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  • Testimony posted February 3, 2016 by Romina Boccia The Debt Limit: A Key Action-Forcing Tool to Control Spending and the Debt

    Testimony before The Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations February 2, 2016 Romina Boccia Grover M. Hermann Research Fellow in Federal Budgetary Affairs and Deputy Director, Roe Institute The Heritage Foundation Chairman Sean P. Duffy, Ranking Member Alan Green, Members of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on…

  • Commentary posted January 29, 2016 by David R. Burton The Case for Flat Consumption Taxes

    The BTT is back in the news. A BTT, or business transfer tax, is a flat-rate consumption tax collected at the business level. Both Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Rand Paul have included one in their presidential platforms. Supporters call it a business activity tax or business flat tax. Critics call it a value-added tax (VAT). They view this as undesirable because they…

  • 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 28, 2016 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. Obama's Misguided Solution to the Keynesian Crisis in Puerto Rico

    Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has sent a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives to update Congress on the Puerto Rican “debt crisis.” Lew is referring to the fact that Puerto Rico has buried itself under a mountain of debt that it’s struggling to repay. Aided by a special tax status, the island’s total debt doubled in the 1980s and 1990s, and has tripled since…

  • Issue Brief posted January 27, 2016 by James L. Gattuso Binge of Regulation: Wireless Pricing and the FCC

    Wireless data caps, the annoying limits on how much data you can use from your phone, have been a fact of mobile life for several years. Now, a new pricing concept in the wireless marketplace, known as “zero-rating,” promises to relieve consumers of the fear that streaming one too many videos will trigger extra charges. But, instead of receiving plaudits, zero-rating has…

  • Commentary posted January 13, 2016 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. The Other Glass-Steagall: The FOMC And The FDIC

    Democratic presidential aspirants Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have dueling financial reform plans. Sanders wants to resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act; Clinton opposes the idea. Sanders thinks the repeal of Glass-Steagall caused the 2008 financial crisis. Clinton denies it. As I wrote in October, one problem with the theory that “repeal of Glass-Steagall caused the…

  • Commentary posted January 6, 2016 by James L. Gattuso, Diane Katz 10 Worst Regulations of 2015

    Like streamers raining down upon New Year’s revelers in Times Square, a torrent of red tape was unleashed on the nation in 2015. Literally thousands of new regulations combined with existing ones to infringe on every aspect of daily life. Justified or not, each one imposes an economic burden and chips away at individual freedom. Which regulations were the worst? Here is…

  • Commentary posted January 5, 2016 by Paul Winfree Congress Needs to Start 2016 on a Diet

    It’s that time when we reflect on the past year while making resolutions for big accomplishments in the year ahead. Come next week, the gyms will be packed, and you’ll hardly be able to find any kale at the grocery. However, fewer than one in 10 actually sticks to their New Year’s resolutions. As it turns out, Congress has a roughly similar success rate when it comes to…

  • Issue Brief posted December 22, 2015 by Curtis S. Dubay JCT Should Not Predict Federal Reserve Actions in Dynamic Scoring

    The Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) provides estimates of the budgetary effects of tax legislation for Congress. In 2015, for the first time, Congress mandated that the JCT provide dynamically scored estimates of major legislative changes.[1] Dynamic scoring takes into account the macroeconomic feedback effects of changes in tax policy on revenues and spending. In other…

  • Backgrounder posted December 21, 2015 by David R. Burton Two Little Known Tax Treaties Will Lead to Substantially More Identity Theft, Crime, Industrial Espionage, and Suppression of Political Dissidents

    Tax treaties are usually positive or benign. The Obama Administration,[1] the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD),[2] and tax officials in various national governments[3] have marketed the Protocol amending the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters[4] as just another tax treaty. It is nothing of the sort. On…

  • Issue Brief posted December 15, 2015 by Katie Tubb Solar’s Future Is Brighter Without Investment Tax Credit

    Despite years of growth in the solar industry, lobbyists are hard at work to get an extension of a tax subsidy they have known for seven years would be expiring next December. Solar power added 5.5 gigawatts of installed capacity in 2014, a 54 percent increase from the previous year, and constituting nearly half of all renewable electricity capacity installed nationwide,…

  • Issue Brief posted December 15, 2015 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. Fascination with Interest Rates Hides the Fed’s Policy Blunders

    The Federal Reserve (Fed) has not changed its federal funds target rate since 2008. Such a policy is unsustainable in the face of market forces that change interest rates. This statement may seem surprising given the widespread belief that the Fed sets interest rates, but, in fact, the Fed does not set interest rates. As a matter of fact, the Fed does not set even the…

  • Backgrounder posted December 14, 2015 by Diane Katz An Environmental Policy Primer for the Next President

    The nation’s environment has dramatically improved in the four decades since adoption of America’s foundational environmental statutes.[1] It is also true that there could have been even greater improvement at far less cost—economic and social—had lawmakers forgone centralized government control in favor of the transformative powers of market incentives and private…

  • Commentary posted December 10, 2015 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. The Fed's New Emergency Lending Rules: Not Far Enough, Not Surprising

    The Federal Reserve has just finalized its new rules for making emergency loans, as required by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. Supposedly, the authors of Dodd-Frank wanted to prevent the Fed from ever again making the kinds of emergency loans – relatively cheap ones to failing financial firms – that it made during the 2008 crisis. The Fed initially proposed its rules in…

  • Commentary posted December 4, 2015 by Nicolas Loris Apologize for Bad Policies, Not Industrial Progress

    President Barack Obama's opening remarks at the Paris climate summit were effectively an apology for industrial progress. He said, "I've come here personally, as the leader of the world's largest economy and the second-largest emitter, to say that the United States of America not only recognizes our role in creating this problem; we embrace our responsibility to do…