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  • Testimony posted November 17, 2014 by David W. Kreutzer, Ph.D. Impacts of Carbon Taxes on the US Economy

    LEGISLATIVE TESTIMONY The Impacts of Carbon Taxes on the U.S. Economy Testimony before Committee September 16, 2014 David W. Kreutzer, Ph.D. Research Fellow in Energy Economics and Climate Change The Heritage Foundation My name is David Kreutzer. I am Research Fellow in Energy Economics and Climate Change at The Heritage Foundation. The views I express in this…

  • Backgrounder posted November 13, 2014 by Kevin D. Dayaratna, Ph.D., Nicolas Loris, David W. Kreutzer, Ph.D. The Obama Administration’s Climate Agenda: Underestimated Costs and Exaggerated Benefits

    W‌hen his climate cap-and-trade bill was defeated in the Democrat-controlled Senate, President Barack Obama noted there were other ways of “skinning the cat.”[1] Now we know that his chosen way is an onslaught of mandates, regulations, and possibly taxes directed primarily by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The indicator…

  • Commentary posted November 10, 2014 by James Sherk Unions Spent Millions in 2014, and Came Up Empty

    Perhaps the biggest story of Tuesday night is the dog that barked but didn’t bite: the unions. Virtually every politician they targeted won. This was not expected. Midwest conservative politicians had passed a raft of recent labor reforms, and union leaders had threatened electoral retribution against them. But on election night, nothing happened. Consider: In 2011…

  • Commentary posted October 31, 2014 by James Sherk Why Right-to-Work Works

    When the Teamsters Union came knocking, Michael Romanchock refused to pony up the dues the union demanded. After all, he had worked nine months at his jobsite—a Pepsi bottling plant in Ebensburg, Pennsylvania—and didn’t even know it was unionized. Why pay for services you cannot notice? This May, union officials threatened to have him fired if he didn’t pay the dues,…

  • Commentary posted October 28, 2014 by James Sherk Why Has Wage Growth Stagnated?

    By many measures the labor market is improving smartly. The unemployment rate dropped to 5.9 percent in September—not far from the level many economists consider typical during normal economic conditions. The number of job vacancies has jumped almost one-fifth since the start of the year, while employers have created 2.6 million net new jobs over the last 12 months.…

  • Backgrounder posted October 22, 2014 by Edmund F. Haislmaier, Drew Gonshorowski Obamacare’s Enrollment Increase: Mainly Due to Medicaid Expansion

    W‌ith enrollment data now available for the second quarter ‌of 2014, it is possible to construct a complete picture of the changes in health insurance coverage that occurred during the initial implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), commonly known as Obamacare. The data show that in the first half of 2014, private health insurance…

  • Commentary posted October 21, 2014 by David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D. Studies Confirm: Death Penalties Deter Many Murders at Far Less Cost

    On September 17, Texas executed Lisa Coleman for murdering a 9-year-old child. Death penalty opponents argue that, even in the most heinous cases, executions are just too costly, and that society would do better to substitute life-without-parole sentences for lethal injections. Before examining the death penalty’s costs and benefits, though, let’s consider why Coleman…

  • Commentary posted October 8, 2014 by Rachel Greszler For the Economy’s Sake, it’s Time to Deep-Six the Death Tax

    Death and taxes are two of life’s certainties, but the tax on death itself should certainly be eliminated. A recent analysis by The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis found that doing away with the federal death tax would provide a much-needed, long-lasting boost to the nation’s economy. Indeed, it would increase economic growth by $46 billion over the next 10…

  • Commentary posted September 30, 2014 by David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D. How the Death Penalty Saves Lives

    On Sept. 10, Earl Ringo Jr. was executed in Missouri. Before you decide whether or not this is right, consider what Ringo did. In July 1998, Ringo and an accomplice planned to rob a restaurant where Ringo had previously worked. Early one morning, they followed delivery truck driver Dennis Poyser and manager-in-training Joanna Baysinger into the building before…

  • Backgrounder posted September 23, 2014 by John L. Ligon, Rachel Greszler, Patrick Tyrrell The Economic and Fiscal Effects of Eliminating the Federal Death Tax

    The federal estate tax (often referred to as the death tax) is a tax on a person’s lifetime accumulated property. In 2014, the death tax applies a 40 percent tax to all accumulated wealth above $5.34 million.[1] While the death tax applies to relatively few Americans and raises only tiny amounts of revenue for the federal government, it imposes substantial costs on the…

  • Commentary posted September 17, 2014 by Salim Furth, Ph.D., Curtis S. Dubay Six Demonstrably False Claims In Thomas Piketty’s Theory Of Wealth

    Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” became the most talked-about and most critiqued economics book of 2014 before academic readers had a chance to finish the book. When they did, many responded with rebuttals that cut directly to the core of Piketty’s argument. In “Capital,” Piketty makes six main claims. Here, we compare the evidence Piketty offers in…

  • Backgrounder posted September 12, 2014 by Curtis S. Dubay, Salim Furth, Ph.D. Understanding Thomas Piketty and His Critics

    Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century[1] is a treatise on how wealth inequality evolves in capitalistic economies. It is the most talked-about and most critiqued economics book of 2014 because Piketty’s timing was perfect: He released the English edition when income inequality was being actively debated in the United States. President Barack Obama brought…

  • Commentary posted September 8, 2014 by Andrew Kloster, James Sherk Why Your City or Town Could Be the Next Step for Right-to-Work

    Should workers have to pay union dues to keep their job? Unions think so — their contracts require companies to fire workers who do not pay up. Fortunately, many states have passed “right-to-work” (RTW) laws that prohibit this coercion. Unions, however, have blocked right-to-work in 26 states, but this doesn’t mean that unionized workers in these states must pay up. In…

  • Backgrounder posted September 4, 2014 by James Sherk Not Looking for Work: Why Labor Force Participation Has Fallen During the Recovery

    Originally published August 30, 2012—Revised and updated September 4, 2014 The American economy is experiencing the slowest recovery in 70 years. In addition to persistently high unemployment, labor force participation has fallen sharply since the recession began in December 2007. Today, 6.9 million fewer Americans are working or looking for work. This drop accounts for…

  • Issue Brief posted September 4, 2014 by James Sherk Higher Fast-Food Wages: Higher Fast-Food Prices

    Union activists want to raise the minimum wage in the fast-food industry to $15 an hour. However, fast-food restaurants operate on very small profit margins; they could only afford such wages by raising prices—significantly. Higher prices would, in turn, drive customers away, forcing even larger price increases to cover costs. Ultimately, the average fast-food restaurant…