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  • Commentary posted August 28, 2015 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. Market Swing No Cause for Fed Action, or Non-Action

    Back in grad school (not all that long ago), we pondered whether a central bank should target equity (or other asset) prices to conduct monetary policy. In theory, as the value of consumers' stock portfolios rise, they will spend more because they are wealthier. It turned out, though, that the empirical link between monetary policy, equity prices, and consumption has…

  • Commentary posted August 26, 2015 by Nicolas Loris California green failure a warning for states facing Clean Power Plan

    In the eyes of the Obama administration, California is the gold standard for state energy policy. The feds lavishly laud the Golden State’s aggressive green energy mandates and stringent energy efficiency requirements. But few states have jumped on California’s green energy bandwagon — and with good reason. The California Clean Energy Jobs Act (Proposition 39) raised…

  • Backgrounder posted August 20, 2015 by Nicolas Loris 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 by James L. Gattuso 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…

  • Commentary posted August 18, 2015 by Daren Bakst Three Signs the EPA/Army Corps Water Rule is a Disaster

    The Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers’ final water rule under the Clean Water Act seeks to regulate almost every type of water in the country. And you don’t even need to get into the substance of the rule to know it’ll be a disaster.  Here are three signs that this rule should be killed off immediately. Sign 1 -- The Regulating Agency is…

  • Backgrounder posted August 18, 2015 by Curtis S. Dubay 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…

  • Commentary posted August 17, 2015 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. The Financial Deregulation That Never Was

    Why do I write so much about the myth that financial market deregulation caused the financial crisis? Because that false narrative has spread so far and wide. Even some folks who are otherwise friendly to free-markets have bought into it. So here’s one more shot: financial markets were not deregulated in any meaningful way during the last 100 years. It is true that…

  • Commentary posted August 17, 2015 by Katie Tubb Let nuclear industry, not bureaucracy, manage spent fuel

    America has a growing nuclear waste problem — and it’s all the government’s fault. By law, the Department of Energy is supposed to collect spent nuclear fuel and deposit it at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain. Nuclear power customers in 33 states have paid billions of dollars into a federal fund to finance this service. Yet the DOE has never collected a single ounce of spent…

  • Issue Brief posted August 14, 2015 by Nicolas Loris 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.[1] The Obama…

  • Commentary posted August 10, 2015 by Paul Winfree The tangling threads of America's safety net

    The fastest growing category in many state budgets? It's not education. It's not infrastructure. It's welfare spending. Costing more than $1 trillion per year, the nation's current welfare system is enormous, but much of this spending is counterproductive. Today's welfare programs undermine work and marriage, leading to a broadening pattern of intergenerational…

  • Backgrounder posted August 5, 2015 by Jack Spencer, Katie Tubb 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.[1] A new bill introduced by Senators…

  • Backgrounder posted August 3, 2015 by Curtis S. Dubay 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.[1] 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…

  • Commentary posted July 29, 2015 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. Milking Banks For Highways

    The U.S. Senate’s newest plan to save the highway trust fund is a great example of how short-term interests tend to dominate politics. As my colleague Michael Sargent has pointed out, the Senate developed a six-year plan that pays for only three years, and “does so by relying on unacceptable gimmicks and tax increases.” One of those tax increases provides another…

  • Backgrounder posted July 29, 2015 by Romina Boccia 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.[1] 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 by Curtis S. Dubay 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…