Issue Brief posted November 24, 2015
Time to Cut Out the SSA as Middleman in SSDI Representation
Unlike traditional attorney-client relationships in which the client pays the attorney at the conclusion of a case, attorneys who represent Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claimants receive payment directly from the Social Security Administration (SSA), even though it is not the SSA’s money. SSDI claimants enter into private contracts with representatives to…
Backgrounder posted November 23, 2015
Costly Mistakes: How Bad Policies Raise the Cost of Living
Government policy mistakes raise the prices of the things that Americans buy. An average American household can expect to pay an extra $4,440 each year thanks to just 12 such policy mistakes that have large costs and few benefits.
Local, state, and federal governments are all guilty of enforcing costly laws and regulations. At the federal level, the biggest costs come…
Backgrounder posted November 9, 2015
Union Membership and Compulsory Dues Do Not Increase Workers’ Overall Living Standards
Unions do not provide general economic benefits to non-union workers that could justify forcing non-union workers to pay union dues. The National Labor Relations Act provides that a majority of workers in a bargaining unit of a company may elect to have a union represent all the unit’s workers, whether they are members of the union or not, in negotiations with company…
Issue Brief posted October 28, 2015
Analysis of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015
The federal budget is on a dangerous trajectory and immediate corrective action is required. The U.S. national debt is at $18.1 trillion. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), if the government remains on its currently planned course, it will spend $7 trillion more over the next 10 years than it will receive in taxes, piling on even more debt.
Backgrounder posted October 26, 2015
Stagnant Wages: What the Data Show
Recent data show that wages have been growing at rates comparable to their long-term trends. Measuring average wages accurately is more difficult than it sounds, so this Backgrounder examines six metrics of wage and compensation to present a complete picture.
Since the beginning of 2013, wages have grown between 1.1 percent and 1.9 percent per year. Over longer…
Backgrounder posted October 23, 2015
Improving Social Security Disability Insurance with a Flat Benefit
Social Security’s Disability Insurance (SSDI) program has existed for nearly 60 years. Over that time, it has morphed from a relatively small-scale, anti-poverty program into a massive system that provides benefits to one out of every 20 working-age individuals. Despite its size and expense, the program fails to keep millions out of poverty.
Rather than maintaining the…
Backgrounder posted October 15, 2015
Evidence-Based Policymaking: A Primer
The federal government’s total debt exceeds $18.1 trillion. However, even this huge figure understates the nation’s debt. Due to the absence of fiscal restraint after restoration of the debt limit in March 2015 at a level of $18.1 trillion, the Department of the Treasury has been forced to engage in extraordinary measures to continue borrowing, mainly raiding funds…
Backgrounder posted October 15, 2015
2014 Health Insurance Enrollment: Increase Due Almost Entirely to Medicaid Expansion
Last year’s changes in health insurance enrollment are of particular interest, as 2014 was the year in which key provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) took effect—most notably, the offering of subsidies for coverage purchased through the new government exchanges and the ACA’s Medicaid expansion. Analysis of enrollment data for private health insurance…
Issue Brief posted September 1, 2015
Right-to-Work Laws Don’t Lower Private-Sector Pay
Advocates for compulsory unionization have argued that right-to-work (RTW) laws reduce wages by 3 percent. A forthcoming Heritage Foundation Backgrounder finds instead that, when living costs are fully taken into account, private-sector workers in RTW states enjoy real wages equivalent to those in non-RTW states. Policymakers considering RTW legislation may do so…