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  • Backgrounder posted April 22, 2016 by David W. Kreutzer, Ph.D., Nicolas Loris, Katie Tubb, Kevin D. Dayaratna, Ph.D. The State of Climate Science: No Justification for Extreme Policies

    Hysteria over global warming is now pervasive in the federal government, driving not just the Obama Administration’s energy and environmental policies, but also those of nearly every federal department and agency.[1] Throughout his term in office, President Obama consistently has said that policy action to combat man-made global warming is imperative and urgent. On the…

  • Issue Brief posted April 15, 2016 by Salim Furth, Ph.D. Six Hidden Taxes

    Thousands of federal regulations raise the prices of goods and services that Americans buy. Just six of these regulations raise prices enough to cost the average American household $1,005 per year.[1] Consumers pay hidden taxes when they buy a new or used car, fill their gas tank, and pay for their groceries. According to most estimates, income growth for middle-class…

  • Issue Brief posted April 15, 2016 by Salim Furth, Ph.D. Local Land-Use Reform Can Save Money and Raise Wages

    Americans who are struggling to pay their bills or to increase their standard of living would get a big lift if local governments around the country reduced the regulation of land use and strengthened individual property rights. Too many local governments have bought into the harmful ideas that cities and suburbs ought to be “planned” by experts and that new construction…

  • Backgrounder posted April 13, 2016 by Kevin D. Dayaratna, Ph.D., Nicolas Loris, David W. Kreutzer, Ph.D. Consequences of Paris Protocol: Devastating Economic Costs, Essentially Zero Environmental Benefits

    During the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, President Barack Obama met with world leaders from around the globe to discuss plans to combat climate change. The general consensus from the summit was that the use of natural resources, such as coal, oil, and natural gas—which provide 80 percent of the world’s energy needs—should be avoided. Furthermore,…

  • Special Report posted April 11, 2016 by Geoffrey Lawrence, James Sherk, Kevin D. Dayaratna, Ph.D., Cameron Belt How Government Unions Affect State and Local Finances: An Empirical 50-State Review

    Executive Summary Over the past half-century, the American union movement has moved into government. Despite highly publicized efforts to curtail collective bargaining powers of government unions in Ohio and Wisconsin, almost all changes to government collective bargaining statutes over the past 20 years have increased, not decreased, the powers enjoyed by government…

  • Issue Brief posted April 6, 2016 by Rachel Greszler Rescuing Entitlements and Pensions: Study Shows Americans Can Work Longer

    A new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) estimates that Americans can work significantly longer than they currently do.[1] According to the study, Americans could work an additional 2.5 years to 4.2 years on average between the ages of 55 and 69. This is equivalent to a 30 percent to 50 percent increase in employment among this age group. This is…

  • Commentary posted April 5, 2016 by Salim Furth, Ph.D. Want to Fight Global Warming? Forget Fuel Economy Standards and Focus on Land Use.

    Having led and won the fight in the 1960s and ‘70s to reduce air pollution from automobiles, California's road regulators turned their sights on a more ambitious goal: curbing global warming at the tailpipe through fuel-economy standards. But powerful evidence shows that these standards are costly for consumers and have almost no impact on the environment. The federal…

  • Issue Brief posted April 1, 2016 by Salim Furth, Ph.D., Rachel Greszler Draft House Legislation Falls Short of Priorities for Puerto Rico

    Congress should not lose sight of key conservative priorities as it considers whether (and how) to respond to the economic and fiscal crisis in Puerto Rico. The troubled territory has been a laboratory for progressive politics and crony capitalism for decades. Predictably, the government has smothered the private sector, and workers receive a lower share of income in…

  • Commentary posted March 29, 2016 by Rachel Greszler Congress Wants Union Pension Bailout, but Can't Afford Promises

    Many workers have been promised far more in pensions than their employers — public or private — can afford to pay them. Puerto Rico, for example, will soon have to start tapping general revenues for some $750 million annually just to cover its pension IOUs. Stateside, a similar day of reckoning fast approaches the United Mine Workers of America. Unfortunately, as the…

  • Backgrounder posted March 23, 2016 by John L. Ligon Time to Shut Down the USDA’s Rural Housing Service

    The Rural Housing Service (RHS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is an unnecessary artifact—part of the post–New Deal vision of federal government housing policy. At the RHS’s inception in 1949, the agency was primarily focused on providing rural-development support to farmers and laborers. Today, however, the RHS specifically targets “underserved” rural areas…

  • Issue Brief posted March 22, 2016 by Rachel Greszler Congress Should Not Give Puerto Rico Federal Tax Subsidies

    Policymakers are considering extending federal tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC)—but not the rest of the federal tax code—to Puerto Rico as a way to help the island emerge from its economic and fiscal crisis. This would amount to an expensive cash bailout and would not address the core problems that caused Puerto Rico’s…

  • Issue Brief posted March 14, 2016 by Rachel Greszler Congress Can Help Pensioners, But Not Through a Bailout

    Some lawmakers want to bail out a select group of coal workers’ pensions by tapping a fund designated for environmental cleanup. The Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Fund (AML) is needed for cleanup of abandoned coal mines and should not be used to fund the pension and retiree health benefits of one particular coal miners’ union—the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA).…

  • Commentary posted March 14, 2016 by Salim Furth, Ph.D. Fuel Economy Standards Hurt the Middle Class

    Presidential candidates from both parties have vowed to help the middle class in a variety of ways. Unfortunately, many of their ideas, such as higher tariffs and corporate welfare, would do more harm than good. Here's one idea that would actually help: Stop forcing automakers to resort to ever more extreme and expensive techniques to increase gas mileage. The…

  • Backgrounder posted March 4, 2016 by Salim Furth, Ph.D., David W. Kreutzer, Ph.D. Fuel Economy Standards Are a Costly Mistake

    The Obama Administration’s regulations intended to force very rapid increases in vehicle fuel economy are adding thousands of dollars to the prices of new cars. Vehicle prices are rising in ways that are consistent with the predictions of studies undertaken several years ago. It is likely that the regulations are adding at least $3,800 (perhaps much more) to the average…

  • Commentary posted February 12, 2016 by Rachel Greszler Puerto Rico Can Move Forward Without Congress

    Congress and the president have proposed various federal interventions and bailouts to save the cash-strapped and economically troubled commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew sent a letter to Congress last month claiming that "only Congress can enact the legislative measures necessary to fully resolve this problem." Yet the island is working within its…