartels & Drug Trade

Prof. Benjamin Smith, author of The Dope: The Real History of the Mexican Drug Trade, provides insights into various aspects of the Mexican drug trade, including its historical context and the evolution of illicit drug products over time. He discusses key cartels and their methods, the impact of the drug trade on Mexico’s murder rates, the immense financial scale of the trade, its effect on Mexico and the U.S., and the challenges law enforcement face in combating it. Smith explores the relationship among Mexican cartels, other foreign countries, and the illicit drug market in the U.S.