Issue Brief posted April 17, 2014
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
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…
Issue Brief posted March 27, 2014
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…
Backgrounder posted March 19, 2014
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
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
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. 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
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…
Backgrounder posted February 7, 2014
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
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.
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
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
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…