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  • Issue Brief posted July 30, 2015 by Nina Owcharenko Medicaid at 50: Reform Is Needed to Better Serve Low-Income Health Care Needs

    Medicaid, enacted along with Medicare in 1965, was created to provide health care for certain categories of low-income Americans.[1] Over the past 50 years, the program has changed significantly. Not only has Medicaid eligibility expanded, so also has the scope of its care and services. Mounting fiscal, demographic, and structural challenges continue to strain the…

  • Issue Brief posted July 30, 2015 by Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D. Medicare at 50: Reform Will Better Serve Seniors’ Health Care Needs

    Medicare, enacted along with Medicaid in 1965, is 50 years old.[1] The program, which provides health care services to seniors and some disabled, has successfully provided its enrollees core hospital and physicians’ coverage and a strong measure of financial security. However, fiscal and demographic problems that are inherent in its outdated structure threaten seniors’…

  • 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…

  • Backgrounder posted July 30, 2015 by Michaela Dodge Russian Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces: What They Mean for the United States

    The 1987 Treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles—known as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty—was one of the most significant arms-reduction accomplishments of the Cold War era. The INF Treaty led to the elimination of ground-launched…

  • Legal Memorandum posted July 30, 2015 by David B. Smith A Comparison of Federal Civil and Criminal Forfeiture Procedures: Which Provides More Protections for Property Owners?

    Unlike civil forfeiture, U.S. criminal forfeiture laws have never been reformed at the federal level. Congressman Henry Hyde (R–IL), who served as chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary from January 1995 to January 2001, decided to focus solely on civil forfeiture reform—a decision made to avoid a new round of fights with the Department of Justice (DOJ) that…

  • Backgrounder posted July 30, 2015 by Hans A. von Spakovsky Election Reform in North Carolina and the Myth of Voter Suppression

    In July 2013, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an omnibus election reform bill, House Bill 589.[1] The bill made a number of changes in election procedures that went into effect in the May 2014 primary election, including: Eliminating same-day registration, which allowed voters to register and then vote at the same time during the early voting period,[2]…

  • Backgrounder posted July 29, 2015 by Romina Boccia Social Security: $39 Billion Deficit in 2014, Insolvent by 2035

    Social Security’s main program, also known as Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI), ran a $39 billion deficit in 2014, closing out five years of consecutive cash-flow deficits as the program’s unfunded obligations continue to grow.[1] According to the 2015 annual Trustees’ Report, the 75-year unfunded obligation of the Social Security OASI Trust Fund is $9.43 trillion,…

  • Issue Brief posted July 28, 2015 by Lisa Curtis, Olivia Enos Pakistan Must Release Asia Bibi to Demonstrate Protection for Its Religious Minorities

    Pakistan’s Supreme Court took an encouraging step forward last week when it decided to reconsider blasphemy charges against Pakistani Christian woman, Asia Bibi, who is facing a death sentence. This decision provides an opportunity for Pakistan to acquit Bibi and show the world its commitment to protecting its religious minorities. The U.S. must prioritize the issue of…

  • Issue Brief posted July 28, 2015 by Curtis S. Dubay The Senate Can Use Tax Extenders as an Opportunity to Improve the Tax Code

    The tax extenders are a group of approximately 50 tax-reducing policies that expire regularly. Congress has traditionally extended them just as regularly as they expire. Late last year, Congress retroactively renewed them for 2014, which means they are currently expired. The Senate Finance Committee marked up its version of this year’s tax extender bill recently. In that…

  • 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…

  • Legal Memorandum posted July 27, 2015 by Paul Larkin The Role for Magna Carta in America in 2015

    This year is the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. Most Americans have heard of Magna Carta, but few know its history or the role it plays today in Anglo–American constitutional law. Fewer still know that Article 39 of Magna Carta was the parent of the Due Process Clause that is found in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the federal Constitution.[1] The phrase “due…

  • Issue Brief posted July 24, 2015 by Bruce Klingner U.S. Should Encourage Reconciliation Between Japan and South Korea

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe’s forthcoming statement commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II has the potential to either repair or further impair Tokyo’s current stilted bilateral relations with Seoul. Indeed, a cottage industry has sprouted up predicting what he will say or will not say and the effect his words might have on recent…

  • Issue Brief posted July 24, 2015 by James Phillips, Luke Coffey, Michaela Dodge The Iran Nuclear Agreement: Yes, There Is a Better Alternative

    The Obama Administration has argued that there is no better alternative to its controversial nuclear agreement with Iran. But rather than cutting off all paths to a nuclear weapon, as the Administration initially promised, the so-called Vienna Agreement only temporarily slows down Iran’s progress toward a nuclear weapons capability and, in fact, protects the regime’s…

  • 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…

  • Issue Brief posted July 24, 2015 by Joshua Meservey, Anthony B. Kim The President’s Last Trip to Africa: Focus on Promoting Economic Freedom and the Rule of Law

    On July 24, President Barack Obama will travel to Kenya before continuing on to Ethiopia. President Obama’s final trip to Africa is intended to underscore the Administration’s efforts “to work with the countries and citizens of sub-Saharan Africa to accelerate economic growth, strengthen democratic institutions, and improve security.”[1] In fact, these ideas are not new.…