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  • Commentary posted January 25, 2016 by Justin T. Johnson 5 Bad Arguments for Cutting U.S. Defense Spending

    We’ve all seen the click-bait headlines.     “You won’t believe how much the U.S. spends on its military.”     “The U.S. spends more than the next 13 countries on defense!” But military spending is a big ticket item, and it’s perfectly legitimate to question military spending. Next month, President Obama will propose his FY2017 budget, and the public debate over…

  • Backgrounder posted November 6, 2015 by Justin T. Johnson Assessing Common Arguments for Cutting National Security Spending: Informing Current and Future Budget Debates

    Determining how much the United States should spend on national security is a challenging task. If the U.S. spends too little on national security, potential threats may become realities, costing American blood and treasure. If the U.S. spends too much, the misallocation of resources will add to the debt placed on future generations. This is a difficult balance to strike,…

  • Issue Brief posted October 28, 2015 by Paul Winfree, Romina Boccia, Justin T. Johnson, Daren Bakst, Nicolas Loris, James L. Gattuso, Jason Snead, Rachel Greszler, Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D., David R. Burton, Curtis S. Dubay Analysis of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015

    The federal budget is on a dangerous trajectory and immediate corrective action is required. The U.S. national debt is at $18.1 trillion. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), if the government remains on its currently planned course, it will spend $7 trillion more over the next 10 years than it will receive in taxes, piling on even more debt. Heritage…

  • Issue Brief posted October 23, 2015 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. U.S. Treasury Debt Is Not the Foundation of the Global Economy

    Congress is once again facing a decision on the debt limit. If lawmakers do not raise the $18.1 trillion limit by the end of October, the U.S. Treasury may not have enough cash on hand to meet all of its obligations as they come due.[1] If they do raise the limit, the Treasury will borrow more money by offering new debt—Treasury securities—for sale. For many in Congress,…

  • Backgrounder posted October 15, 2015 by David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D. Evidence-Based Policymaking: A Primer

    The federal government’s total debt exceeds $18.1 trillion.[1] However, even this huge figure understates the nation’s debt. Due to the absence of fiscal restraint after restoration of the debt limit in March 2015 at a level of $18.1 trillion, the Department of the Treasury has been forced to engage in extraordinary measures to continue borrowing, mainly raiding funds…

  • Backgrounder posted September 2, 2015 by Paul Winfree, Romina Boccia, Curtis S. Dubay, Michael Sargent Blueprint for Congressional Fiscal Action in the Remainder of 2015

    Congress has set the federal government budget on a dangerous trajectory and must take corrective action now. Taxpayers pay enormous amounts of money to the government, and the government borrows additional huge amounts of money. The government uses the taxes that it collects and the money that it borrows to pay for excessive spending, including spending for…

  • Commentary posted July 21, 2015 by Stephen Moore A tale of two U.S. economies

    I’m asked seemingly every day if America is the next Greece or Detroit or Puerto Rico – and the answer is an unequivocal no. The U.S. economy – especially the private sector – is structurally very healthy. That wasn’t the case on the eve of the great financial meltdown of 2008, when American companies and households were leveraged up to their eyebrows. What’s different…

  • Commentary posted June 19, 2015 by Romina Boccia Our skyrocketing debt: Higher taxes, lower benefits loom

    Remember the national debt? It's been a while since members of Congress have warned us about it and talk of government shutdowns dominated the headlines. So, problem solved? If only. Things have been quiet on the fiscal front simply because Congress suspended the debt limit in February 2014 and the day of reckoning has yet to come. So, as with other unpleasant facts of…

  • Commentary posted June 8, 2015 by Salim Furth, Ph.D. 4 Ways Bad Economics Journalism Happens

    Science journalism recently took two huge hits, resulting in two major retractions. One article, which made national headlines upon initial publication, was revealed as an apparent fraud perpetrated by graduate student Mike LaCour. The other, a hoax and media experiment cooked up by John Bohannon, confirmed that even a sketchy result by a fictional professor in a…

  • Backgrounder posted March 26, 2015 by Romina Boccia, Michael Sargent $4 Trillion and Counting: President Obama’s 2016 Budget Presents a Vision of Government Largess

    For the first time since 2010, President Obama released his annual budget on time.[1] Such punctuality is a welcome step toward normalcy in the budget process, though one wonders why it took five years for the Administration to adhere to the statutory deadline. Aside from its timeliness, there is little good that can be said about the President’s 2016 budget. Obama’s…

  • Commentary posted February 27, 2015 by Romina Boccia After the cromnibus, how the new Congress can control spending

    It was a $1.1 trillion budget, yet spending concerns were little more than an afterthought for many senators voting on the "cromnibus." Most of the debate focused on including or eliminating certain policy changes addressed in the bill's "riders." Other budget reforms are necessary to control spending. At nearly 1,700 pages, the omnibus spending bill funds all government…

  • Backgrounder posted January 30, 2015 by Diem Nguyen Salmon A Proposal for the FY 2016 Defense Budget

    U.S. foreign and defense policy has reached a critical juncture. In an astonishingly brief period of time, the world—and America’s place in it—has changed dramatically. During this period, presidential elections, the financial crisis, and government shutdown politics largely supplanted overseas engagements and foreign affairs in the minds of the White House and Congress.…

  • Special Report posted December 8, 2014 by Romina Boccia Federal Spending by the Numbers, 2014: Government Spending Trends in Graphics, Tables, and Key Points (Including 51 Examples of Government Waste)

    Contributors Romina Boccia is Grover M. Hermann Fellow in Federal Budgetary Affairs in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies, of the Institute for Economic Freedom and Opportunity, at The Heritage Foundation. John W. Fleming is Senior Data Graphics Editor at The Heritage Foundation. Spencer Woody is a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage…

  • Commentary posted October 8, 2014 by Romina Boccia America, Don't Forget about the Deficit: 5 Ways to Control the Debt and Unleash Growth

    This week, the Treasury Department releases the actual deficit figure for fiscal year (FY) 2014 which ended on September 30. At about half a trillion dollars, this year’s deficit adds more than $4,000 to the per-household national-debt burden. What’s worse, the 2014 deficit marks a low point in the ten-year projection. The total deficit over the period is expected to ring…

  • Commentary posted August 6, 2014 by Stephen Moore Don't Cry for Argentina—Cry for Us

    Thursday’s headline in the Los Angeles Times — “Argentina Defaults on International Debt” — spooked me, as it did investors. The stock market tanked on the news. All Americans should feel the same apprehension. Argentina has about $200 billion in debt including billions in restructured bonds that it still can’t make payments on. Now Argentina has to go hat in hand to…