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  • WebMemo posted March 4, 2009 by David M. Mason Avoiding a Keynesian Rush to Regulate the Financial Markets

    In his address to Congress, President Obama vowed to "move quickly" to reform financial regulation. The next day the President met with economic advisors and Members of Congress to jump-start the effort--that's quick. There is little doubt financial regulation needs improving. But a rushed restructuring would almost certainly do more harm than good. There are at least…

  • Lecture posted February 13, 2002 by David M. Mason Campaign Finance Reform

    In the midst of the controversy over foreign money in the 1996 elections, a pollster asked whether interviewees preferred new campaign finance laws or better enforcement of the laws already on the books. Americans responded quite sensibly that they preferred enforcing the laws we already had. Today, in the wake of a different financial controversy, Congress…

  • Executive Memorandum posted March 25, 1998 by David M. Mason Seven Steps To Budget Process Reform

    The House Budget Committee's Task Force on Budget Process Reform now has the historic opportunity to review the congressional budget process outside the constraints of an economic or budget crisis. The task force should conduct a broad review of the budget process and develop a comprehensive package of remedies. Unless task force members can agree about defects in…

  • Backgrounder posted July 21, 1997 by David M. Mason Why Congress Can't Ban Soft Money

    Introduction Eliminating political party "soft money" and regulating similar spending by groups other than political parties are central features of many proposals that would reform campaign financing. Soft money (defined as money raised and spent outside the regulatory structure for federal election campaigns) has played a growing and increasingly…

  • Executive Memorandum posted June 9, 1997 by David M. Mason Making Pay-Go Pay Off

    Rules governing how Congress writes tax and entitlement legislation (known as pay-go, for pay-as-you-go) are to be extended under the recent budget agreement between President Bill Clinton and congressional leaders. The current rule makes tax cuts more difficult than necessary and fails to limit discretionary spending. Before extending pay-go in the reconciliation…

  • Executive Memorandum posted February 17, 1994 by David M. Mason Time to Resolve the House Post Office Scandal

    When the House of Representatives returns from its current break on February 22, Members will decide how to resolve the House Post Office scandal. Despite the conviction of seven former House employees for Post Office-related crimes, and allegations of improper activity by sitting Members of Congress, the House has failed to investigate the matter properly or even…

  • Executive Memorandum posted February 1, 1993 by David M. Mason REFORM NOW: The House Should Abolish Select Committes

    If Congress is serious about reform -- cutting spending, staff, and the undergrowth of overlapping committees -- there is no better place to start than by eliminating "select committees." Organized around hot-button issues, these panels have large budgets and staff, but lack authority to pass legislation to solve the problems they examine. Tomorrow the House is…

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