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  • Issue Brief posted June 2, 2014 by Diane Katz Export–Import Bank: Cronyism Threatens American Jobs

    The Export–Import Bank (Ex–Im) funnels billions of taxpayer dollars each year to overseas businesses for the purchase of American products. This subsidized financing is supposedly a win-win proposition for exporters and their customers abroad. But rare is a subsidy that does not produce disparity elsewhere. In the case of Ex–Im, the losers include domestic companies that…

  • Issue Brief posted May 23, 2014 by Bryan Riley, Brett D. Schaefer Congress Should Reject Proposed Food Aid Shipping Mandate

    The U.S. House of Representatives approved the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014 (H.R. 4005) on April 1. Largely unnoticed, H.R. 4005 would reverse reforms adopted in the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012 and the Agriculture Act of 2014 and increase the amount of U.S. food assistance required to be shipped on U.S. vessels from 50 percent to 75…

  • Issue Brief posted May 22, 2014 by Rachel Greszler, James Sherk Equal Pay for Equal Work: Examining the Gender Gap

    The White House and many in Congress argue that employers pay women less than men for the same work. They point to figures showing that women earn 77 cents for each dollar men earn.[1] Such statistics ignore other factors that influence pay. Education, choice of industry and occupation, hours worked, experience, and career interruptions all affect the productivity—and…

  • Issue Brief posted May 19, 2014 by Bryan Riley, Brett D. Schaefer Time to Privatize OPIC

    The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) provides political risk insurance, loan guarantees, and direct loans to U.S. and foreign companies to encourage investment in developing and emerging economies. OPIC artificially lowers the cost of such investments by having the U.S. taxpayer assume a portion of the risk of the venture—a classic case of socializing risk…

  • Issue Brief posted May 19, 2014 by James L. Gattuso Taking Stock: Shareholder Lawsuits No Barrier to GSE Dissolution

    Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) that were at the center of the financial collapse of 2008, have now been in federal conservatorship for nearly six years. Several bills are pending in Congress to end the conservatorships and dissolve the firms, although the proposals differ on what—if anything—should replace them.[1] At the…

  • Issue Brief posted May 6, 2014 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. Financial Stability Oversight Council and Asset Management Firms

    The 2010 Dodd–Frank Act greatly expanded the federal government’s reach into financial markets. In particular, the creation of the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) leaves the Federal Reserve poised to regulate nonbank sectors of financial markets more extensively than ever before. The FSOC is supposed to increase U.S. financial stability, but in practice it…

  • Issue Brief posted April 29, 2014 by Diane Katz The Export–Import Bank: A Government Outfit Mired in Mismanagement

    Advocates of the Export–Import Bank (Ex–Im) are lobbying Congress for reauthorization by claiming that its taxpayer-subsidized financing is a safe—and lucrative—investment. But even a mountain of rhetoric cannot bury the facts: The bank is beset by mismanagement, dysfunction, and risk, all of which have been documented for years by Ex–Im’s own inspector general and the…

  • Issue Brief posted April 18, 2014 by Rachel Greszler 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.[1] 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 by John L. Ligon, Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. 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 by James Sherk, Rachel Greszler 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 by Diane Katz 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.[1] In fact, the bank is a conduit for corporate welfare beset by unreliable risk management, inefficiency, and…

  • Issue Brief posted April 7, 2014 by Daren Bakst, Rachel Sheffield 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 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D., John L. Ligon 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 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D., John L. Ligon 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 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. 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…