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  • Commentary posted January 29, 2016 by Paul Winfree, Romina Boccia Congress Should Spend More Time Budgeting, Not Less

    Government-by-crisis may be the new normal, but it’s highly frustrating—both on Capitol Hill and off.   Some propose easing brinksmanship budgeting by giving Congress fewer budget deadlines to meet. One popular proposal, called biennial budgeting, would extend the budget cycle from one year to two. Proponents argue that this would free up valuable congressional time…

  • Commentary posted January 25, 2016 by Justin T. Johnson 5 Bad Arguments for Cutting U.S. Defense Spending

    We’ve all seen the click-bait headlines.     “You won’t believe how much the U.S. spends on its military.”     “The U.S. spends more than the next 13 countries on defense!” But military spending is a big ticket item, and it’s perfectly legitimate to question military spending. Next month, President Obama will propose his FY2017 budget, and the public debate over…

  • 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 December 10, 2015 by Rachel Greszler The Multiemployer Pension Reform Act: Inadequate Response to Looming Pension Fund Insolvency

    According to the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation’s (PBGC’s) own 2015 annual report, the government entity tasked with insuring private-sector pensions faces a $76.3 billion shortfall.[1] In other words, the backstop that Congress created to prevent workers from losing their promised pensions could be worthless. Without further, significant reforms, the PBGC’s…

  • Backgrounder posted December 4, 2015 by Paul Winfree, Daren Bakst, Rachel Sheffield, James Phillips, Diane Katz, Nicolas Loris, Katie Tubb, Roger Severino, Sarah Torre, Lindsey Burke, James Sherk, Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D., Brett D. Schaefer, David Inserra Important Policy Riders for the FY 2016 Appropriations Bills

    The Constitution unequivocally grants Congress the exclusive power to appropriate funds for the “necessary and proper” operations of government.[1] James Madison wrote in The Federalist No. 58 that providing budgetary powers to Congress was a critical element in maintaining individual rights: “The power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and…

  • Commentary posted December 3, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. If You Want Good Leaders, Make Sure They're Good Thinkers

    Here’s a thought. Perhaps part of the reason the world seems to have gone haywire for America is that our nation’s leaders don’t think as well as they used to—that all our great thinking is behind us. The best prescription for fixing that may lie in how we prepare generals, diplomats and policymakers to lead. Even during the Cold War, America’s best and brightest…

  • Issue Brief posted December 3, 2015 by Michael Sargent Going Nowhere FAST: Highway Bill Exacerbates Major Transportation Funding Problems

    On December 1, a joint House and Senate conference committee reported the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST), a five-year, $305 billion surface transportation authorization. The first multi-year transportation bill considered since 2012, FAST stemmed from similar six-year transportation authorizations: The House’s Surface Transportation Reauthorization and…

  • 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 November 6, 2015 by Justin T. Johnson Assessing Common Arguments for Cutting National Security Spending: Informing Current and Future Budget Debates

    Determining how much the United States should spend on national security is a challenging task. If the U.S. spends too little on national security, potential threats may become realities, costing American blood and treasure. If the U.S. spends too much, the misallocation of resources will add to the debt placed on future generations. This is a difficult balance to strike,…

  • Commentary posted November 5, 2015 by Paul Winfree Abusing our national finances

    In October 2008, Congress raised the debt limit to $11.3 trillion. Then presidential candidate Barack Obama denounced the action as “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic.” But those were the good ol' days, when Congress actually put a statutory limit on the debt. Seven years later, Congress has become only more fiscally irresponsible. Today the national debt has…

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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 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…

  • Backgrounder posted July 22, 2015 by Olivia Enos The U.S. Role in Ensuring that Burma’s Fall 2015 Elections Are “Free and Fair”

    Burma is set to hold parliamentary elections on November 8, 2015. The elections will be a test of Burma’s political reform—a test the U.S. government considers one of the most important for the reform process. Jonathan Stivers, Assistant Administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), stated that the U.S. government “has made a long-standing…

  • Backgrounder posted July 20, 2015 by Rachel Greszler Private Disability Insurance Option Could Help Save SSDI and Improve Individual Well-being

    The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program will run out of money in a little over a year. Absent reforms, SSDI benefits will be cut about 20 percent, bringing the average benefit to below the poverty level. Before jumping to the quickest, allegedly easy, fix—a reallocation of payroll taxes from the Social Security retirement program to SSDI—policymakers need…

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Find more work on United States Government