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  • Commentary posted July 27, 2015 by James L. Gattuso Amazon and antitrust: Should Washington sue to make books more expensive?

    As Americans set out to the beach this summer with their favorite novels in hand, federal officials are being asked to sue the nation's largest bookseller, Amazon.com. Why? For not having higher prices. A group of authors and competing booksellers recently petitioned the Department of Justice to open an antitrust investigation into the activities of the online retailer.…

  • Issue Brief posted July 22, 2015 by Daren Bakst A Q & A on the Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods

    This week, the House of Representatives is expected to consider the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015,[1] which would prohibit states from mandating the labeling of genetically engineered foods, also known as genetically modified or bioengineered food. Neither federal, state, nor local governments should block consumers from getting information on food. However,…

  • Commentary posted July 16, 2015 by Romina Boccia A Scary Thought: Could America Become the Next Greece?

    In June, Greece defaulted on a $1.73 billion payment to the International Monetary Fund. In a national referendum shortly thereafter, the Greeks strongly rejected European conditions for receiving yet another bailout. For the first time in the Eurozone’s history, the exit of one of its member countries became a very real possibility. This week, Athens dodged a steep…

  • Backgrounder posted July 15, 2015 by Romina Boccia Social Security Disability Insurance: Benefit Offsets Encourage Work—But Achieve Little to No Savings

    The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program is headed toward insolvency before the end of 2016. Without congressional action, beneficiaries will see their benefits delayed or cut by nearly 20 percent. To avoid delays or drastic and indiscriminate changes in benefits for some of America’s most vulnerable program beneficiaries, Congress is considering several…

  • Issue Brief posted July 14, 2015 by Curtis S. Dubay New Model Would Aid Dynamic Scoring of Transportation Spending, but Changes Are Needed

    Congress may soon ask the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to score a transportation bill under the new dynamic scoring rules it passed earlier this year.[1] A recent report from former CBO Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Michael Mandel provides a model for how the CBO could carry out that analysis.[2] The model needs important improvements to provide Congress with the…

  • Issue Brief posted July 13, 2015 by Diane Katz Export–Import Bank: Propaganda versus the Facts

    A June 29 posting on The Hill’s Congress Blog carried the headline: “The Arguments for Ex–Im No One Can Rebut.”[1] The author, John Murphy, the senior vice president of international policy of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, claimed that, in a recent hearing, “no one was able to rebut my arguments about the indispensable role the bank plays in specific circumstances.”…

  • Backgrounder posted July 7, 2015 by Nicolas Loris The Many Problems of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and Climate Regulations: A Primer

    This summer, the Obama Administration will finalize climate regulations for new and existing power plants under the Clean Air Act. While the regulations largely target coal-fired power plants, the costs of more expensive energy will be borne by all Americans. Higher energy bills for families, individuals, and businesses will destroy jobs and strain economic growth—and it…

  • Commentary posted July 6, 2015 by Nicolas Loris Supreme Court checks regulators, but there's work to be done

    The Supreme Court handed a victory to Americans concerned with unelected bureaucrats driving up energy costs by overturning a costly regulation that lacks any meaningful environmental benefit. Now Congress and the states must step up to reject overzealous regulators — not rely on the courts. The issue the high court considered was the Environmental Protection Agency’s…

  • Commentary posted July 2, 2015 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. Two Months To Go, Two Jackson Hole Conferences

    In exactly two months the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City will hold its annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It is here that, for more than 30 years, “participants from across the globe gather…to discuss important policy issues of mutual interest.” Previous topics have included labor market dynamics and unconventional monetary policy, but this year’s theme is…

  • Issue Brief posted July 1, 2015 by Salim Furth, Ph.D., James M. Roberts, Mike Gonzalez, Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. Puerto Rico Needs Economic Freedom, Not Bailouts

    Puerto Rico is in a debt crisis, and Governor Alejandro García Padilla (D) has announced that “the debt is not payable” given the commonwealth’s large deficits and collapsing economy.[1] Presenting a government-commissioned report, economist Anne Krueger explained that the origin of Puerto Rico’s debt is decades of stimulus spending and economic stagnation: Since 1996,…

  • Commentary posted June 30, 2015 by Daren Bakst Your Home Is Your Castle—If You Can Keep It

    Take a look around your living room. There’s a risk that it could become part of a food court in a mall or an assembly line in a factory. This is possible because of a decision handed down 10 years ago this month by the U.S. Supreme Court. In Kelo v. City of New London, the court ruled that private property can be seized and transferred to another private party for…

  • Issue Brief posted June 26, 2015 by John Gray, Nicolas Loris, Daren Bakst FY 2016 House Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill: Right on Regulations, Wrong on Spending

    The new Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 2822) will be the seventh discretionary spending bill considered by the House of Representatives this year. The bill would provide $30.17 billion in discretionary budget authority (BA) for fiscal year (FY) 2016, roughly $246 million less than current levels. The bill largely…

  • Testimony posted June 25, 2015 by Curtis S. Dubay Congress Should Only Make Changes to Repatriation Policy When Establishing a Territorial System

    Testimony before the Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures of the Committee on Ways and Means United States House of Representatives June 24, 2015 Curtis S. Dubay Research Fellow in Tax and Economic Policy The Heritage Foundation My name is Curtis S. Dubay. I am Research Fellow in Tax and Economic Policy at The Heritage Foundation. The views I express in this…

  • Backgrounder posted June 22, 2015 by Daren Bakst A Decade After Kelo: Time for Congress to Protect American Property Owners

    On June 23, 2005, the United States Supreme Court held in Kelo v. City of New London[1] that the government can seize private property and transfer it to another private party for economic development. This type of taking was deemed to be for a “public use” and allowed under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution. As a result, if a city claims that a…

  • Commentary posted June 19, 2015 by Romina Boccia Our skyrocketing debt: Higher taxes, lower benefits loom

    Remember the national debt? It's been a while since members of Congress have warned us about it and talk of government shutdowns dominated the headlines. So, problem solved? If only. Things have been quiet on the fiscal front simply because Congress suspended the debt limit in February 2014 and the day of reckoning has yet to come. So, as with other unpleasant facts of…