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  • Commentary posted August 19, 2015 by James Sherk Union members have a choice, and they don't even know it

    What keeps business owners up at night? The fear of losing customers. Companies spend billions to create the next big thing and then billions more on advertising to persuade consumers to buy it. Do labor unions have that same worry? A new poll by National Employee Freedom Week, a coalition of 99 nonprofit organizations in 42 states, suggests many do not. The poll asked…

  • Backgrounder posted August 6, 2015 by David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D. The Head Start CARES Demonstration: Another Failed Federal Early Childhood Education Program

    Calls for the federal government to fund universal preschool programs and expand early childhood education programs seem to never cease. The two small-scale studies—of the High/Scope Perry Preschool Project begun in 1962 and the Carolina Abecedarian Project begun in 1972—that were used to demonstrate the effectiveness of such interventions are now outdated.[1] Their…

  • Backgrounder posted July 30, 2015 by Rachel Greszler Bankrupt Pensions and Insolvent Pension Insurance: The Case of Multiemployer Pensions and the PBGC’s Multiemployer Program

    A growing number of private, multiemployer pension plans are projected to become insolvent over the coming years, as is the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), the government entity that insures them. Absent substantial reform, the PBGC will be unable to pay promised benefits to the retirees of the failed pension plans that it insures. If Congress does not alter…

  • Issue Brief posted July 27, 2015 by Rachel Greszler, Salim Furth, Ph.D. An Economic Crisis Is the Heart of Puerto Rico’s Financial Crisis

    Puerto Rico faces a severe fiscal crisis, but this is merely a symptom of Puerto Rico’s primary disease: a lack of economic growth. Over the past decade, as Puerto Rico’s debt has expanded rapidly, the economy has contracted more than 10 percent. If the economy were growing, Puerto Rico would be much better positioned to address its fiscal crisis and might have averted it…

  • Testimony posted July 24, 2015 by James Sherk How the Common Construction Wage Affects the Cost and Quality of Construction Projects

    How the Common Construction Wage Affects the Cost and Quality of Construction Projects Testimony before Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee Indiana State Senate March 31, 2015 James Sherk Research Fellow in Labor Economics The Heritage Foundation Chairman Hershman and Members of the Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee, thank you for inviting me to testify. My name is…

  • Backgrounder posted July 24, 2015 by Rachel Greszler Social Security Trustees: Disability Insurance Program Will Be Insolvent in 2016

    A‌ccording to the 2015 Social Security Trustees Report, the Social ‌Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Trust Fund is on course to run dry in 2016, six decades after the program began in 1956.[1] Absent reform, disability benefits will be cut across the board by almost 20 percent, and the average disabled worker’s benefit will fall below the federal poverty level. For…

  • Testimony posted July 24, 2015 by Kevin D. Dayaratna, Ph.D. An Analysis of the Obama Administration’s Social Cost of Carbon

    Testimony before Committee on Natural Resources United States House of Representatives July 23, 2015 Kevin D. Dayaratna, PhD Senior Statistician and Research Programmer The Heritage Foundation Chairman Bishop and Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify about the social cost of carbon. My name is Kevin Dayaratna. I am the Senior…

  • Commentary posted July 21, 2015 by Rachel Greszler Private option could help save disability insurance — and disabled workers, too

    The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program has many problems. For starters, it will run out of money next year, which could mean 20 percent benefit cuts. The program also suffers from excessive wait times, complicated rules and procedures, inconsistent decisions, deficient rehabilitation services, and insufficient protections against fraud. Introducing an…

  • Backgrounder posted July 20, 2015 by Rachel Greszler Private Disability Insurance Option Could Help Save SSDI and Improve Individual Well-being

    The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program will run out of money in a little over a year. Absent reforms, SSDI benefits will be cut about 20 percent, bringing the average benefit to below the poverty level. Before jumping to the quickest, allegedly easy, fix—a reallocation of payroll taxes from the Social Security retirement program to SSDI—policymakers need…

  • Backgrounder posted July 20, 2015 by James Sherk, Lindsey Burke Automation and Technology Increase Living Standards

    Many Americans worry that automation will significantly reduce the need for human employees. Historical experience should help to alleviate many of these concerns. Technological advances have eliminated specific jobs and reduced prices, but the historical record shows this has left consumers with more money to spend elsewhere, increasing the demand for human labor in…

  • Commentary posted July 10, 2015 by James Sherk Overtime regulations will hurt workplace flexibility, not raise wages

    President Barack Obama has pitched his new overtime regulations as a way to raise wages. However, even economists who support the change admit that's unlikely to happen. Instead, they expect employers to cut workers' pay by an offsetting amount. So how will this new overtime rule affect the economy? Primarily by forcing salaried workers to log their hours. That's right -…

  • Commentary posted July 7, 2015 by David W. Kreutzer, Ph.D. Bureaucrats rarely give consumers what they want

    The guiding fiscal principle of President Obama’s 2009 Stimulus Package was simple: “spend it as fast as you can.” Programs operating under that principle are almost predestined to flunk a cost-benefit test — and the federal Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) has proved to be no exception. University of Chicago researchers have documented that WAP is yet another…

  • Backgrounder posted July 2, 2015 by James Sherk Salaried Overtime Requirements: Employers Will Offset Them with Lower Pay

    The Obama Administration has announced plans to require overtime pay for salaried employees who earn less than $50,440 a year. Economic research shows that employers will offset new overtime costs by lowering base salaries. As a result, these regulations will have little effect on total weekly earnings or hours worked. They will require employers to rigidly monitor…

  • Issue Brief posted July 1, 2015 by Salim Furth, Ph.D., James M. Roberts, Mike Gonzalez, Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. Puerto Rico Needs Economic Freedom, Not Bailouts

    Puerto Rico is in a debt crisis, and Governor Alejandro García Padilla (D) has announced that “the debt is not payable” given the commonwealth’s large deficits and collapsing economy.[1] Presenting a government-commissioned report, economist Anne Krueger explained that the origin of Puerto Rico’s debt is decades of stimulus spending and economic stagnation: Since 1996,…

  • Testimony posted June 25, 2015 by Kevin D. Dayaratna, Ph.D. The Economic Impact of the Clean Power Plan

    Testimony before the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology June 24, 2015 Kevin D. Dayaratna, PhD Senior Statistician and Research Programmer The Heritage Foundation Chairman Smith and Members of the Committee, thank you for inviting me to testify. My name is Kevin Dayaratna. I am the Senior Statistician and Research Programmer at The Heritage Foundation. The views…