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  • Issue Brief posted June 24, 2016 by Justin Bogie Time to End “Zombie” Appropriations

    A growing problem on Capitol Hill has been the expanding practice of Congress appropriating funds to so-called zombie programs, which are programs that have never been authorized or are operating under an expired authorization. Under House and Senate rules, an appropriation cannot be made for a purpose unless separate authorizing legislation has been passed into law.…

  • Backgrounder posted June 13, 2016 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., Jack Spencer, Bridget Mudd, Katie Tubb Science Policy: Priorities and Reforms for the 45th President

    Federal involvement in science and technology is far-reaching, spanning all three branches of government. It has developed over decades from wartime objectives, layers of legislation, diverse presidential Administrations, and growing regulation. Federal participation in science and technology has aided the nation in meeting national security needs and exploring the…

  • Commentary posted June 9, 2016 by Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D. A Blueprint for Balance

    Which takes up a greater percentage of the federal budget — national defense or entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare? Even if you picked the right answer (entitlements), you may be surprised by the gap between the two. National defense accounts for 16 percent of the federal budget. Entitlements? 52 percent. Social Security alone dwarfs defense spending,…

  • Issue Brief posted June 8, 2016 by Justin Bogie Congress Should Look Toward Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill as a Starting Point for Spending Cuts

    This week, the House of Representatives will consider the annual legislative branch appropriations bill, the third of 12 appropriations bills providing discretionary funding for the federal government. This bill provides funding for: Congress; the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP); the Government Publishing Office (GPO); the Government Accountability Office…

  • Commentary posted May 27, 2016 by Romina Boccia Boccia: Federal Budget Trumps Election Woes

    With the media focused so heavily on the presidential election, perhaps it’s not surprising that few are paying attention as Congress takes up its annual spending bills. Besides, President Obama has said for years that our budget deficit is lessening, so we shouldn’t worry about it anymore, right? Wrong: Budget data paint a very different picture. A picture of the…

  • Backgrounder posted April 28, 2016 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. The Myth of Financial Market Deregulation

    A persistent myth regarding the 2008 financial crisis is that it was caused by deregulation of financial markets. All such claims are wrong. From an aggregate perspective, the industry has always been regulated, and there has never been a substantial reduction in financial regulations in the U.S. during the past 100-plus years. Instead, this time period has included an…

  • Issue Brief posted April 25, 2016 by Justin Bogie, Daren Bakst, Nicolas Loris, Katie Tubb 2017 Senate Energy and Water Appropriations: Bill Falls Short on Key Policies

    This week, the Energy and Water Development appropriations bill is expected to be debated on the Senate floor. The first of 12 appropriations bills providing discretionary funding for the federal government, the bill provides funding for projects under the direction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, the Department…

  • Commentary posted April 4, 2016 by Genevieve Wood Curing Lawmakers' Addiction to Spending

    Congress is at it again. The budget train is about to leave the station, and guess what's on board? Almost $60 billion more than what House Republicans proposed in last year's budget. And this is happening in a Congress controlled by Republicans, the party that claims to be for limited government and fiscal discipline. This is a departure from the GOP's rightful…

  • Backgrounder posted March 28, 2016 by Justin T. Johnson, Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D., James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., Dean Cheng, Luke Coffey, Lisa Curtis, Michaela Dodge, David Inserra, Bruce Klingner, Walter Lohman, James Phillips, Ana Quintana, Bryan Riley, Brian Slattery, Charles "Cully" Stimson, Dakota Wood, Rachel Zissimos The 2017 NDAA Should Begin Rebuilding America’s Military

    The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is an annual bill that sets policies and budgets for the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). This bill and the defense appropriations bill are Congress’s two annual major pieces of defense legislation. With the release of the Obama Administration’s fiscal year (FY) 2017 budget request, Congress has begun working on the NDAA.…

  • Commentary posted March 22, 2016 by David Inserra EU Threatens Retaliation Against U.S. Travelers

    For those Americans hoping to visit Europe this year, the U.S. government may have made your life more difficult. Last year’s omnibus appropriations bill included a provision that restricted a program that allows some foreigners to visit the U.S. without a visa. The problem is that the program is a reciprocal arrangement. So when we restricted our program, it gave…

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  • Backgrounder posted February 5, 2013 by Jason Richwine, Ph.D. Nine Fallacies Used to Defend Public-Sector Pensions

    The generosity of retirement benefits for government employees has become a major political issue, as policymakers at all levels of government struggle with budget deficits in the midst of a weak economy. Government employees do enjoy retirement benefits that are often several times greater than the retirement benefits of comparable private-sector workers.[1] This…

  • Lecture posted November 6, 2014 by Bob Goodlatte The President’s Duty to Faithfully Execute the Law

    The Honorable Bob Goodlatte A‌braham Lincoln is often paraphrased as saying, “The best way ‌to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly.” While that paraphrase summarizes the gist of what Lincoln was saying, the full text of his remark is worth repeating. In 1838, early in his career, Abraham Lincoln delivered an address to the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield,…

  • Backgrounder posted September 11, 2012 by Jason Richwine, Ph.D. Government Employees Work Less than Private-Sector Employees

    Abstract: The stereotype of the underworked government employee is frequently invoked in criticisms of public-sector employment. But does the average public employee really work less than the average private employee? To provide an objective answer, this paper uses the American Time Use Survey, which produces a detailed listing of personal activities on a given day for…

  • Issue Brief posted June 5, 2015 by Ryan Olson To Avoid Trade Diversion, Congress Should Liberalize Rules of Origin

    Regional trade agreements (RTAs) have played an important role in global trade liberalization. However, a major weakness of such liberalization is trade diversion. Trade diversion occurs when regions liberalize at an uneven pace and this liberalization redirects trade flows to trade agreement beneficiaries. For example, when the U.S. signs a trade agreement with one…

  • Backgrounder posted March 31, 2015 by Daren Bakst Achievable Economic Policy Reforms for Congress

    Congress can pass legislation this year that would make a significant difference in the lives of Americans. Despite the perception of partisan gridlock, broad support exists for many important domestic economic policy reforms. These policies are ambitious but achievable, and, if adopted, would promote economic growth, empower individuals, and reduce government waste.…

  • Issue Brief posted December 27, 2012 by Diane Katz, James L. Gattuso The 10 Worst Regulations of 2012

    During 2012, virtually every aspect of American life, from caloric intake to dishwasher efficiency, was subjected to government meddling. Most of these rules increase the cost of living, others hinder job creation, and many erode freedom. Not all regulations are unwarranted, of course, but increasingly, the rules imposed by the government have less to do with health and…

  • Legal Memorandum posted February 12, 2014 by Elizabeth Slattery, Andrew Kloster An Executive Unbound: The Obama Administration’s Unilateral Actions

    “We can’t wait for an increasingly dysfunctional Congress to do its job. Where they won’t act, I will.” —President Barack Obama[1] The rule of law is a bedrock principle of Anglo–American jurisprudence. It stands for the belief that all—including government officials—are subject to the law and not above it. America’s Founding Fathers understood this principle, and the…

  • Issue Brief posted October 31, 2014 by David Inserra Five Questions the Secret Service Review Panel Must Answer

    A ‌series of alarming security breaches have caused ‌many to question the Secret Service’s ability to protect the President.[1] In the wake of these events, an independent four-member review panel—two senior officials each from the Bush and Obama Administrations—will investigate the Secret Service’s recent security breaches and advise the Department of Homeland Security…

  • Issue Brief posted January 28, 2013 by Derek Scissors, Ph.D. A Better Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States

    According to The Heritage Foundation’s China Global Investment Tracker, Chinese non-bond investment in the U.S. set a record in 2012.[1] China has $3.3 trillion in foreign reserves and, like other fast-growing economies, wants to invest more here. Foreign investment and other commerce benefits America, but there are understandable concerns about the loss of advanced…

  • Commentary posted October 23, 2013 by James L. Gattuso Congressional checks and balances aren’t in the mail

    Spare change is hard to find at the U.S. Postal Service nowadays. The nation's mail service started October by defaulting on a payment due to the U.S. Treasury and is down to less than 10 days of cash on hand. The USPS is expected to muddle through the crunch, but its financial problems won’t go away. The mail delivery business is in long-term decline. Without…

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  • Backgrounder posted June 13, 2016 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., Jack Spencer, Bridget Mudd, Katie Tubb Science Policy: Priorities and Reforms for the 45th President

    Federal involvement in science and technology is far-reaching, spanning all three branches of government. It has developed over decades from wartime objectives, layers of legislation, diverse presidential Administrations, and growing regulation. Federal participation in science and technology has aided the nation in meeting national security needs and exploring the…

  • Issue Brief posted April 25, 2016 by Justin Bogie, Daren Bakst, Nicolas Loris, Katie Tubb 2017 Senate Energy and Water Appropriations: Bill Falls Short on Key Policies

    This week, the Energy and Water Development appropriations bill is expected to be debated on the Senate floor. The first of 12 appropriations bills providing discretionary funding for the federal government, the bill provides funding for projects under the direction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, the Department…

  • Backgrounder posted December 21, 2015 by Bryan Riley, Ambassador Terry Miller 2016 Index of Economic Freedom: Yet More Evidence of Free Trade’s Benefits

    The latest rankings of trade freedom around the world,[1] included by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal in the forthcoming 2016 Index of Economic Freedom, confirm that citizens of countries that embrace free trade are better off than those in countries that do not. The data continue to show a strong correlation between trade freedom and a variety of…

  • Issue Brief posted November 24, 2015 by Rachel Greszler Time to Cut Out the SSA as Middleman in SSDI Representation

    Unlike traditional attorney-client relationships in which the client pays the attorney at the conclusion of a case, attorneys who represent Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claimants receive payment directly from the Social Security Administration (SSA), even though it is not the SSA’s money. SSDI claimants enter into private contracts with representatives to…

  • Backgrounder posted October 23, 2015 by Rachel Greszler Improving Social Security Disability Insurance with a Flat Benefit

    Social Security’s Disability Insurance (SSDI) program has existed for nearly 60 years. Over that time, it has morphed from a relatively small-scale, anti-poverty program into a massive system that provides benefits to one out of every 20 working-age individuals. Despite its size and expense, the program fails to keep millions out of poverty. Rather than maintaining the…

  • Backgrounder posted October 20, 2015 by Bryan Riley, Anthony B. Kim Freedom to Trade: A Guide for Policymakers

    Freedom to trade—the freedom to exchange goods and services openly with others—is as fundamental to human well-being as any right guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. Indeed, the freedom to trade is the foundation of America’s modern economic system that provides historically unprecedented opportunities for individuals to achieve greater economic freedom and…

  • Issue Brief posted October 20, 2015 by Steven P. Bucci, Ph.D., David Inserra The Rising Tide of Migrants and Refugees: Due Diligence and Adherence to Law Required

    Europe has been dealing with an overwhelming influx of refugees and migrants from the Middle East and other areas. What is often called the Syrian refugee crisis involves the largest numbers of migrating people that Europe has seen since World War II. The vast number of refugees—Germany alone is expecting up to 1.5 million people by the end of the year[1]—will eventually…

  • Backgrounder posted July 29, 2015 by Romina Boccia Social Security: $39 Billion Deficit in 2014, Insolvent by 2035

    Social Security’s main program, also known as Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI), ran a $39 billion deficit in 2014, closing out five years of consecutive cash-flow deficits as the program’s unfunded obligations continue to grow.[1] According to the 2015 annual Trustees’ Report, the 75-year unfunded obligation of the Social Security OASI Trust Fund is $9.43 trillion,…

  • Backgrounder posted July 24, 2015 by Rachel Greszler Social Security Trustees: Disability Insurance Program Will Be Insolvent in 2016

    A‌ccording to the 2015 Social Security Trustees Report, the Social ‌Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Trust Fund is on course to run dry in 2016, six decades after the program began in 1956.[1] Absent reform, disability benefits will be cut across the board by almost 20 percent, and the average disabled worker’s benefit will fall below the federal poverty level. For…

  • Issue Brief posted July 24, 2015 by James Phillips, Luke Coffey, Michaela Dodge The Iran Nuclear Agreement: Yes, There Is a Better Alternative

    The Obama Administration has argued that there is no better alternative to its controversial nuclear agreement with Iran. But rather than cutting off all paths to a nuclear weapon, as the Administration initially promised, the so-called Vienna Agreement only temporarily slows down Iran’s progress toward a nuclear weapons capability and, in fact, protects the regime’s…

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Find more work on United States Government