Issue Brief posted December 10, 2015
Misguided Plan for Puerto Rico Would Set Dangerous Precedent
Puerto Rico faces an imminent financial crisis caused by decades of economically harmful policies, prolific government spending, and broken—if not corrupt—governance.
Claiming that this U.S. territory has no options on its own, the President and some Members of Congress have called for a bailout of Puerto Rico, including access to retroactive bankruptcy and other federal…
Issue Brief posted December 10, 2015
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. 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…
Issue Brief posted November 24, 2015
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…
Issue Brief posted October 28, 2015
Analysis of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015
The federal budget is on a dangerous trajectory and immediate corrective action is required. The U.S. national debt is at $18.1 trillion. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), if the government remains on its currently planned course, it will spend $7 trillion more over the next 10 years than it will receive in taxes, piling on even more debt.
Backgrounder posted October 23, 2015
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…
Issue Brief posted July 27, 2015
An Economic Crisis Is the Heart of Puerto Rico’s Financial Crisis
Puerto Rico faces a severe fiscal crisis, but this is merely a symptom of Puerto Rico’s primary disease: a lack of economic growth. Over the past decade, as Puerto Rico’s debt has expanded rapidly, the economy has contracted more than 10 percent. If the economy were growing, Puerto Rico would be much better positioned to address its fiscal crisis and might have averted it…
Backgrounder posted July 24, 2015
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. 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.
Backgrounder posted July 20, 2015
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…
Backgrounder posted March 26, 2015
Time to End the Federal Subsidy for High-Tax States
Under federal tax law, individuals may deduct the income and property taxes that they pay to their state and local governments. In recent years, individuals have been allowed to choose between deducting their income tax or sales taxes. Because federal tax deductions effectively spread the costs of these deductions across all taxpayers in the form of higher federal tax…
Backgrounder posted September 23, 2014
The Economic and Fiscal Effects of Eliminating the Federal Death Tax
The federal estate tax (often referred to as the death tax) is a tax on a person’s lifetime accumulated property. In 2014, the death tax applies a 40 percent tax to all accumulated wealth above $5.34 million. While the death tax applies to relatively few Americans and raises only tiny amounts of revenue for the federal government, it imposes substantial costs on the…