• Heritage Action
  • More
  • Backgrounder posted January 21, 2017 by James Sherk Labor Department Can Create Jobs by Calculating Davis–Bacon Rates More Accurately

    The Davis–Bacon Act (DBA) requires federal construction contractors to pay “prevailing” wages. However, the Department of Labor (DOL) estimates these prevailing rates unscientifically. DBA surveys use tiny, statistically unrepresentative samples of the construction workforce. As a result, DBA rates differ markedly from true market wages. Calculating DBA rates with Bureau…

  • Backgrounder posted January 19, 2017 by James Sherk $15 Minimum Wages Will Substantially Raise Prices

    Raising the minimum wage creates winners and losers. Those workers who receive higher pay benefit. But the money for that higher pay comes from somewhere. Advocates for a minimum wage hike usually argue that “somewhere” means profits. They present starting-wage increases as a way to redistribute wealth from business owners to low-wage workers. Reality is not so simple.…

  • Backgrounder posted January 19, 2017 by James Sherk The NLRB Can Protect Worker Voting Rights Administratively

    The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election processes have failed to achieve the National Labor Relations Act’s (NLRA) goal of enabling unionized workers to select their own representatives. Only 6 percent of workers currently represented by unions voted for union representation. The remaining workers are represented by legacy labor organizations for which they…

  • Backgrounder posted January 19, 2017 by Kevin D. Dayaratna, Ph.D., Nicolas Loris Rolling the DICE on Environmental Regulations: A Close Look at the Social Cost of Methane and Nitrous Oxide

    During his two terms in office, President Barack Obama claimed that global warming is an urgent problem and implemented costly policies in an effort to mitigate climate change.[1] This includes not only very public proposals like the Clean Power Plan and Paris Protocol, but also regulatory measures that are profound in their impact but less visible to the public. Chief…

  • Commentary posted January 17, 2017 by Rachel Greszler Workers Beware: Here Come State-Based Retirement Plans

    Under the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans lost the health insurance they liked. Now, the same could happen with their retirement savings. In August, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a little-known rule that allows states to set up retirement plans for private sector workers. States that do so must also require employers — typically those with five or more…

  • Backgrounder posted January 13, 2017 by Salim Furth, Ph.D. Economic Outlook for 2017

    As 2017 begins, the U.S. economy is in its eighth consecutive year of expansion, one of the longest periods of economic expansion in U.S. history, but the recession that took place when Slumdog Millionaire was best picture and Just Dance topped the charts still casts a shadow over the economy. Economists may debate what made the Great Recession of 2008–2009 so different…

  • Backgrounder posted December 22, 2016 by Robert Rector, Jamie Bryan Hall National Academy of Sciences Report Indicates Amnesty for Unlawful Immigrants Would Cost Trillions of Dollars

    Estimates indicate that there are at least 10 million adult illegal immigrants in the U.S. If granted amnesty or earned citizenship, these illegal immigrants would gain access to benefits under Social Security, Medicare, the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), and over 90 federal means-tested welfare programs. The value of the benefits that amnesty recipients would receive…

  • Backgrounder posted December 21, 2016 by John L. Ligon A Pathway to Shutting Down the Federal Housing Finance Enterprises

    Over the past 80 years, Congress has assembled a system of federal housing finance enterprises (FHFEs), which have led to the long-term deterioration of credit underwriting standards, created moral hazard, and encouraged imprudent risk-taking in the housing finance system. Indeed, beginning with the New Deal–era housing policies of the 1930s, Congress has created an…

  • Issue Brief posted December 15, 2016 by Patrick Tyrrell The Freedom to Pay Lower Prices

    Trading across borders lowers prices and increases consumer choice. The freedom to engage in this type of trade is a major factor in improving Americans’ standard of living. Both exports and imports improve the lives of Americans.[1] Low-Priced Imports Benefit Everyone The belief that exports are beneficial and imports are harmful comes from the eighteenth-century…

  • Issue Brief posted December 15, 2016 by Salim Furth, Ph.D. Regulation Continues to Increase Car Prices

    Evidence continues to mount that strict fuel economy standards are making cars and trucks more expensive than they would be otherwise. Up through 2008, new vehicle prices—adjusted for quality and the composition of the fleet—had declined steadily for decades. Since then, however, prices have stopped falling and are growing at almost the same rate as general inflation.…

  • Issue Brief posted December 12, 2016 by James Sherk Compulsory Union Representation Would Make Gig-Economy Jobs Less Flexible

    The city of Seattle has passed regulations unionizing rideshare drivers. Union activists in other cities have proposed similar measures. These ordinances violate federal law and are likely to be struck down in court. Even beyond the question of legality, however, these ordinances are simply bad policy. Compulsory union representation forces all workers to operate under…

  • Commentary posted November 29, 2016 by Salim Furth, Ph.D. Is Trade with China a Factor in Rising Mortality among Middle-Age White Men?

    In the aftermath of a presidential election that brought intense scrutiny to white, working-class voters in small towns, a new working paper in economics seeks to explain how at least two symptoms of social decline–suicide and substance abuse–relate to trade with China. The authors, Federal Reserve economist Justin R. Pierce and Peter K. Schott of the Yale School of…

  • Issue Brief posted November 22, 2016 by Salim Furth, Ph.D. Congress Should Not Let Concrete Block Growth

    Producers of concrete blocks have gone to Congress to get authorization for a new federal program to advertise and promote their product. If the authorization is passed and works as intended, it will increase the demand for concrete blocks, the price of construction, and the profits of block manufacturers, as well as lower the profits of other building material…

  • Backgrounder posted November 17, 2016 by Rachel Greszler How the Obama Administration’s New Rule to Create State-Based Retirement Savings Could Hurt Savers and Cost Taxpayers

    Private-sector workers, beware: Your personal retirement savings could become subject to your state government’s control. A new rule from the Department of Labor (DOL) may have created the equivalent of Obamacare for retirement savings—that is, if you like your current 401(k), you may not be able to keep it.[1] Moreover, the rule would allow state governments to trap…

  • Commentary posted November 3, 2016 by Rachel Greszler Social Security Needs to Return to Its Anti-Poverty Roots

    Social Security is unsustainable. It faces an $11.4 trillion deficit over the next 75 years. Yet Donald Trump wants to maintain current benefits, and Hillary Clinton wants to expand them. The next president needs to recognize that Social Security is much larger than it was ever intended to be — or needs to be — and that maintaining its current benefit structure will…