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  • Commentary posted August 19, 2014 by James Sherk How do you leave a union you don't know you belong to?

    Americans are fascinated with secret societies. From articles about the Illuminati to news reports on the Bilderberg Group, people love to speculate on furtive conspiracies. Now imagine an organization so secretive, even its own members don't know they belong to it. It sounds absurd, but a half million Americans belong to this secret club. It's likely that every week…

  • Backgrounder posted August 14, 2014 by Rachel Greszler Payroll-Tax Reallocation Would Rob Social Security and Prevent Necessary Disability Insurance Reforms

    A‌lthough Social Security’s 75-year shortfall is nearly 10 times as ‌large as that of the Disability Insurance (DI) program, the DI Trust Fund is projected to be exhausted much sooner. According to the Social Security trustees’ 2014 projections, the Social Security (Old-Age and Survivors Insurance—OASI) Trust Fund will be exhausted in 2034, but the DI Trust Fund will run…

  • Issue Brief posted August 11, 2014 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D., John L. Ligon Five Guiding Principles for Housing Finance Policy: A Free-Market Vision

    The two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, remain under government conservatorship with the federal government standing behind all of their obligations. Housing finance reform is likely to be addressed during the next congressional session, but it appears the House and the Senate may offer very different reform proposals. Congress…

  • Backgrounder posted August 7, 2014 by Salim Furth, Ph.D. The Export-Import Bank: What the Scholarship Says

    Much of the published support for the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) is based on inaccurate views of the function of the bank or on mischaracterizations of the economics of providing export subsidies, which is the bank’s actual function. Export subsidies were extensively studied in a lengthy scholarly literature on “strategic trade policy,”[1] which…

  • Commentary posted August 6, 2014 by James Sherk Unions for Big Businesses

    Would you like to own a small business someday? If so, sorry — the Service Employees International Union would rather you didn’t. The SEIU has convinced the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to eviscerate the franchising model that many small-business owners rely on. Under the current model, these small-business owners pay for the right to use a corporate brand. The…

  • Testimony posted August 6, 2014 by James Sherk IRS Abuses: Ensuring that Targeting Never Happens Again

    Testimony before Oversight and Government Reform Committee U.S. House of Representatives Chairman Issa, Ranking Member Cummings, and Members of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, thank you for inviting me to testify this morning. My name is James Sherk. I am a Senior Policy Analyst in Labor Economics at The Heritage Foundation. The views I express in this…

  • Backgrounder posted August 4, 2014 by Rachel Greszler, Romina Boccia Social Security Trustees Report: Unfunded Liability Increased $1.1 Trillion and Projected Insolvency in 2033

    Social Security ran a $71 billion deficit in 2013, closing out four years of consecutive cash-flow deficits as the program’s unfunded obligations continue to grow.[1] According to the 2014 annual report from the programs’ trustees, the combined 75-year unfunded obligation of the Social Security and Disability Insurance Trust Funds (referred to collectively as the OASDI…

  • Backgrounder posted August 1, 2014 by Rachel Greszler Social Security Disability Insurance Trust Fund Will Be Exhausted in Just Two Years: Beneficiaries Facing Nearly 20 Percent Cut in Benefits

    A‌fter five consecutive years of deficits, the Social Security Disability ‌Insurance (SSDI) Trust Fund will run dry in just two years.[1] If Congress does not act before 2016, benefits will be cut across the board by almost 20 percent. This would mean a $218 reduction in monthly benefits—from $1,146 to $928—for the average beneficiary,[2] lowering the average benefit…

  • Backgrounder posted August 1, 2014 by Rachel Greszler Raising the Social Security Payroll Tax Cap: Solving Nothing, Harming Much

    A‌lthough often brushed aside as the lesser of our nation’s ‌entitlement problems, the Social Security and Disability Insurance Programs’ $13.4 trillion (and rising) unfunded liability demands substantial reform.[1] Raising the payroll tax cap (from its current level of $117,000) should not be an option. Raising, or even eliminating, the payroll tax cap would not solve…

  • Commentary posted July 31, 2014 by James Sherk Welcome the Robots

    Is the increasing automation of our economy a threat to American wages and jobs? Should the American worker fear the rise of the robots? No, not really. Eighty years ago, John Maynard Keynes warned that society faced “a new disease” of “technological unemployment” in which the “means of economizing the use of labor [were] outrunning the pace at which we can find new uses…

  • Commentary posted July 31, 2014 by James Sherk, Emily Goff Bridges to Nowhere are no Economic Stimulus

    Standard and Poor’s just published a report sure to warm special interest hearts. The ratings agency argues that spending an additional $1.3 billion on infrastructure would boost the economy by $2 billion, create 30,000 jobs AND reduce the deficit. If true, more infrastructure spending is a no-brainer. Sadly, this economic free lunch does not actually exist. S&P’s report…

  • Backgrounder posted July 28, 2014 by Edmund F. Haislmaier, Drew Gonshorowski New Obamacare Enrollment Data: Employer-Based Coverage Declines

    The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a series of monthly reports on exchange performance during the initial open enrollment period (October 1, 2013, through March 31, 2014) for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), commonly known as Obamacare. However, the data HHS provided are insufficient for determining either the number of…

  • Commentary posted July 17, 2014 by David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D. New Brookings Report on Government Failures Ignores Failed Social Programs

    A new Brookings Institution report, “A Cascade of Failures,” by Paul C. Light concludes that the failures of the federal government are accelerating. As the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the federal government continually expand the power and responsibilities of the federal government beyond its core constitutional functions, none of the failures…

  • Testimony posted July 15, 2014 by James Sherk What Do Workers Want? Union Spending Does Not Reflect Member Priorities

    Testimony before State Government Committee Pennsylvania House of Representatives Chairman Metcalfe and Members of the State Government Committee, thank you for inviting me to testify this afternoon. My name is James Sherk. I am a Senior Policy Analyst in Labor Economics at The Heritage Foundation. The views I express in this testimony are my own, and should not be…

  • Testimony posted June 27, 2014 by Rachel Greszler Reducing the Challenges Women Face in Retirement Through Economic Growth and Savings Reforms

    Testimony Before the Joint Economic Committee United States Congress I am Rachel Greszler, Senior Policy Analyst in Economics and Entitlements in the Center for Data Analysis 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 Heritage Foundation. Vice-Chair Klobuchar,…