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  • Testimony posted March 3, 2015 by James Sherk How Unions and Right-to-Work Laws Affect the Economy

    Testimony before Committee on Labor and Government Reform Wisconsin Senate February 24, 2015 James Sherk Senior Policy Analyst in Labor Economics The Heritage Foundation Chairman Nass, Vice-Chairman Wanggaard, and members of the Committee on Labor and Government Reform, thank you for inviting me to testify. My name is James Sherk. I am a Senior Policy Analyst in…

  • Commentary posted March 3, 2015 by David W. Kreutzer, Ph.D. Australia’s wind-power market deflates

    If you are sailing miles from shore and come upon the rusted prows of sunken ships, you can be sure that water is not that deep and it would be a good idea to change course. Australia is just the latest ship’s prow to warn us away from the treacherous path of green-energy mandates, taxes, and subsidies. Among the others have been Germany, Spain, and Italy. Earlier this…

  • Commentary posted March 3, 2015 by David W. Kreutzer, Ph.D. President Barack Obama's plan to kill jobs

    Any Wisconsinites starting to wonder whether they are living through The Long Winter as described by Laura Ingalls Wilder, will find no comfort in President Barack Obama's plans to cut the use of our most affordable and reliable sources of energy. Though we may not be relegated to heating our homes by burning twisted bundles of straw, the president's plans to restrict use…

  • Issue Brief posted February 24, 2015 by Salim Furth, Ph.D. Who Is Working Less?

    Labor force participation in the past few years has been lower than at any time since the 1970s. Heritage Foundation research using Current Population Survey (CPS) data finds that labor force participation decreased more among low-income households than among high-income households. Our finding contradicts results found by Stanford University economist Robert Hall using a…

  • Backgrounder posted February 17, 2015 by Kevin D. Dayaratna, Ph.D., Nicolas Loris, David W. Kreutzer, Ph.D. The Obama Administration’s Climate Agenda Will Hit Manufacturing Hard: A State-by-State Analysis

    In an earlier study, we examined the economic impact of climate change–related regulations at the national level and found devastating job losses over the course of the next two decades. In this study, we quantify this impact by state and congressional district. Not surprisingly, we find that all states would suffer from this policy. Given these results and the…

  • Commentary posted February 3, 2015 by James Sherk Bruce Rauner Is Trying Kentucky’s Approach to Right-to-Work: Do It Locally

    Newly elected Illinois governor Bruce Rauner is already trying to shake up his state: He just proposed local right-to-work laws, albeit at the local rather than state level. As the Associated Press reports: "The states that are already growing don’t force unionization into their economy," Rauner told an audience at Richland Community College in Decatur, a city he said…

  • Commentary posted February 3, 2015 by Salim Furth, Ph.D. Cutting Unemployment Insurance Probably Does Create Jobs, But We Don’t Know How Many Yet

    A new paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research has made waves by claiming that 1.8 million jobs were created by the expiration of unemployment benefits at the end of 2013. What went into that estimate? Will it stand up to criticism? First, some perspective: 2014 really was a good year for the labor market. The U.S. economy created 3 million jobs in 2014, up…

  • Backgrounder posted January 29, 2015 by Edmund F. Haislmaier, Drew Gonshorowski Q3 2014 Health Insurance Enrollment: Employer Coverage Continues to Decline, Medicaid Keeps Growing

    During the third quarter (Q3) of 2014, enrollment in employer-sponsored coverage continued to decline, while Medicaid enrollment continued to grow. However, enrollment in individual-market plans—which substantially increased in both of the first two quarters—also declined by 357,000 during the third quarter. The net result was that total enrollment decreased by 160,000…

  • Backgrounder posted January 26, 2015 by James Sherk Unions Charge Higher Dues and Pay Their Officers Larger Salaries in Non–Right-to-Work States

    Businesses with monopolies charge higher prices and operate less efficiently than they would facing competition. Labor unions operate no differently. Unions charge workers more and spend their money less carefully in states where they can compel workers to purchase their services. Union financial reports reveal that they charge workers roughly 10 percent higher dues and…

  • Commentary posted January 14, 2015 by Salim Furth, Ph.D. Budget accuracy has a conservative bias

    There is hubris in every government project. The unspoken idea behind bills as comprehensive as the Affordable Care Act and Dodd-Frank is that legislators can understand how a system works, tinker with it and improve it. Psychologically, it is unreasonable to expect that anyone is unbiased about her own grand idea, so legislating has a built-in bias toward government…

  • Commentary posted January 13, 2015 by James Sherk Five Ways The Washington Post Got Middle Class Woes Wrong

    The Washington Post has recently published a series of articles arguing “America’s middle class is lost,” citing problems that go far beyond the recent recession. Take the accompanying graphic, which shows the year median income peaked in each U.S. county. In most, that happened in 1999 or earlier. The Post argues that over the past 25 years “the typical family’s income…

  • Commentary posted January 8, 2015 by James Sherk Liberal policies suppress wages: Opposing view

    Americans of all income levels would benefit from faster economic growth that raises wages. Unfortunately, wages are being held back by the very policies supported by those criticizing slow wage growth. Liberals across the country supported the misnamed Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). The law's mandates have made health coverage more expensive for both individuals…

  • Commentary posted January 6, 2015 by James Sherk And Then There Were Three: Kentucky Counties May Have Found the Secret to Right-to-Work Success

    A major economics story for conservatives slipped under the radar screen as Americans celebrated the New Year: Two more Kentucky counties passed local right-to-work laws. On December 30, Fulton and Simpson counties approved right-to-work ordinances; several more counties appear set to follow suit in the coming days. Right-to-work laws make union dues voluntary. Absent…

  • Commentary posted January 6, 2015 by James Sherk The argument that most workers are better off without unions

    Does the ability to buy Toyotas hurt middle-class Americans? That is essentially the argument made by those who say falling union membership has harmed the middle class. But it holds little water. The decline of unions has hurt unions — while benefiting most other Americans. Union membership certainly dropped sharply in the 1970s, the period when some argue things went…

  • Backgrounder posted December 30, 2014 by Salim Furth, Ph.D. Accurate Budget Scores Require Dynamic Analysis

    A‌s the new Congress considers changes to the Joint Committee ‌on Taxation (JCT) and Congressional Budget Office (CBO), it should promote improvement in the methods used for evaluating macroeconomic policy. Currently, the JCT and the CBO often use “static” scoring methods, which make very strong assumptions about equilibrium responses to policy changes, often assuming no…