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  • Commentary posted March 30, 2015 by James Sherk Choice provided by right-to-work will help Wisconsin's union members

    Many wonder how right-to-work laws will affect Wisconsin. To see how, consider another question: Do monopolies help or hurt customers? Until now, unions have had a monopoly in many Wisconsin workplaces. They didn't have to persuade workers to purchase their services; they could force them to. Anyone who didn't pay dues — averaging about $700 a year — lost his or her…

  • Backgrounder posted March 26, 2015 by Rachel Greszler, Kevin D. Dayaratna, Ph.D. Time to End the Federal Subsidy for High-Tax States

    Under federal tax law, individuals may deduct the income and property taxes that they pay to their state and local governments. In recent years, individuals have been allowed to choose between deducting their income tax or sales taxes.[1] Because federal tax deductions effectively spread the costs of these deductions across all taxpayers in the form of higher federal tax…

  • Commentary posted March 25, 2015 by David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D. Congress should know whether programs work; right now, it doesn’t

    Last week, the House Budget Committee proposed spending almost $3.8 trillion in Fiscal Year 2016 — one-fifth of the country’s total economic output. Yet much of that huge amount will be spent with little regard to efficiency and accountability. The sad truth is that, for many federal programs, we have no way of knowing whether they are working well, poorly or not at all.…

  • Issue Brief posted March 20, 2015 by Drew Gonshorowski 2015 ACA-Exchange-Premiums Update: Premiums Still Rising

    Health care premiums are continuing to rise in 2015. While the pace of change has slowed since the dramatic increases of 2014, the savings promised under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have still not materialized. Measuring changes in premiums is an important element in understanding the impact of the ACA. In previous analysis, The Heritage Foundation determined that the…

  • Testimony posted March 17, 2015 by David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D. Evidence-Based Policymaking: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

    Testimony before the Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources United States House of Representatives March 17, 2015 David B. Muhlhausen, PhD Research Fellow in Empirical Policy Analysis The Heritage Foundation My name is David Muhlhausen. I am a Research Fellow in Empirical Policy Analysis in the Center for Data Analysis at The…

  • Backgrounder posted March 11, 2015 by Salim Furth, Ph.D. Stagnant Wages: Fact or Fiction?

    Recent data show that wages have been growing recently at rates comparable to their long-term trends. Measuring average wages accurately is more difficult than it sounds, so this paper looks at six metrics of wage and compensation to present a complete picture. Since the beginning of 2013, wages have grown about 0.9 percent per year. Since 2006 (and thus including the…

  • Commentary posted March 11, 2015 by James Sherk Walker Scores another Win for Wisconsin Workers

    Wisconsin governor Scott Walker made history today: His signature made Wisconsin a right-to-work state. This marks symbolic and substantive milestones. Symbolically, half the country now guarantees voluntary union dues. Substantively, Walker has helped demonstrate that right-to-work is a political asset, not a liability. Until today, unions could force workers to pay…

  • Issue Brief posted March 9, 2015 by David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D. A Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking: A Step in the Right Direction

    The effectiveness of federal programs is often unknown. Many programs operate for decades without ever undergoing thorough scientific evaluations. One such example is Head Start, the pre-K education program for disadvantaged children. A large-scale evaluation using random assignment demonstrated that almost all the benefits of the program disappear by kindergarten.[1]…

  • Commentary posted March 3, 2015 by David W. Kreutzer, Ph.D. President Barack Obama's plan to kill jobs

    Any Wisconsinites starting to wonder whether they are living through The Long Winter as described by Laura Ingalls Wilder, will find no comfort in President Barack Obama's plans to cut the use of our most affordable and reliable sources of energy. Though we may not be relegated to heating our homes by burning twisted bundles of straw, the president's plans to restrict use…

  • Testimony posted March 3, 2015 by James Sherk How Unions and Right-to-Work Laws Affect the Economy

    Testimony before Committee on Labor and Government Reform Wisconsin Senate February 24, 2015 James Sherk Senior Policy Analyst in Labor Economics The Heritage Foundation Chairman Nass, Vice-Chairman Wanggaard, and members of the Committee on Labor and Government Reform, thank you for inviting me to testify. My name is James Sherk. I am a Senior Policy Analyst in…

  • Commentary posted March 3, 2015 by David W. Kreutzer, Ph.D. Australia’s wind-power market deflates

    If you are sailing miles from shore and come upon the rusted prows of sunken ships, you can be sure that water is not that deep and it would be a good idea to change course. Australia is just the latest ship’s prow to warn us away from the treacherous path of green-energy mandates, taxes, and subsidies. Among the others have been Germany, Spain, and Italy. Earlier this…

  • Issue Brief posted February 24, 2015 by Salim Furth, Ph.D. Who Is Working Less?

    Labor force participation in the past few years has been lower than at any time since the 1970s. Heritage Foundation research using Current Population Survey (CPS) data finds that labor force participation decreased more among low-income households than among high-income households. Our finding contradicts results found by Stanford University economist Robert Hall using a…

  • Backgrounder posted February 17, 2015 by Kevin D. Dayaratna, Ph.D., Nicolas Loris, David W. Kreutzer, Ph.D. The Obama Administration’s Climate Agenda Will Hit Manufacturing Hard: A State-by-State Analysis

    In an earlier study, we examined the economic impact of climate change–related regulations at the national level and found devastating job losses over the course of the next two decades. In this study, we quantify this impact by state and congressional district. Not surprisingly, we find that all states would suffer from this policy. Given these results and the…

  • Commentary posted February 3, 2015 by Salim Furth, Ph.D. Cutting Unemployment Insurance Probably Does Create Jobs, But We Don’t Know How Many Yet

    A new paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research has made waves by claiming that 1.8 million jobs were created by the expiration of unemployment benefits at the end of 2013. What went into that estimate? Will it stand up to criticism? First, some perspective: 2014 really was a good year for the labor market. The U.S. economy created 3 million jobs in 2014, up…

  • Commentary posted February 3, 2015 by James Sherk Bruce Rauner Is Trying Kentucky’s Approach to Right-to-Work: Do It Locally

    Newly elected Illinois governor Bruce Rauner is already trying to shake up his state: He just proposed local right-to-work laws, albeit at the local rather than state level. As the Associated Press reports: "The states that are already growing don’t force unionization into their economy," Rauner told an audience at Richland Community College in Decatur, a city he said…