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  • Commentary posted July 17, 2014 by David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D. New Brookings Report on Government Failures Ignores Failed Social Programs

    A new Brookings Institution report, “A Cascade of Failures,” by Paul C. Light concludes that the failures of the federal government are accelerating. As the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the federal government continually expand the power and responsibilities of the federal government beyond its core constitutional functions, none of the failures…

  • Issue Brief posted June 13, 2014 by David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D., James Sherk Job-Training Reform: Finding Out What Works

    Last month, congressional negotiators reached a bipartisan deal to reauthorize Department of Labor (DOL) job-training programs. Overall, the compromised legislation, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), continues the funding of federal job-training programs that have a long history of failure based upon the results of large-scale experimental…

  • Commentary posted April 24, 2014 by David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D. Why Are We Expanding the Federal Role in Early-Childhood Education?

    Over the past 50 years, there has been a tremendous amount of research into the plight of the nation's poor children. Compared with children raised in more fortunate circumstances, we know that many disadvantaged children have social and academic skills deficits when they formally enter school. Commenting on the creation of Head Start in 1965—a Great Society preschool…

  • Commentary posted April 16, 2014 by David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D. Wasteful Spending Continues Despite an ‘Evidence-based’ Policy Agenda

    In a New York Times Economix blog post, Laura D’Andrea Tyson, a former White House adviser to President Clinton, and Jonathan Greenblatt,  a current adviser to President Obama, assert that the Obama administration is responding to budgetary constraints by requiring “more evidence-based research on program performance and the reallocation of funds from less-effective…

  • Backgrounder posted March 19, 2014 by David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D. Do Federal Social Programs Work?

    Do federal social programs work? This is a simple question. While the question may be straightforward, however, finding an answer is complicated. To answer in the affirmative, federal social programs must ameliorate the social problems they target. In essence, social programs seek to improve human behavior in ways that will make people better off. For example, the social…

  • Issue Brief posted January 8, 2014 by David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D. Trade Adjustment Assistance: Let the Ineffective and Wasteful Job-Training Program Expire

    Members of Congress should be wary of reauthorizing the ineffective and wasteful Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program. Under the TAA program, workers who lost their jobs due to foreign trade are eligible for job training, relocation allowances, and income maintenance while they attempt to shift into new occupations. On December 31, 2013, the expansions of TAA under…

  • Special Report posted November 21, 2013 by David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D., Patrick Tyrrell The 2013 Index of Dependence on Government

    The Index of Dependence on Government measures the growth in spending on dependence-creating programs that supplant the role of civil society. Dependence on government in the U.S. rose again in 2011, the year of the most recently available data, and which is principally assessed by this report. A solid majority of Americans polled by Rasmussen believe that government…

  • Issue Brief posted July 29, 2013 by David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D. Trade Adjustment Assistance: Another Evaluation Finds the Program to Be Ineffective and Costly

    Under the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program, workers who lost their jobs due to foreign trade are eligible for job training, relocation allowances, and income maintenance while they attempt to shift into new occupations. TAA provides overly generous benefits for a small fraction of laid-off workers.[1] However, is there any evidence that this assistance and…

  • Testimony posted July 23, 2013 by David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D. Evaluating Federal Social Programs: Finding Out What Works and What Does Not

    Testimony before the Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources United States House of Representatives July 17, 2013  David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D. Research Fellow in Empirical Policy Analysis The Heritage Foundation  My name is David Muhlhausen. I am Research Fellow in Empirical Policy Analysis in the Center for Data Analysis at The Heritage Foundation. I…

  • Testimony posted June 26, 2013 by David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D. Do Federal Social Programs for Children Work?

    Testimony before the Committee on the Budget United States Senate June 26, 2013 David Muhlhausen Research Fellow in Empirical Policy Analysis The Heritage Foundation My name is David Muhlhausen. I am Research Fellow in Empirical Policy Analysis in the Center for Data Analysis at The Heritage Foundation. I thank Chairwoman Patty Murray, Ranking Member Jeff Sessions, and…

  • Testimony posted March 18, 2013 by David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D. Business Disaster Reform Act of 2013: Review of Impact and Effectiveness

    Testimony Before the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship United States Senate March 14, 2013 David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D. Introduction My name is David Muhlhausen. I am Research Fellow in Empirical Policy Analysis in the Center for Data Analysis at The Heritage Foundation. I thank Chairwoman Mary Landrieu, Ranking Member James Risch, and the rest of the…

  • Commentary posted February 25, 2013 by Lindsey Burke, David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D. Don't Let Feds Have Your Children

    No doubt about it, President Obama wants to spend even more on government preschool programs, including a "significant expansion" of the federal Early Head Start program. He called for it in his State of the Union Address, then traveled to Atlanta two days later to second his own motion. Specifically, the president wants Early Head Start to enroll a greater number of…

  • Issue Brief posted January 11, 2013 by John L. Ligon, David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D. The Role of GSEs in the Housing Market

    The Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac), the major housing government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), hold dominant positions in the U.S. mortgage market. They have likely passed a mortgage interest rate subsidy of 25–50 basis points to homebuyers through their interventions in the housing market,…

  • Issue Brief posted January 10, 2013 by Lindsey Burke, David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D. Head Start Impact Evaluation Report Finally Released

    In 2008, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) completed data collection for its third-grade follow-up study of Head Start, a federal preschool program designed to improve the kindergarten readiness of low-income children. Four years later, just before Christmas, the agency finally published the results of the congressionally mandated evaluation. The report’s…

  • Issue Brief posted November 29, 2012 by David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D. Fire Grants: Do Not Reauthorize an Ineffective Program

    Senator Joseph Lieberman (I–CT) has filed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (S. 3254) that would reauthorize the ineffective fire grant program. The amendment is a revised version of the Fire Grants Reauthorization Act of 2011 (S. 550), and it reauthorizes a grant program that has significant shortcomings. Ineffective…