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  • Issue Brief posted June 24, 2016 by Justin Bogie Time to End “Zombie” Appropriations

    A growing problem on Capitol Hill has been the expanding practice of Congress appropriating funds to so-called zombie programs, which are programs that have never been authorized or are operating under an expired authorization. Under House and Senate rules, an appropriation cannot be made for a purpose unless separate authorizing legislation has been passed into law.…

  • Backgrounder posted June 23, 2016 by Curtis S. Dubay Congress Should Lay the Groundwork for Tax Reform

    The U.S. economy is currently operating below its potential.[1] High taxes on capital and labor, as well as the reduction in the labor force of prime age workers, are keeping the economy from growing faster. Tax reform, by reducing penalties on work and capital formation, allows the economy to grow in size. Under a less complex tax code, valuable resources become…

  • Commentary posted June 21, 2016 by Nicolas Loris, Brett D. Schaefer The U.S. Should Withdraw from U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change

    The U.S. has wasted tens of billions of dollars on an ineffective approach to addressing man-made global warming. Unfortunately, the organization behind these efforts shows little interest in changing tactics. And now it has granted membership to the Palestinians. For practical as well as political considerations, it's time for the U.S. to get out. The U.S. and most…

  • Commentary posted June 17, 2016 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. CFPB's Payday Lender Rules: Markets Exploit, Government Saves

    Radical change may soon come to the short-term lending business. And we’re not talking about the good kind of change. New rules proposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) are bad news for consumers, those who work for short-term lenders, and the people who supply the capital to make these loans. Topping out at more than 1,300 pages, the proposal is a…

  • Commentary posted June 15, 2016 by Paul Winfree Idea, Politics of Basic Income Aren't New

    A minimum income for everyone above a certain age, often called a basic income, is back in vogue. Several major magazines and prominent thinkers from different philosophical backgrounds say a basic income is necessary in an age where robots will replace all jobs. Others call for a basic income to replace the current welfare system. The idea of a minimum income isn’t new.…

  • Backgrounder posted June 13, 2016 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., Jack Spencer, Bridget Mudd, Katie Tubb Science Policy: Priorities and Reforms for the 45th President

    Federal involvement in science and technology is far-reaching, spanning all three branches of government. It has developed over decades from wartime objectives, layers of legislation, diverse presidential Administrations, and growing regulation. Federal participation in science and technology has aided the nation in meeting national security needs and exploring the…

  • Commentary posted June 9, 2016 by Nicolas Loris Let Freedom Be the North Star for Energy Policy

    When it comes to energy policy, lawmakers should let freedom be their North Star. Freedom to extract and develop all resources that provide affordable, reliable energy. Freedom to sell those resources in every market — at home and abroad. Freedom from job-crushing federal regulations that provide little or no meaningful environmental benefits. And freedom from corporate…

  • Backgrounder posted June 9, 2016 by Nicolas Loris, Brett D. Schaefer, Steven Groves The U.S. Should Withdraw from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

    On April 22, 2016, the United States, along with over 170 other nations, signed the Paris Agreement on climate change. Negotiated in December 2015, the agreement contains both binding and non-binding commitments intended to combat global warming by shifting the global energy economy away from the use of natural resources such as coal, natural gas, and oil, and toward…

  • Issue Brief posted June 8, 2016 by Justin Bogie Congress Should Look Toward Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill as a Starting Point for Spending Cuts

    This week, the House of Representatives will consider the annual legislative branch appropriations bill, the third of 12 appropriations bills providing discretionary funding for the federal government. This bill provides funding for: Congress; the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP); the Government Publishing Office (GPO); the Government Accountability Office…

  • Commentary posted June 7, 2016 by Nicolas Loris Coal's Competition Shouldn't Include the Federal Government

    Who can deny the value of competition? In sports, the world’s greatest athletes go toe-to-toe and make each other better. In business, competition rewards innovative ideas and helps entrepreneurs flourish. In both instances, consumers benefit. But not when the federal government skews the rules. That’s what’s happening with U.S. energy policy right now — to the detriment…

  • Commentary posted June 6, 2016 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. Shrink The Government's Role To End Too-Big-To-Fail

    We have now entered the Bizarro World of financial regulations, where the people who in 2008 orchestrated billions in bailouts for “too big to fail” institutions are now insisting that they can craft a plan to end “too big to fail.” That’s right. The same people who once insisted that the only way to head off an economic crisis was for the federal government to bail out…

  • Commentary posted May 27, 2016 by Romina Boccia Boccia: Federal Budget Trumps Election Woes

    With the media focused so heavily on the presidential election, perhaps it’s not surprising that few are paying attention as Congress takes up its annual spending bills. Besides, President Obama has said for years that our budget deficit is lessening, so we shouldn’t worry about it anymore, right? Wrong: Budget data paint a very different picture. A picture of the…

  • Issue Brief posted May 26, 2016 by Rachel Sheffield, Daren Bakst Child Nutrition Reauthorization: Time for Serious Reform, Not Tinkering

    Congress is currently working on reauthorizing the federal child nutrition programs, which include school meal programs. The last time Congress reauthorized these programs, it passed the controversial Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010,[1] a major priority for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.[2] The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act made a number of…

  • Commentary posted May 25, 2016 by Diane Katz FDA's Proposed Rules Would Snuff Out Small Manufacturers Of Premium Cigars

    Julius Caeser Newman was 13 years old in 1888 when he sailed from Austria-Hungary to Baltimore in pursuit of the American dream. With vision, hope and a $50 loan, he built a hand-rolled cigar business that survived the Panic of 1893, the Great Depression, two world wars, the Cuban trade embargo and import competition from lower-cost countries. Today his company, now the…

  • Commentary posted May 25, 2016 by Katie Tubb Environmentalists in Blinders

    Extremely "green" activists have a strange way of going about improving the environment. Consider their behavior in the battle over a proposal to build a power plant in Kosovo. Kosovo gets its electricity from two power plants built when the southeastern European nation was part of Communist-run Yugoslavia. Back then, a state-owned corporation ran the plants and — in…