Issue Brief posted April 6, 2016
Rescuing Entitlements and Pensions: Study Shows Americans Can Work Longer
A new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) estimates that Americans can work significantly longer than they currently do. According to the study, Americans could work an additional 2.5 years to 4.2 years on average between the ages of 55 and 69. This is equivalent to a 30 percent to 50 percent increase in employment among this age group.
Issue Brief posted April 1, 2016
Draft House Legislation Falls Short of Priorities for Puerto Rico
Congress should not lose sight of key conservative priorities as it considers whether (and how) to respond to the economic and fiscal crisis in Puerto Rico. The troubled territory has been a laboratory for progressive politics and crony capitalism for decades. Predictably, the government has smothered the private sector, and workers receive a lower share of income in…
Issue Brief posted March 22, 2016
Congress Should Not Give Puerto Rico Federal Tax Subsidies
Policymakers are considering extending federal tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC)—but not the rest of the federal tax code—to Puerto Rico as a way to help the island emerge from its economic and fiscal crisis. This would amount to an expensive cash bailout and would not address the core problems that caused Puerto Rico’s…
Issue Brief posted March 14, 2016
Congress Can Help Pensioners, But Not Through a Bailout
Some lawmakers want to bail out a select group of coal workers’ pensions by tapping a fund designated for environmental cleanup. The Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Fund (AML) is needed for cleanup of abandoned coal mines and should not be used to fund the pension and retiree health benefits of one particular coal miners’ union—the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA).…
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.