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  • Issue Brief posted April 17, 2014 by James Sherk, Rachel Greszler Paycheck Fairness Act Would Reduce Pay and Flexibility in the Workplace

    In the name of protecting women from discrimination, the Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA) would allow employees to sue businesses that pay different workers different wages—even if those differences have nothing to do with the employees’ sex. These lawsuits can be brought for unlimited damages, giving a windfall to trial lawyers. Any financial benefits they reap, however,…

  • Issue Brief posted April 3, 2014 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D., John L. Ligon U.S. Financial Markets Do Not Need a New Regulator: Senate Misses the Mark

    Senators Tim Johnson (D–SD) and Mike Crapo (R–ID) have released a new housing finance reform bill, and as expected, it is very similar to the bill that Senators Bob Corker (R–TN) and Mark Warner (D–VA) released last June. Both Senate proposals would wind down the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and both would replace the GSEs with a new…

  • Commentary posted April 2, 2014 by James Sherk Liberal Economists Are Caught in a Bind Trying to Sell Obama’s Overtime Laws

    President Harry Truman once famously quipped: “Give me a one-handed economist! All my economists say, ‘On the one hand, on the other . . .’” This probably isn’t exactly quite what he meant, but some economists are earnestly taking both sides of a debate over President Obama’s new overtime regulations, which expand time-and-a-half requirements to certain jobs. In a…

  • Issue Brief posted March 27, 2014 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D., John L. Ligon Johnson–Crapo Housing Finance Reform Misguided

    Senators Tim Johnson (D–SD) and Mike Crapo (R–ID) have released a new housing finance reform bill, and as expected, it is very similar to the bill that Senators Bob Corker (R–TN) and Mark Warner (D–VA) released last June. Both Senate proposals would wind down the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but both would also replace the GSEs…

  • Commentary posted March 20, 2014 by James Sherk Goodbye, flexible work arrangements

    Millions of salaried workers may soon lose flexibility in how they work. President Obama plans to cover them under federal overtime regulations. This won't raise their pay. It will, however, effectively convert them into hourly workers - putting the kibosh on the flexible work arrangements many employees value. Hourly employees get paid time-and-a-half for working more…

  • Backgrounder posted March 19, 2014 by David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D. Do Federal Social Programs Work?

    Do federal social programs work? This is a simple question. While the question may be straightforward, however, finding an answer is complicated. To answer in the affirmative, federal social programs must ameliorate the social problems they target. In essence, social programs seek to improve human behavior in ways that will make people better off. For example, the social…

  • Issue Brief posted March 13, 2014 by James Sherk Expand Employee Participation in the Workplace

    The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) prohibits most employee-participation programs, such as the proposed works council program in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Workers must choose between a traditional union and no formal representation at all. Congress should modify the NLRA to allow workers to participate in works councils and employee involvement programs. This would…

  • Issue Brief posted March 5, 2014 by Drew Gonshorowski Compensation and Obamacare’s Impact on Low-Wage Workers

    In February, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a budget outlook that showed significant changes in the effect of Obamacare on the supply of labor. This led to a furious outcry from Obamacare proponents and critics.[1] However, one additional bit of conversation seemed to get lost in the shuffle: The CBO clearly states that Obamacare will lower aggregate labor…

  • Issue Brief posted February 28, 2014 by Rea S. Hederman, Jr., Rachel Greszler, John L. Ligon Chairman Camp’s Tax Reform Plan a Milestone for Dynamic Analysis

    House Ways and Means Committee chairman Dave Camp (R–MI) released a plan for comprehensive tax reform. Setting aside its merits, Camp’s proposal is noteworthy on two accounts: (1) It presents the most comprehensive tax reform proposal in decades, and (2) it includes a dynamic estimate from the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT). The latter is a long overdue and welcome…

  • Commentary posted February 19, 2014 by James Sherk What the Times Doesn’t Say about the Minimum Wage

    Bias often appears in facts someone omits, not in actual inaccuracies. Take the New York Times’ new minimum wage calculator, which shows how difficult it can be to support oneself on just a minimum-wage income. Left unsaid: Few minimum-wage workers do so. The Times’ calculator asks users to try to balance living expenses on a minimum-wage budget. No doubt about it –…

  • Commentary posted February 11, 2014 by James Sherk How the Affordable Care Act is Killing Jobs

    Fewer Americans either have or are looking for jobs today than at any point since 1978 – and  President Obama’s health care law is about to make this problem much worse.   The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) just estimated the Affordable Care Act will eliminate the equivalent of 2.5 million jobs a year. Obamacare is reducing both the supply of and demand for…

  • Backgrounder posted February 7, 2014 by John L. Ligon, Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. GSE Reform: The Economic Effects of Eliminating a Government Guarantee in Housing Finance

    The U.S. government was barely involved in the housing finance market before the Great Depression. Subsequently, the Federal National Mortgage Association (commonly known as Fannie Mae) and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) attained an almost legendary status for having “saved” the housing market in the 1930s with various forms of government guarantees. The…

  • Backgrounder posted February 3, 2014 by Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D., Rea S. Hederman, Jr. CBO Confirms: Medicare Premium Support Means Savings for Taxpayers and Seniors

    A major report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) confirms that Medicare premium support (a defined-contribution system of health-plan financing) would make the financially troubled federal program more fiscally sustainable.[1] The CBO finds that, in a new competitive system of health plans, private plans can offer the same benefit and services as traditional…

  • Issue Brief posted January 28, 2014 by James Sherk, Filip Jolevski Labor Unions: Stagnant Membership Shows Need for Labor Law Modernization

    Union density changed little in 2013. Overall density remained at last year’s post–World War II low of 11.3 percent. Just one in 15 private-sector workers holds a union card, and half of all union members now work in government. Unions have had little success selling traditional collective bargaining to today’s private-sector workers, but the law prohibits alternative…

  • Issue Brief posted January 21, 2014 by James Sherk Most Minimum-Wage Jobs Lead to Better-Paying Opportunities

    The minimum wage does not need to rise for minimum-wage employees to get a raise. Two-thirds of minimum-wage workers make above the minimum wage a year later. This happens because most minimum-wage jobs are entry-level positions. They teach unskilled and inexperienced workers basic employment skills. Without these skills, they cannot qualify for higher-paying jobs. As…