Issue Brief posted April 18, 2014
Job Creation: Policies to Boost Employment and Economic Growth
Nearly five years since the official end of the great recession in June 2009, 10.5 million Americans are unemployed, and the labor force participation rate remains near a 35-year low. The weak labor market exists despite trillions of dollars in fiscal and monetary stimulus aimed at boosting employment and economic growth.
Rather than increase the size of the federal…
Issue Brief posted April 18, 2014
Fannie and Freddie 2.0: The Senate Does Not Get the Government Out of the Market
In an effort to reform the nation’s housing finance system, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D–SD) and ranking member Mike Crapo (R–ID) have announced that they will hold a markup for their bill on April 29, but many details still have to be ironed out.
Given that close to 100 percent of the U.S. mortgage market is now backed by the federal government, it…
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 11, 2014
U.S. Export–Import Bank: Corporate Welfare on the Backs of Taxpayers
Congress will soon debate the fate of the U.S. Export–Import Bank (Ex–Im), which doles out financing to favored corporations and credit to foreign governments. Proponents claim that such taxpayer bankrolling creates jobs and fills “gaps” in private financing. In fact, the bank is a conduit for corporate welfare beset by unreliable risk management, inefficiency, and…
Issue Brief posted April 7, 2014
The “Heat and Eat” Food Stamp Loophole and the Outdated Cost Projections for Farm Programs
In February, Congress passed a new farm bill that lacked meaningful and necessary reform. Making matters worse, Congress made critical mistakes that will have a major impact on both food stamps and farm programs. The most significant attempt at food stamp reform was to close the “heat and eat” loophole, which allows states to artificially boost the amount of food stamps…
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…
Issue Brief posted March 20, 2014
Camp Bill Keeps Good Debate Going, but Bank Tax Embeds “Too Big to Fail”
Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R–MI) has performed a valuable service in highlighting the need to reform the tax code, but the draft proposal falls short of what is needed. In particular, the plan’s new “bank tax” would embed the anti-market principle that certain financial companies are too big to fail. The bank tax would actually magnify the government’s…
Issue Brief posted March 19, 2014
Clumsy Regulation Puts Insurance at Risk
The Senate Banking Committee convened this week to examine recent moves by federal regulators against insurance companies. There exists considerable confusion on and off the Hill about Washington’s place in what has always been the states’ regulatory domain—confusion produced by lawmakers’ careless crafting of the Dodd–Frank statute. Absent a congressional fix,…
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 February 21, 2014
No Retreat on Flood Insurance Reform
The House is slated next week to decide whether taxpayers will continue to subsidize flood insurance for private property. The pending legislation would rescind reforms adopted in 2012 to stem the debt incurred by the government’s unworkable insurance scheme. But a variety of legislative alternatives exist that would assist flood-prone property owners without foisting the…
Issue Brief posted January 28, 2014
Trade Promotion Authority and Economic Freedom
Earlier this year, legislation was introduced to give President Obama Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) that would put new trade agreements on the fast track to congressional consideration. Under TPA, the President could negotiate agreements with other countries that would then be submitted to Congress for an up-or-down vote with no amendments.
Many who have commented…
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…
Issue Brief posted January 10, 2014
Heritage Jobs Report: Unemployment Drop Is Coal in America’s Stocking
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate fell to 6.7 percent in December from 7.0 percent in November, but the change was caused by people who gave up looking for work. Employers created only 74,000 jobs, a depressing drop from the previous three months. Labor force participation dropped to 62.8 percent, matching the lowest rate since 1978. The…