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  • Backgrounder posted March 26, 2015 by Romina Boccia, Michael Sargent $4 Trillion and Counting: President Obama’s 2016 Budget Presents a Vision of Government Largess

    For the first time since 2010, President Obama released his annual budget on time.[1] Such punctuality is a welcome step toward normalcy in the budget process, though one wonders why it took five years for the Administration to adhere to the statutory deadline. Aside from its timeliness, there is little good that can be said about the President’s 2016 budget. Obama’s…

  • Backgrounder posted March 25, 2015 by Nicolas Loris The Antiquated Act: Time to Repeal the Antiquities Act

    President Barack Obama recently designated three national monuments in Colorado, Hawaii, and Illinois.[1] Under the Antiquities Act,[2] the President can designate areas as “national monuments” without congressional approval. Both Democratic and Republican Administrations have unilaterally used the Antiquities Act to restrict land use without input from Congress, the…

  • Testimony posted March 25, 2015 by Nicolas Loris Department of Energy Oversight: Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

    Subcommittee on Energy Committee on Science, Space, and Technology U.S. House of Representatives March 24, 2015 Nicolas D. Loris Herbert and Joyce Morgan Fellow The Heritage Foundation My name is Nick Loris. I am a senior energy policy analyst and the Herbert and Joyce Morgan Fellow at The Heritage Foundation. The views I express in this testimony are my…

  • Commentary posted March 25, 2015 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. Congress Should Not Treat Financial Companies As Public Utilities

    Last week a group of eight U.S. Senators sent a letter to Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Mel Watt regarding concerns over what’s known as the Common Securitization Platform. This “platform” is meant to standardize the process of issuing mortgage-backed securities (MBS) in the U.S., and the FHFA has been working on it for more than two years. The FHFA is…

  • Commentary posted March 25, 2015 by Romina Boccia Why the budget matters

    Voters often wonder if Congress can ever get spending under control. Well, both the House and Senate have introduced their latest budget blueprints, so we'll soon know if they plan to keep kicking the can down the road - or get serious about reform. Why care about the budget? Because it's the only legislative document through which Congress addresses the entirety of the…

  • Issue Brief posted March 24, 2015 by Wendell Cox America Needs a Rational Transit Policy

    More than three decades ago, federal legislation was enacted to transfer money from highway user fees to mass transit, such as subways and buses. The diversion is so substantial that each passenger mile of transit is supported by highway user fees (such as gasoline taxes) at a rate 15 times that of each roadway passenger mile.[1] The rationale for federal transit…

  • Backgrounder posted March 20, 2015 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. Financial Market Utilities: One More Dangerous Concept in Dodd–Frank

    An underreported problem with the 2010 Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is that it broadens the concept of what constitutes a public utility. In particular, Title VIII of Dodd–Frank confers a special status on firms that it identifies as financial market utilities (FMUs).[1] This change marks a dangerous shift in the relationship between…

  • Testimony posted March 13, 2015 by David R. Burton Building an Opportunity Economy: The State of Small Business and Entrepreneurship

    Testimony before The Committee on Small Business United States House of Representatives March 4, 2015 David R. Burton Senior Fellow in Economic Policy The Heritage Foundation 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 Chabot, Ranking Member Velázquez, and…

  • Commentary posted March 11, 2015 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. Has Bitcoin's Time Come? The Market--Not Public Policy--Should Decide

    Victor Hugo, author of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, famously said “All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come.” Perhaps Bitcoin is just such an idea? Digital currencies are still rather new, so it’s hard to know for sure. But for all of their faults, they do seem to be catching on. In less than eight years we’ve gone from zero to…

  • Issue Brief posted March 11, 2015 by Romina Boccia 7 Priorities for the 2016 Congressional Budget Resolution

    The new 114th Congress has a responsibility to address growing spending and debt. This is especially true following the post-election pledge made by House Speaker John Boehner (R–OH) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–KY) to address “a national debt that has Americans stealing from their children and grandchildren, robbing them of benefits that they will never…

  • Commentary posted March 9, 2015 by Daren Bakst Ag policy needs less government intervention

    Agricultural policy doesn’t get the attention that it deserves. But policymakers and potential presidential candidates have the chance to change that at the Iowa Ag Summit in Des Moines. One reason agriculture gets overlooked is that the farm bill is really a food stamp bill. About 80 percent of the spending is for food stamps. Legislators push through this legislation…

  • Commentary posted March 9, 2015 by James L. Gattuso FCC imposes net neutrality, again

    It was Throwback Thursday at the FCC on Feb. 26, as the Federal Communications Commission voted to impose 1930s-era regulations on Internet providers. Under the agency's new rules, Internet service providers such as Verizon and Comcast are to be treated as "common carriers" under the 1934 Communications Act, subjecting them to detailed oversight of what they offer to…

  • Backgrounder posted March 9, 2015 by Curtis S. Dubay, David R. Burton The Lee–Rubio Tax Plan’s Business Reforms Are Tremendously Pro-Growth

    The primary purpose of tax reform is to enhance economic growth by expanding the economy’s potential. Based on initial analysis, the tax reform plan recently released by Senators Mike Lee (R–UT) and Marco Rubio (R–FL) amply succeeds at this core purpose, mostly by substantially improving the tax treatment of businesses. On the individual side, the plan takes steps in the…

  • Issue Brief posted March 5, 2015 by Curtis S. Dubay CBO Should Update Its Methodology Before Dynamically Scoring Spending Bills

    Congress could soon ask the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to dynamically score a new transportation bill or other spending bills it will consider. Dynamic scoring has been a frequent topic of debate in recent months. It considers how major pieces of legislation affect the macro economy, whereas current static scoring does not. The House passed a rule earlier this…

  • Commentary posted March 3, 2015 by Daren Bakst Protecting Taxpayers from the Farm Bill's New Blank Check

    Last year, Congress created two major programs for farmers that, not surprisingly, will shatter Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) cost projections. Taxpayers’ liability for these programs is open-ended because a widely-supported limit on costs to protect taxpayers didn’t make it in the final farm bill. Congress should put an end to this liability immediately. The 2014…