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  • Issue Brief posted April 18, 2014 by John L. Ligon, Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. Fannie and Freddie 2.0: The Senate Does Not Get the Government Out of the Market

    In an effort to reform the nation’s housing finance system, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D–SD) and ranking member Mike Crapo (R–ID) have announced that they will hold a markup for their bill on April 29, but many details still have to be ironed out. Given that close to 100 percent of the U.S. mortgage market is now backed by the federal government, it…

  • Testimony posted April 11, 2014 by David R. Burton Proposals to Enhance Capital Formation for Small and Emerging Growth Companies

    Testimony before the Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises Subcommittee of the Committee on Financial Services United States House of Representatives My name is David R. Burton. I am Senior Fellow in Economic Policy at The Heritage Foundation. I would like to express my thanks to Chairman Garrett, Ranking Member Maloney, and Members of the Subcommittee for…

  • Issue Brief posted April 11, 2014 by Diane Katz U.S. Export–Import Bank: Corporate Welfare on the Backs of Taxpayers

    Congress will soon debate the fate of the U.S. Export–Import Bank (Ex–Im), which doles out financing to favored corporations and credit to foreign governments. Proponents claim that such taxpayer bankrolling creates jobs and fills “gaps” in private financing.[1] In fact, the bank is a conduit for corporate welfare beset by unreliable risk management, inefficiency, and…

  • Backgrounder posted April 9, 2014 by Matthew Grinney, Emily Goff Bringing Transportation Decisions Closer to the People: Why States and Localities Should Have More Control

    The current highway authorization bill is set to expire on October 1, 2014. As Congress considers its reauthorization, including changes in the federal highway program, the question that should be at the center of the debate is: Which level of government—federal, state, or local—is best suited to maintain, improve, and expand the nation’s surface transportation…

  • Issue Brief posted April 8, 2014 by Curtis S. Dubay Tax Day 2014: How Tax Reform Would Make Filing Taxes Better

    April 15, the day Americans’ tax returns for the previous year are due to the IRS, is fast approaching. Families all over the country are scrambling to find documentation for their incomes and any expenses they incurred that might be deductible, creditable, or exemptible. It is a day of consternation for most families because of the mind-numbing complexity of completing…

  • Issue Brief posted April 7, 2014 by Daren Bakst, Rachel Sheffield The “Heat and Eat” Food Stamp Loophole and the Outdated Cost Projections for Farm Programs

    In February, Congress passed a new farm bill that lacked meaningful and necessary reform. Making matters worse, Congress made critical mistakes that will have a major impact on both food stamps and farm programs. The most significant attempt at food stamp reform was to close the “heat and eat” loophole, which allows states to artificially boost the amount of food stamps…

  • Commentary posted April 7, 2014 by Curtis S. Dubay Cutting short the ‘extenders’ would boost the economy

    Last week, the Senate Finance Committee blew its chance to enact small but meaningful tax reforms. On Thursday, lawmakers mechanically passed the so-called “tax extenders” bill — renewing some 50 tax-reducing policies that officially expired at the end of 2013. Passing an “extenders” bill has become routine in Congress, a by-product of lawmakers’ fear of commitment…

  • Issue Brief posted April 3, 2014 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D., John L. Ligon U.S. Financial Markets Do Not Need a New Regulator: Senate Misses the Mark

    Senators Tim Johnson (D–SD) and Mike Crapo (R–ID) have released a new housing finance reform bill, and as expected, it is very similar to the bill that Senators Bob Corker (R–TN) and Mark Warner (D–VA) released last June. Both Senate proposals would wind down the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and both would replace the GSEs with a new…

  • Commentary posted April 3, 2014 by Diane Katz, James L. Gattuso Red tape rising: Five years of regulatory expansion

    In his State of the Union address earlier this year, President Obama vowed to wield his executive powers when faced with congressional resistance to his legislative agenda: "America does not stand still - and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation ... that's what I am going to do." This provocative declaration was startling in its…

  • Backgrounder posted April 1, 2014 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. The Financial Stability Oversight Council: Helping to Enshrine “Too Big to Fail”

    The 2010 Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was Congress’s response to the 2008 financial crisis. Yet many of the act’s components do virtually nothing to fix the root causes of the financial crisis and simply expand the government’s reach into financial markets. Some of the biggest changes are in the nonbank financial sector, where Dodd–Frank…

  • Issue Brief posted April 1, 2014 by Romina Boccia, Michael Sargent The Federal Budget in 2013: Dysfunction Revisited

    The federal fiscal year begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. The budget process calls for presidential, House, and Senate budgets, with the latter two to be resolved in a budget conference to arrive at the discretionary topline level from which the 12 appropriations bills are written. This process completely collapsed in 2013. By September 2013, Congress was…

  • Issue Brief posted March 31, 2014 by Curtis S. Dubay Tax Extenders 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. Most recently, they expired at the end of 2013, and Congress has yet to address them this year. Congress previously extended them as part of the “fiscal cliff” deal struck at the beginning of 2013. That…

  • Issue Brief posted March 27, 2014 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D., John L. Ligon Johnson–Crapo Housing Finance Reform Misguided

    Senators Tim Johnson (D–SD) and Mike Crapo (R–ID) have released a new housing finance reform bill, and as expected, it is very similar to the bill that Senators Bob Corker (R–TN) and Mark Warner (D–VA) released last June. Both Senate proposals would wind down the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but both would also replace the GSEs…

  • Backgrounder posted March 26, 2014 by James L. Gattuso, Diane Katz Red Tape Rising: Five Years of Regulatory Expansion

    In his January 2014 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama vowed to wield his executive powers when faced with congressional resistance to his legislative agenda, stating: “America does not stand still—and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation … that’s what I am going to do.”[1] This provocative declaration was…

  • Commentary posted March 25, 2014 by Diane Katz EU's cheesy food fight stinks to high heaven

    The European Union (EU) regulates the curvature of cucumbers, the contour of radish “shoulders” and the arc of pea pods. We should not be surprised, then, by Brussels’ recent demand that American cheese makers refrain from labeling their products as “feta,” “mozzarella,” “parmesan” or any other appellation of European origin. One might reasonably wonder whether cheese…