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  • Commentary posted January 14, 2015 by Salim Furth, Ph.D. Budget accuracy has a conservative bias

    There is hubris in every government project. The unspoken idea behind bills as comprehensive as the Affordable Care Act and Dodd-Frank is that legislators can understand how a system works, tinker with it and improve it. Psychologically, it is unreasonable to expect that anyone is unbiased about her own grand idea, so legislating has a built-in bias toward government…

  • Commentary posted January 13, 2015 by James Sherk Five Ways The Washington Post Got Middle Class Woes Wrong

    The Washington Post has recently published a series of articles arguing “America’s middle class is lost,” citing problems that go far beyond the recent recession. Take the accompanying graphic, which shows the year median income peaked in each U.S. county. In most, that happened in 1999 or earlier. The Post argues that over the past 25 years “the typical family’s income…

  • Commentary posted January 8, 2015 by James Sherk Liberal policies suppress wages: Opposing view

    Americans of all income levels would benefit from faster economic growth that raises wages. Unfortunately, wages are being held back by the very policies supported by those criticizing slow wage growth. Liberals across the country supported the misnamed Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). The law's mandates have made health coverage more expensive for both individuals…

  • Commentary posted January 6, 2015 by James Sherk And Then There Were Three: Kentucky Counties May Have Found the Secret to Right-to-Work Success

    A major economics story for conservatives slipped under the radar screen as Americans celebrated the New Year: Two more Kentucky counties passed local right-to-work laws. On December 30, Fulton and Simpson counties approved right-to-work ordinances; several more counties appear set to follow suit in the coming days. Right-to-work laws make union dues voluntary. Absent…

  • Commentary posted January 6, 2015 by James Sherk The argument that most workers are better off without unions

    Does the ability to buy Toyotas hurt middle-class Americans? That is essentially the argument made by those who say falling union membership has harmed the middle class. But it holds little water. The decline of unions has hurt unions — while benefiting most other Americans. Union membership certainly dropped sharply in the 1970s, the period when some argue things went…

  • Backgrounder posted December 30, 2014 by Salim Furth, Ph.D. Accurate Budget Scores Require Dynamic Analysis

    A‌s the new Congress considers changes to the Joint Committee ‌on Taxation (JCT) and Congressional Budget Office (CBO), it should promote improvement in the methods used for evaluating macroeconomic policy. Currently, the JCT and the CBO often use “static” scoring methods, which make very strong assumptions about equilibrium responses to policy changes, often assuming no…

  • Commentary posted December 22, 2014 by James Sherk Right-to-work laws: Myth vs. fact

    Many states and local governments are considering right-to-work laws. These laws make union dues voluntary. Without them, union contracts make paying dues a condition of employment. While most Americans support the concept of right-to-work, unions argue strenuously against them. However, most of the arguments against right-to-work have little basis in fact. Myth:…

  • Commentary posted December 22, 2014 by James Sherk The NRLB Gave Unions a Huge Boost Today . . . But It’s Not Likely to Last

    The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) just charged several dozen McDonalds franchises with unfair labor practices. In an unusual move, the NLRB also charged McDonalds Corp. as a co-defendant with its franchisees. As I wrote in August, these charges are part of a larger push by unions to curtail the franchise business model. Small-business owners run most fast-food…

  • Commentary posted December 18, 2014 by James Sherk Right-to-work law would protect Wisconsin workers

    Michael Romanchock recently got let go. But he was not "downsized." His employer had no issues with his performance. Romanchock got fired for not paying dues to the Teamsters. His experience demonstrates how right-to-work would help Wisconsin's workers and unemployed. Romanchock started his job in June last year. This March, the Teamsters sent him a letter demanding…

  • Backgrounder posted December 16, 2014 by James Sherk Creating Opportunity in the Workplace

    Workers face many challenges in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Wages and job opportunities have grown slowly since the recovery began five years ago, while technology continues to change the nature of work. While many workers enjoy opportunities unimaginable a generation ago, many others feel the economy has left them behind. Policies that make employees more…

  • Commentary posted December 15, 2014 by James Sherk The Kentucky County That Builds the Corvette Is About to Become Right-to-Work

    The momentum for right-to-work measures at the local level across the country might be gaining steam: Kentucky’s Warren County, which includes the city of Bowling Green, just passed a local right-to-work ordinance. A 5–1 bipartisan majority of the county legislature voted to make union dues voluntary for private-sector workers. The measure comes up for a second and final…

  • Issue Brief posted December 12, 2014 by James Sherk Right-to-Work Laws: Myth vs. Fact

    Many states and local governments are considering right-to-work laws. These laws make union dues voluntary. Without them, union contracts make paying dues a condition of employment. While most Americans support the concept of right-to-work, unions argue strenuously against them. However, most of the arguments against right-to-work have little basis in fact. Myth:…

  • Commentary posted December 5, 2014 by David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D. How Many Social Programs Show Gold-Standard Evidence of Success? Almost None

    In a recent blog post, Brookings scholar Ron Haskins identifies five social programs as being highly effective and highlights the Obama administration’s “evidence based” policy efforts to fund effective federal social programs. Unfortunately, these five social programs — Career Academies, Nurse-Family Partnership, Carrera Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program, Success…

  • Issue Brief posted December 4, 2014 by David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D., James Sherk Trade Adjustment Assistance: Let the Ineffective and Wasteful “Job-Training” Program Expire

    Members of Congress should be wary of reauthorizing the ineffective and wasteful Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program. Trade Adjustment Assistance should be considered on its own merits and not linked to legislative proposals, such as Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). Similarly, TPA should be evaluated independently based on its merits and not tied to unrelated…

  • Commentary posted December 3, 2014 by Rachel Greszler As the Pension Agency Falters, Who Gets Stuck With Bill?

    The latest annual report from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation makes for some very uncomfortable reading. The deficit in PBGC’s multi-employer program quintupled in 2014, soaring to $42.4 billion from “only” $8.3 billion in 2013. That massive deficit is problematic for millions of workers who now stand to receive mere pennies on the dollar in promised pension…