- Budget & Taxation
- Crime, Justice & the Law
- The Constitution
- Economic & Political Thought
- Economic Growth
- Elections, Transparency, & Accountability
- Family, Culture & Community
- Foreign Policy/ International Affairs
- Health Care
- Information Technology
- International Trade & Finance
- Monetary Policy/ Financial Regulation
- National Security
- Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & Science
- Regulation & Deregulation
- Retirement/ Social Security
- Transportation & Infrastructure
- Acton Institute
- Adam Smith Institute
- Alabama Policy Institute
- Allegheny Institute
- Alliance for School Choice
- Alliance for Worker Freedom
- America’s Future Foundation
- American Council on Science and Health
- American Enterprise Institute
- American Institute for Full Employment
- American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)
- Americans for Tax Reform
- Arkansas Policy Foundation
- Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs
- Atlas Economic Research Foundation
- Atlas Society
- Beacon Center of Tennessee
- Beacon Hill Institute
- Becket Fund
- Bluegrass Institute
- Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions
- Business & Media Institute
- Calvert Institute
- Cascade Policy Institute
- Cato Institute
- Center for Consumer Freedom
- Center for College Affordability and Productivity
- Center for Equal Opportunity
- Center for Health Transformation
- Center for Immigration Studies
- Center for International Private Enterprise
- Center for Strategic and International Studies
- Center of the American Experiment
- Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation
- Citizens Against Government Waste
- Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy
- Club For Growth
- Commonwealth Foundation
- Competitive Enterprise Institute
- Council for Affordable Health Insurance
- Empire Center for New York State Policy
- Ethan Allen Institute
- Evergreen Freedom Foundation
- Federalist Society
- Foreign Policy Research Institute
- Fraser Institute
- Foundation for Defense of Democracies
- Foundation for Educational Choice
- Foundation for Education Reform & Accountability
- Foundation for Research on Economics & the Environment
- Free Congress Foundation
- Free State Foundation
- Galen Institute
- Georgia Public Policy Foundation
- Goldwater Institute
- Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
- Great Plains Public Policy Institute
- Heartland Institute
- The Heritage Foundation
- Heritage Libertad
- Hoover Institution
- Hudson Institute
- Illinois Policy Institute
- IMANI Center for Policy & Education
- Independence Institute
- Independent Institute
- Institute for Health Freedom
- Institute for Energy Research
- Institute for Humane Studies
- Institute for Justice
- Institute for Market Economics
- Institute for Marriage and Public Policy
- Institute for Policy Innovation
- Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation
- Institute of Economic Affairs
- Intercollegiate Studies Institute
- International Policy Network
- International Republican Institute
- James Madison Institute
- John Jay Institute for Faith, Society & Law
- John Locke Foundation
- Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy
- Kansas Policy Institute
- Landmark Legal Foundation
- Leadership Institute
- Lexington Institute
- Mackinac Center for Public Policy
- Maine Heritage Policy Center
- Manhattan Institute
- Maryland Public Policy Institute
- Mercatus Center
- Mississippi Center for Public Policy
- National Center for Policy Analysis
- National Center for Public Policy Research
- National Taxpayers Union
- Nevada Policy Research Institute
- North Dakota Policy Council
- Ocean State Policy Research Institute
- Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs
- Pacific Research Institute
- Palmetto Family Council
- PERC - The Property and Environment Research Center
- Philanthropy Roundtable
- Phoenix Center
- Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research
- Progress & Freedom Foundation
- Property Rights Alliance
- Public Interest Institute
- Public Policy Foundation of West Virginia
- Reason Foundation
- Rio Grande Foundation
- Sam Adams Alliance
- Science and Public Policy Institute
- Show-Me Institute
- South Carolina Policy Council
- State Policy Network
- Sutherland Institute
- The Tax Foundation
- Texas Public Policy Foundation
- Thomas B. Fordham Foundation
- Thomas Jefferson Institute
- Virginia Institute for Public Policy
- Washington Legal Foundation
- Washington Policy Center
- Wisconsin Policy Research Institute
- Yankee Institute for Public Policy
- Young America’s Foundation
Recent Policy Studies
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy e-21, e21: Economic Policies for the 21st CenturyCommentary, 10/13/2011
The latest battle in the ongoing war for the future of financial intermediation is currently unfolding in the high balance mortgage space. As of October 1, the Federal government’s agencies – the Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac – are unable to guarantee or purchase loans with unpaid principal balances in excess of $625,000. This means that households seeking to borrow more than this amount will be thrown to the mercy of the market. The outcome of this battle will be telling because if the private sector cannot be trusted to set the terms and conditions for collateralized loans made to high income households, it’s not much of a leap to suspect the war will end in the full socialization of credit risk.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Jason Delisle, e21: Economic Policies for the 21st CenturyCommentary, 10/13/2011
The Department of Energy loan guarantee program backs private financing for innovative projects that produce energy with low greenhouse gas emissions. Congress has provided most of the lending authority in the program ($34 billion to date) under something called “self-pay.” It is the only federal loan program with such a rule. An energy project that wins a loan guarantee from the DOE under the self-pay program has to pay the government a fee that DOE and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) estimate will fully cover the cost of the guarantee. When companies argue that DOE’s fees are too high, members of Congress have been more than willing to put pressure on OMB and DOE. DOE can only be too willing to give in to these pressures and set a fee low enough to subsidize borrowers, and therefore, too low to fully compensate taxpayers as the self-pay program requires.
EducationBy Charles Blahous, e21: Economic Policies for the 21st CenturyCommentary, 10/13/2011
The White House’s claim that the American Jobs Act will “support” nearly 400,000 education jobs is based on assumptions and we are left with a number that draws no clear connection between the policy advocated and the results claimed. Estimated number of educator jobs at risk is based on assumptions of how projected shortfalls in state budgets would be filled; the assumption being that spending cuts would be applied proportionally across all categories. Another assumption made is that in the absence of these federal appropriations, states would make no effort to prioritize education spending relative to across-the-board budget cuts. Federal funding is to be credited with “supporting” any “job at risk” that is not lost, without accounting for displacement effects. By this standard, virtually any advocate could claim that an opposing approach to funding education at the state level would “support nearly 400,000 jobs” – almost irrespective of the specific policy.
Information TechnologyBy Bartlett D. Cleland, Institute for Policy InnovationQuick Study, 10/13/2011
The City of Longmont, Colorado is considering providing not only Wi-Fi but also a whole package of telecommunications services, from voice to broadband to video, which would put the municipality in direct competition with multiple private companies. Longmont is no stranger to challenges and failures with municipal networks. While taxpayer funds were expended in 1997, 14 years later the promised potential has never materialized, despite two private service provider attempts (in 2001 and 2007) and failures. Should a government, which after all, takes revenue from its citizens ultimately under threat of force, risk that capital on a business venture? Adopting the failed model of municipal networks is a mistake, as many municipalities across the country can attest. If any initiative to deploy broadband technology must be supported, then it should instead support the expansion of broadband into truly unserved, or underserved, rural areas using market incentives.
Information TechnologyBy Tom Giovanetti, Institute for Policy InnovationIssue Brief, 10/13/2011
Because intellectual property (IP) protection is critical to the U.S. economy and serves the interests of a secure and content rich Internet ecosystem, it is reasonable and within the realm of sound policy to discretely target rogue websites through a Protect IP Act that preserves due process and other legal protections while not creating undue compliance burdens and legal liability for third parties. While no one believes that any law can entirely eliminate online distribution of pirated and counterfeit goods, the Protect IP Act would at least create a legal structure for blocking access to websites determined to be dealing in counterfeit medicines and consumer goods, pirated books, movies, music and software. Further, the more securely we are able to protect creative goods online, the more we facilitate new and exciting business models for the creation and distribution of creative goods.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy David Addington, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 10/13/2011
Congress enacted the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010 in the wake of a financial crisis followed by a serious economic recession. Regrettably, many of the provisions of the Dodd–Frank Act contravene basic American principles and inhibit rather than advance economic growth. Congress should review the Dodd–Frank Act and repeal or correct those provisions, starting with provisions that intrude upon the role of the states and shareholders in corporate internal governance, intrude into the functions of the judicial branch and deny companies a reasonable opportunity to defend themselves in court, hamper the effective functioning of mortgage markets, and create a largely unsupervised new federal agency to regulate consumer finance.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Robert Callahan, Ray Walser, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 10/13/2011
It is a safe bet that Daniel Ortega will be Nicaragua’s next president on November 6. As leader of the disciplined Sandinista party, the 65-year-old former Marxist-Leninist rebel faces a fragmented and poorly funded opposition. He has a robust campaign chest thanks to nearly $2 billion dispensed over the past four years by his Venezuelan soul mate, Hugo Chavez. He exercises increasing influence over, or outright control of, most Nicaraguan television and radio stations. Despite these advantages, Ortega may also resort to electoral fraud on a massive scale. If he does, the U.S. should be prepared to challenge the legitimacy of the elections and potentially cut future economic assistance.
Budget & TaxationBy Michael Sanera, Terry Stoops, John Locke FoundationRegional Brief, 10/12/2011
Orange County commissioners are asking voters for a $2.5 million sales-tax increase at a time of high unemployment. Twice before Orange County voters rejected tax increases. It seems that commissioners are attempting to win approval this time by cynically manipulating the process. Turnout is likely to be low in the rural county precincts, where they are less likely to vote for an increase, because there are no candidates on the ballot, while urban voters, who are more likely to support an increase, are more likely to turn out because they will also be voting for candidates for city offices. Additionally, promises to spend the increased tax money for schools and economic development are attempts to gain support of special-interest groups and motivate them to vote for the tax increase.
Regulation & DeregulationBy James Gattuso, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 10/12/2011
This week the House Judiciary Committee plans to vote on a bill to make Congress explicitly accountable for federal regulations. Introduced by Representative Geoff Davis (R–KY), H.R. 10, the “Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny” (REINS) Act, would require Congress to approve major new rules before they can take effect. REINS would significantly change the way regulations are imposed. Congress would no longer be able to pass hazy legislation and disclaim further responsibility. By increasing Congress’s accountability for regulatory policy, it would end the shell game for responsibility that Members have long played. Requiring explicit congressional approval for new rules is no panacea for excessive regulation, but it is a common-sense step forward.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Commonwealth Foundation, Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy AlternativesPolicy Points, 10/12/2011
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) serves as the monopolistic seller of wine and spirits in the commonwealth. House Bill 11 proposes to sell off the PLCB’s retail stores, wholesale and distribution operations, current inventory of wine and spirits, and redefine the PLCB as the licenser and regulator of private retailers and distributors. To improve upon this, arbitrary caps on the number of liquor stores should be removed, unnecessary barriers to entry and protections against competition should be eliminated, and taxes paid by consumers should be lowered. This would generate more competition, better selection, lower prices, and convenience for the consumer.
EducationBy Priya Abraham, Nathan Benefield, Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy AlternativesReport, 10/12/2011
By allowing children to learn online and at home, cyber schools cater to students with a variety of unique needs and have become a viable, cost-efficient, accountable, and quality educational option for tens of thousands of students and their families. Blended learning also offers much promise: By incorporating interactive learning and technology, it gives schools the opportunity to track student learning and pace instruction for every child, improving academic performance and interest. Online learning can save money on facilities and hiring teachers—while expanding educational opportunities for children—creating a way to maintain academic standards in an era of stretched school budgets. As examples from Pennsylvania and across the country show, no single model of online learning will fit every school or community, but it is rapidly shaping the way America educates its children for the better.
Information TechnologyBy James Gattuso, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 10/12/2011
Google—incorporated 13 years ago by college students Larry Page and Sergey Brin—is an American success story. Armed with little more but a graduate thesis and a few algorithms, the firm remade the Internet, providing individuals the world over with unimaginably easy access to information of all kinds. In the process, Page and Brin’s company would become one of the world’s largest, with $30 billion in annual revenue and over 28,000 jobs created. The company has been one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dismal economy the past few years, continuing to grow—and to create jobs—throughout the downturn. With joblessness at nearly 10 percent, one would think this would be cause for celebration by policymakers. But instead, Google’s success has made it a target for antitrust actions to restrict its activities. Such restrictions would be unnecessary and harmful.
National SecurityBy James Carafano, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 10/12/2011
On October 11 in New York, the Justice Department charged Manssor Arbabsiar, an Iranian-born naturalized U.S. citizen, and Gholam Shakuri with an array of charges related to a plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S., Adel al-Jubeir, by bombing a public venue in Washington, D.C. The plotters stated that they were unconcerned if innocent civilians died in the attack. This threat was uncovered when the plotters contacted an informant for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency in Mexico who claimed he could hire a transnational criminal cartel to undertake the attack. This represents at least the 42nd foiled terrorist plot aimed at the U.S. since the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York City and Washington. It also highlights the lack of attention the Obama Administration has paid to the threat of state-sponsored terrorism.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Richard L. Gordon, Cato InstitutePolicy Analysis, 10/12/2011
The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the ensuing political firestorm brought to the fore some longstanding problems associated with the regulation of commercial activities of all kinds on federal lands. Unfortunately, the Democratic reform proposals fail to address the underlying problems that have contributed to regulatory dysfunction. Worse, they veer off into tangential campaigns against foreign oil imports, oil consumption, and climate change. Examination of both President Obama’s reform proposals and the main piece of Democratic legislation designed to address the spill—the American Clean Energy and Security Act (the so-called Waxman–Markey Bill)—suggest that the spill is being used as a pretext to advance dubious policy agendas that have little to do with the spill itself.
EducationBy John Bailey, American Enterprise InstituteSpecial Report, 10/12/2011
In areas such as health care, green energy, and space exploration, the federal government has actively sought ways to engage the private sector by eliminating regulatory barriers that impede new entrepreneurs from launching ventures or providing a mix of funding and financing programs to support innovators in areas policymakers have deemed important to the country’s future. The federal government’s posture, however, has been entirely different with respect to engaging the private sector in addressing one of the country’s most serious challenges—improving education. Instead of involving the private sector, education policymakers have actually created policy and funding barriers that skew support to nonprofits and prevent for-profits from participating in programs aimed at improving teaching or learning. These barriers exist at nearly every level of government—local, state, and federal—further isolating education from potential innovations and discouraging entrepreneurship.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Benjamin Zycher, American Enterprise InstituteBook, 10/12/2011
What is the outlook for renewable energy in electricity generation—particularly wind and solar power—as a substitute for such conventional fuels as coal and natural gas? Economist Benjamin Zycher evaluates the central arguments in favor of policies that would expand the use of renewables and concludes that all are deeply problematic. “Renewable” energy sources are far costlier than conventional fuels; and they create their own set of serious problems. The popular argument that increased use of renewables will create “green jobs” is likewise a fallacy: Such employment would be an economic drag, and because wind and solar power are costly and inefficient, the net economic impact is a negative one. Resource uses emerging from market competition are the best guides to effective, sustainable energy policies.
Budget & TaxationBy Matthew Mitchell, Nick Tuszynski, Mercatus CenterWorking Paper, 10/12/2011
U.S. fiscal policy at the federal, state, and local level is on an unsustainable path. While reformers should look for ways to reduce spending on particular budget items, tomorrow’s legislatures may easily reverse these cuts. In contrast, a change in the rules that govern the political process can have a lasting effect on spending for years to come. Codified in statutes and in constitutions, these institutions include the rules of budgeting, electioneering, and legislating. They influence the decisions of legislators, governors, presidents, bureaucrats, voters, and even lobbyists. As such, institutional reform can be a more effective and sustainable path to fiscal probity than a one-time budget cut. This paper summarizes the empirical investigations of sixteen state-level institutions. The lesson for both state and federal policy makers is that there are a number of institutional reforms that seem likely to put spending on a more sustainable path.
International Trade/FinanceBy Donald J. Boudreaux, Institute of Economic AffairsEconomic Affairs, 10/12/2011
A theoretical case can be made to justify trade protectionism on the ground that foreign governments are subsidising export industries. This case is based on overall international welfare grounds. However, the country receiving the subsidized products benefits from the subsidies. Furthermore, imposing retaliatory protectionist measures risks encouraging rent-seeking behaviour. In practice, it is impossible to define exactly what behaviour does and does not amount to the grant of subsidies by the government of an exporting country.
Budget & TaxationBy Eileen Norcross, Benjamin VanMetre, Mercatus CenterWorking Paper, 10/12/2011
After more than a decade of failing to balance the state’s budget, the Illinois legislature and Governor Pat Quinn presented the FY 2012 budget, “designed to help Illinois return to fiscal stability.” The strategy presented includes, Illinois Working, a plan to “provide streamlined, efficient state government, foster economic growth, and develop the jobs of today and tomorrow.” The governor also signed into law Budgeting for Results, a spending reform which mandates that budget decisions be based on performance and impact, not politics. While these strategies sound meaningful they are unlikely to work, as they fail to identify the underlying causes for the rapid growth in spending in the state’s budget. The legislature and governor continue to focus on revenue enhancements through increased taxation and borrowing, instead of institutional spending reforms, thus making it unlikely that the state will avoid serious fiscal repercussions in the near future.
Budget & TaxationBy Veronique de Rugy, Adam Thierer, Mercatus CenterMercatus on Policy, 10/12/2011
With most state lawmakers facing large budget deficits, they have become more aggressive about collecting online sales taxes. And now, Congress is considering blessing a multistate compact that would permit states to impose such taxes on interstate commerce, ending a 15-year long debate. A better solution to the states’ fiscal problems than a tax cartel that imposes burdensome tax collection obligations on out-of-state vendors would be tax competition. Congress should adopt an “origin-based” sourcing rule for any states seeking to impose sales tax collection obligations on interstate vendors. This rule would be in line with Constitutional protections for interstate commerce, allow for the continued growth of the digital economy, and ensure excessive, inefficient taxes do not burden companies and consumers.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Irwin Stelzer, Hudson InstituteBriefing Paper, 10/12/2011
Antitrust lives, to the consternation of the powers-that-be at AT&T, who persuaded themselves that their plan to acquire T-Mobile for $39 billion would escape challenge. According to the Antitrust Division the acquisition “would combine two of the four largest competitors in the marketplace, and would eliminate T-Mobile, an aggressive competitor, from the market.” Antitrust laws are once again deemed a weapon to be used if competition is threatened. We can thank AT&T and the Department of Justice for reminding us that a competitive economy is essential to economic growth and the policies to preserve competition deserve some attention.
National SecurityBy Roger F. Noriega, José R. Cárdenas, American Enterprise InstituteLatin American Outlook, 10/12/2011
Over the last several years Hezbollah and its patrons in Iran have greatly expanded their operations in Latin America to the detriment of inter-American security and US strategic interests. Today, Hezbollah is using the Western Hemisphere as a staging ground, fundraising center, and operational base to wage asymmetric warfare against the United States. Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez and other anti-American governments in the region have facilitated this expansion by rolling out the welcome mats for Hezbollah and Iran. US policymakers must increase their attention to this problem, expand their assets in the region, and develop a comprehensive strategy to combat this threat in a sustained and meaningful way.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Wayne Crews, Competitive Enterprise InstituteIssue Analysis, 10/12/2011
When lawmakers neglect runaway federal regulation—the ongoing debt crisis notwithstanding—they disregard the biggest threat Washington poses to economic health, enterprise, and jobs. Regulatory compliance costs—the unbudgeted costs of federal paperwork, as well as environmental, financial, economic, and health and safety rules—occupy heights equivalent to total annual federal budgetary costs in the 1990s. Rules issue from over 50 departments, agencies and commissions by the thousands, and rarely does Congress clear out old rules. Agency personnel issue “guidance documents” that can escape even limited procedural scrutiny. Ultimately, voters need the ability to hold Congress directly accountable for regulations by requiring congressional approval of new rules. Greater ongoing oversight might dampen the tendency to overregulate in the future, thus creating pressure for a “regulatory ceiling” to parallel the fiscal debt ceiling. Regulation does not control itself, and agencies will not apply the brakes.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Larry R. Pilot, Competitive Enterprise InstituteIssue Analysis, 10/12/2011
The United States has long been the home to cutting-edge innovations in the medical device industry, a remarkable private enterprise success that has improved or extended the lives of millions of people. However, increasingly burdensome regulatory policy is driving pioneering research and development to Europe and to the rest of the world. Nevertheless, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and self-styled public health advocates are engaged in an assault on the primary regulatory pathway through which new products reach the market. This could lead to further erosion of U.S. leadership in this important field.
Economic GrowthBy Pamela Villarreal, Peter Swanson, National Center for Policy AnalysisBrief Analysis, 10/11/2011
As the United States recovers from the 2008 recession, many consider any employment growth to be a good sign. But uncertainties about future tax and health care costs could be inhibiting permanent job growth, shifting more of the labor force to temporary and part-time employment. If wages and salaries remain fairly constant, but the cost of health care and retirement benefits grows, employers will be more likely to use a temporary worker from a staffing agency. This gives an employer the flexibility to staff for demand, while avoiding the cost of a permanent employee.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & Science
Wealth and Safety: The Amazing Decline in Deaths from Extreme Weather in an Era of Global Warming, 1900–2010By Indur M. Goklany, Julian Morris, Reason FoundationPolicy Study, 10/11/2011
Proponents of drastic curbs on greenhouse gas emissions claim that such emissions cause global warming and that this exacerbates the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. But what matters is not the incidence of extreme weather events per se but the impact of such events. Aggregate mortality attributed to all extreme weather events globally has declined by more than 90% since the 1920s. To put the public health impact of extreme weather events into context, cumulatively they now contribute only 0.07% to global mortality. The decreases in the numbers of deaths and death rates reflect a remarkable improvement in society’s adaptive capacity, likely due to greater wealth and better technology, enabled in part by use of hydrocarbon fuels. Imposing additional restrictions on the use of hydrocarbon fuels may slow the rate of improvement of this adaptive capacity and thereby worsen any negative impact of climate change.
Transportation/InfrastructureBy Robert W. Poole Jr., Reason FoundationPolicy Study, 10/11/2011
The rural Interstate program to rebuild and modernize the Interstate highways of Wisconsin is estimated to cost a total of $26.2 billion between now and 2040. Funding of this magnitude almost certainly will not be available from existing state and federal transportation sources. This study finds that value-added tolling could be that new revenue source. Using up-to-date estimates of construction costs and moderate levels of toll rates for cars and trucks, the rural Interstate reconstruction program appears to be fundable based solely on toll revenue.
ImmigrationBy James Jay Carafano, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 10/11/2011
From the last century, America learned that growing the economy also promotes the free flow of goods, people, services, and ideas. From the last decade, America learned that “smart” security can prevent terrorists, transnational criminals, and other malicious actors from exploiting the networks that facilitate travel among nations. Initiatives such as consolidating watch lists and checking flight manifests have done much to make terrorist travel more difficult. It is time to fuse those two experiences together and adopt visa reforms that promote travel to the U.S. and promote better security. Recently Representative Joe Heck (R–NV) introduced H.R. 3039, the Welcoming Business Travelers and Tourists to America Act of 2011, which aims to do just that. This bill contains several needed reforms that, in conjunction with other initiatives, could do much to make America more open, secure, and prosperous.
Health CareBy James Sherk, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 10/11/2011
President Obama’s health care law requires employers to offer health benefits to full-time employees. This employer mandate will price many unskilled workers out of full-time employment. After paying the new health premiums, the minimum wage, payroll taxes, and unemployment insurance taxes, hiring a full-time worker will cost employers at least $10.03 per hour. Full-time workers with family health plans will cost $13.75 per hour. Employers who hire workers with productivity below these rates will lose money. Businesses employing less skilled workers will probably respond by dumping their employees onto the federally subsidized health care exchanges and replacing full-time positions with part-time jobs.
Budget & TaxationBy Curtis Dubay, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 10/11/2011
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D–NV) dusted off the economically frightening millionaire tax hike that has repeatedly failed to pass Congress, to pay for President Obama’s jobs plan (American Jobs Act of 2011, S. 1660) after Senate Democrats rejected the tax hikes the President proposed to pay for his bill. This is the third time in the past two years that congressional Democrats have proposed a millionaire tax. The first time it was a 5.4 percent surtax to pay for health care reform. The second time was in “the People’s Budget” released by the Congressional Progressive Caucus. It failed to garner much support either time. If the third time is the charm for the millionaire tax to become law, the economy would suffer lasting damage and reduced international competitiveness. And American workers would bear the brunt of the pain.
International Trade/FinanceBy Bryan Riley, Terry Miller, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 10/11/2011
The 2012 rankings of trade freedom around the world indicate that trade freedom in the world has remained constant or regressed slightly since 2011. The lack of improvement is regrettable because countries with the most trade freedom have the highest per capita gross domestic product, the lowest incidence of hunger, and the cleanest environments. The U.S. needs to resume its global leadership on trade freedom by encouraging a successful, prompt conclusion to the Doha Round; implementing the free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea; and eliminating U.S. trade barriers.
Economic GrowthBy James Sherk, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 10/11/2011
The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ September employment report finds a stalled labor market. The unemployment rate remained flat at 9.1 percent. After accounting for the end of the Verizon strike, private-sector employers created a net 92,000 new jobs. While government employment fell by 34,000 jobs, government employees continue to enjoy the lowest unemployment rate of any industry. The report contained a few hopeful indicators, but these mostly represented statistical corrections from previous decreases, not new upward trends.