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  • Backgrounder posted December 17, 2014 by James L. Gattuso, Michael Sargent Eight Myths About FCC Regulation of the Internet

    Few policy debates in Washington have generated as many myths and mischaracterizations as the ongoing battle over proposed Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules for broadband Internet service. Popularly known as “net neutrality” rules, these Internet regulations would limit the ability of Internet service providers (ISPs) such as AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast to…

  • Backgrounder posted December 15, 2014 by David R. Burton Four Conservative Tax Plans with Equivalent Economic Results

    Over the past three decades, conservatives have proposed four different types of consumption taxes: A national sales tax, A business transfer tax, The Hall–Rabushka–Armey–Forbes flat tax, and The “new flat tax,” also known as an expenditure tax, consumed income tax, inflow-outflow tax, or cash flow tax. Few understand that, despite their…

  • Commentary posted December 11, 2014 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. Ease up on Easing?

    Two reasons the Federal Reserve should stop trying to stimulate the economy: The policies it has enacted so far have contributed very little to the economic recovery. It has likely already reached the limits of what monetary policy can do to boost the economy. The Fed's quantitative easing programs have filled the banking system with excess reserves. The federal funds…

  • Commentary posted December 9, 2014 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. Jim Grant, Recession and Recovery in 1921

    James Grant’s excellent new book, The Forgotten Depression: 1921: The Crash That Cured Itself, tells the story of “America’s last governmentally untreated depression.” Just prior to the Roaring Twenties, the U.S. went into a deep economic slump but soon recovered—despite no active government stimulus policies. That sort of government inaction, of course, is very…

  • Special Report posted December 8, 2014 by Romina Boccia Federal Spending by the Numbers, 2014: Government Spending Trends in Graphics, Tables, and Key Points (Including 51 Examples of Government Waste)

    Contributors Romina Boccia is Grover M. Hermann Fellow in Federal Budgetary Affairs in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies, of the Institute for Economic Freedom and Opportunity, at The Heritage Foundation. John W. Fleming is Senior Data Graphics Editor at The Heritage Foundation. Spencer Woody is a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage…

  • Backgrounder posted December 8, 2014 by Nicolas Loris, Katie Tubb Six Easy Energy Reforms for Congress to Take Up

    With a new Congress set to take office in January, policymakers will be eager to prove that they can move good policy forward. In energy policy, plenty of bipartisan opportunities exist for Congress to implement free-market reforms to remove government interference and create opportunities. Six Reforms While certainly not all-encompassing, the following six energy…

  • Testimony posted December 3, 2014 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. Improving Financial Institution Supervision Ending the Federal Reserves Regulatory Role

    Testimony before Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection Subcommittee United States Senate November 21, 2014 Norbert J. Michel, PhD Research Fellow in Financial Regulations The Heritage Foundation A critical lesson from the Fed’s first 100 years is that an overly broad interpretation of the Fed’s role in…

  • Commentary posted November 25, 2014 by James L. Gattuso Obama and the FCC: Bully Pulpit, Bad Policy

    Like Theodore Roosevelt, Barack Obama knows that the presidency makes an effective bully pulpit — even when you have historically low approval ratings. He showed that earlier this month when — in an unusually deep wade into the decision-making process at the supposedly independent Federal Communications Commission — the president came out four-square in favor of imposing…

  • Commentary posted November 25, 2014 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. Should 'Legal But Shady' Be A New Regulatory Standard?

    Last Friday I had the pleasure of testifying at a Senate hearing. The topic was “Improving Financial Institution Supervision: Examining and Addressing Regulatory Capture.” “Regulatory capture” refers to a common phenomenon: individuals serving as regulators come to identify with the firms they regulate at least as much as with the agencies that employ them.  Thus, the…

  • Backgrounder posted November 25, 2014 by James L. Gattuso, Michael Sargent Beyond Hypothetical: How FCC Internet Regulation Would Hurt Consumers

    On November 10, President Barack Obama joined a long-simmering debate at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), urging the agency to adopt comprehensive government regulation of Internet service providers, such as Verizon and Comcast. These regulations would require companies that provide Internet access to end users (households and businesses) to process all…

  • Commentary posted November 21, 2014 by Romina Boccia, Robert Rector Weakening an Asset Test Could Expand the Welfare State

    Before Congress recessed for the midterm elections, lawmakers announced plans to use the current lame-duck session to work on passing a bill called “The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act.” Supporters describe the bill as a way to eliminate “barriers to work and saving by preventing dollars saved through ABLE accounts from counting against an individual’s…

  • Issue Brief posted November 18, 2014 by Daren Bakst, Rachael Slobodien The EPA and the Corps’s CWA Interpretive Rule: A Regulatory End Run

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers released an interpretive rule[1] narrowing an important Clean Water Act (CWA) exemption for agricultural activities. It was released at the same time they released their proposed “waters of the U.S.” rule that would greatly expand the waters the federal government can regulate under the CWA. By…

  • Commentary posted November 17, 2014 by Diane Katz, James L. Gattuso Obama's Final Two Years: A Sprint on Regulation?

    The election results were a crushing political blow for the Obama administration, giving Republicans firm control of both houses of Congress for the final two years of his term. But this in no way signals the end of the president's policy agenda. It simply shifts the action to regulatory agencies. In the days since the vote, this has already begun. Obama is moving…

  • Backgrounder posted November 13, 2014 by Kevin D. Dayaratna, Ph.D., Nicolas Loris, David W. Kreutzer, Ph.D. The Obama Administration’s Climate Agenda: Underestimated Costs and Exaggerated Benefits

    W‌hen his climate cap-and-trade bill was defeated in the Democrat-controlled Senate, President Barack Obama noted there were other ways of “skinning the cat.”[1] Now we know that his chosen way is an onslaught of mandates, regulations, and possibly taxes directed primarily by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The indicator…

  • Commentary posted November 12, 2014 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. Repeal Dodd-Frank and End Too Big To Fail

    The Republicans will hold a comfortable majority in the U.S. House and, at most, a 55 seat majority in the Senate for the 114th Congress. That’s not a wide enough margin to override a Presidential veto. Still, the Republicans owe it to their constituents to exercise governance. On election night Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) indicated Republicans will, in fact, try to do…