Backgrounder posted August 20, 2015
Why Congress Should Pull the Plug on the Strategic Petroleum Reserve
After the Arab oil embargo and the creation of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in the 1970s, the United States and countries around the world felt a need to hold more oil inventories for emergencies. The U.S. joined the International Energy Agency (IEA) in November 1974 to coordinate a multi-lateral response to oil supply shocks. As part of that…
Issue Brief posted August 19, 2015
Europe’s Latest Export to America: Internet Censorship
American Web users’ access to Internet content may soon be limited, thanks to a recent decision by French regulators. France’s National Commission on Informatics and Liberties (known by its French acronym CNIL) ordered Google to apply the European Union’s bizarre “right-to-be-forgotten” rules on a global basis in a June ruling. The search engine announced at the end of…
Backgrounder posted August 18, 2015
An Innovation Box for the U.S.? Congress Should Focus on Business Tax Reform Instead
There is growing talk of Congress pursuing tax reform through the creation of an “innovation box” instead of focusing on broad business tax reform. This would be a mistake.
An innovation box, often called a patent box in Europe, offers lower tax on certain types of income derived from intellectual property, or IP.
Earlier this year, it seemed possible Congress and…
Issue Brief posted August 14, 2015
Four Big Problems with the Obama Administration’s Climate Change Regulations
A few years ago, cap-and-trade legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions failed to reach President Barack Obama’s desk because constituents gave their Members an earful that cap and trade would amount to a massive energy tax. When the bill died in Congress, President Obama said that there was more than “one way of skinning a cat,” and here it is.
Backgrounder posted August 5, 2015
Fooled Again: The Nuclear Waste Administration Act Preserves Futile Status Quo
The federal government has failed to meet its legal obligations to manage and dispose of America’s spent nuclear fuel and nuclear waste. Once again, progress seems possible only after federal courts ended years of delay caused by the Obama Administration’s refusal to follow the law under the 1982 Nuclear Waste Policy Act, as amended. A new bill introduced by Senators…
Backgrounder posted August 3, 2015
New Generation of Tax Reform Offers Greater Potential for Growth
Earlier this year, Senators Mike Lee (R–UT) and Marco Rubio (R–FL) released a tax reform plan. Their plan would reduce tax rates, lessen double taxation, and eliminate many tax preferences that do not promote economic growth. These policies have traditionally been part of tax reform.
However, Lee–Rubio deviates from traditional tax reform in one important way: It…
Backgrounder posted July 29, 2015
Social Security: $39 Billion Deficit in 2014, Insolvent by 2035
Social Security’s main program, also known as Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI), ran a $39 billion deficit in 2014, closing out five years of consecutive cash-flow deficits as the program’s unfunded obligations continue to grow. According to the 2015 annual Trustees’ Report, the 75-year unfunded obligation of the Social Security OASI Trust Fund is $9.43 trillion,…
Issue Brief posted July 28, 2015
The Senate Can Use Tax Extenders as an Opportunity to Improve the Tax Code
The tax extenders are a group of approximately 50 tax-reducing policies that expire regularly. Congress has traditionally extended them just as regularly as they expire. Late last year, Congress retroactively renewed them for 2014, which means they are currently expired.
The Senate Finance Committee marked up its version of this year’s tax extender bill recently. In that…