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  • Testimony posted September 21, 2016 by David W. Kreutzer, Ph.D. Asia’s Growing Hunger for Energy: U.S. Policy and Supply Opportunities

    Testimony before Foreign Affairs Committee: Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific U.S. House of Representatives September 8, 2016 My name is David Kreutzer. I am Senior Research Fellow in Energy Economics and Climate Change at The Heritage Foundation. The views I express in this testimony are my own and should not be construed as representing any official position of The…

  • Issue Brief posted September 13, 2016 by Rachel Greszler Congress Needs to Address the PBGC’s Multiemployer Program Deficit Now

    The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) is a government entity that provides mandatory insurance to private pension plans. If a private pension plan fails, the PBGC pays out insured benefits so that pensioners are not left penniless.[1] The problem is, however, that the PBGC’s multiemployer program is itself insolvent and will likely run out of money to pay…

  • Backgrounder posted September 6, 2016 by Rachel Greszler Government Intervention in Coal Mining Seven Decades Ago No Justification for Pension Bailout Today

    Two bills introduced in Congress—S. 1714 in the Senate and H.R. 2403 in the House—would bail out the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) pension plan with up to $490 million per year.[1] Such action would set an incredibly dangerous precedent, opening the door to taxpayer bailouts of more than $600 billion in unfunded union pensions, not to mention trillions of dollars…

  • Commentary posted September 1, 2016 by Salim Furth, Ph.D. Puerto Rico Oversight Board Members Specialize in Finance, Not Economic Reform

    President Barack Obama has appointed the seven members of the congressionally mandated oversight board for Puerto Rico. The board will have authority over the U.S. territory’s finances as Puerto Rico goes through a new bankruptcy proceeding created by the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act, which the president signed this summer. The members’…

  • Backgrounder posted September 1, 2016 by Kevin D. Dayaratna, Ph.D., David W. Kreutzer, Ph.D., Nicolas Loris Time to Unlock America’s Vast Oil and Gas Resources

    In March 2012 President Barack Obama stated, “We can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices.”[1] He said the same thing earlier that year on the campaign trail.[2] He said it a lot.[3] Perhaps the line polled well, but it was not true. The U.S. did drill its way to lower gas prices over the past several years (for both natural gas and gasoline) and broke the back of the…

  • Commentary posted August 31, 2016 by Rachel Greszler Will Uncle Sam be the mine union’s sugar daddy?

    Should taxpayers have to pick up the tab when unions break their promises? The United Mine Workers of America union thinks so. Its pension fund has promised workers $5.6 billion more than it can pay. Now that it is running out of money, the union has had its friends in Congress introduce legislation (HR 2403 and S 1714) that would use taxpayer funds to cover the…

  • Backgrounder posted August 30, 2016 by James Sherk Unelected Representatives: 94 percent of Union Members Never Voted for a Union

    Workers are legally represented by unions in workplace negotiations. In theory, this legal representation is legitimized through a democratic process in which workers vote in favor of union representation. In practice, only 6 percent of those covered by unions under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) have ever voted for union representation. In some cases, National…

  • Special Report posted August 30, 2016 by James M. Roberts, William T. Wilson, Ph.D., Diane Katz, Anthony B. Kim, Bruce Klingner, David W. Kreutzer, Ph.D., Nicolas Loris, Joshua Meservey, Ambassador Terry Miller, Bryan Riley, Brett D. Schaefer 2017 Global Agenda for Economic Freedom

    Foreword The promotion of economic freedom at home and abroad is essential not only for a genuine and sustained revitalization of the U.S. economy, but also to strengthen U.S. national security. In 2010, the United States fell from the highest category of economically free countries (those with overall scores above 80) in the Index of Economic Freedom. It has been stuck…

  • Issue Brief posted August 21, 2016 by Robert Rector, Jamie Bryan Hall Did Welfare Reform Increase Extreme Poverty in the United States?

    Two decades ago, on August 22, 1996, President Bill Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, popularly known as welfare reform, into law. At the time, liberals proclaimed that the bill would slash the incomes of one in five families with children and push 2.6 million people into poverty.[1] Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously predicted…

  • Issue Brief posted August 17, 2016 by James Sherk How $15-per-Hour Minimum Starting Wages Would Affect Each State

    Researchers have paid little attention to the state-by-state impact of a $15-per-hour minimum wage. Such a measure was so far from the policy mainstream that few economists bothered considering it. Now, several cities and states have required $15-per-hour starting wages, prompting the need to consider the policy’s effects on jobs and the economy at large. This Issue…

  • Issue Brief posted August 15, 2016 by Rachel Greszler Why a Coal Miner Pension Bailout Could Open the Door to a $600 Billion Pension Bailout for All Private Unions

    Congress is looking to pass legislation that would use taxpayer dollars to bail out the overpromised, underfunded pension plan of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA). Such an unprecedented move would send the message that Congress will stand behind sending trillions of dollars in overpromised, underfunded public and private pension obligations across the country.…

  • Issue Brief posted August 1, 2016 by John L. Ligon Mortgage Principal Forgiveness Policy Is a Bad Idea

    The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) continues to pivot on mortgage principal forgiveness policy, initiating a new program that would subsidize a permanent reduction of a portion of unpaid mortgage principal owed by homeowners. The mortgage principal forgiveness program would give preference to some homeowners already in the Fannie Mae-guaranteed and Freddie…

  • Backgrounder posted July 27, 2016 by Rachel Greszler, James Sherk Why It Is Time to Reform Compensation for Federal Employees

    The federal government pays its employees more than they would earn in the private sector. Economic studies consistently find that federal employees enjoy both higher pay and substantially higher benefits than comparable private-sector workers. Alan Krueger, the former Chairman of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, documented this pay premium in the…

  • Issue Brief posted July 26, 2016 by James Sherk Raising Minimum Starting Wages to $15 per Hour Would Eliminate Seven Million Jobs

    Prominent Members of Congress have proposed raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, more than doubling the federal minimum wage. States with lower costs of living would see an even greater real increase. At the state level, the minimum wage would cover one-third of wage and salary workers. The new minimum-wage legislation, including payroll taxes and the employer…

  • Issue Brief posted July 19, 2016 by Lindsey Burke, Jamie Bryan Hall, Mary Clare Reim Big Debt, Little Study: What Taxpayers Should Know About College Students’ Time Use

    College students understandably bemoan the costs of higher education. During the 2015–2016 school year, annual costs[1] at four-year public universities reached $19,548 for in-state students and $34,031 for out-of-state students. Annual costs at private institutions reached $43,921.[2] Federal student aid has likely exacerbated the college cost problem, providing…