Archive for the ‘Heritage Foundation’ Category

Amnesty Cost to Taxpayers: $6.3 Trillion

May 22, 2014 Comments off

Amnesty Cost to Taxpayers: $6.3 Trillion
Source: Heritage Foundation

Granting amnesty to an estimated 11 million unlawful immigrants will cost taxpayers at least $6.3 trillion, according to a new report by Heritage Foundation scholar Robert Rector. The highly anticipated report, released today, becomes available as a Senate committee is set to mark up a “comprehensive immigration reform” bill May 9.

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10 Guiding Principles for Agriculture Policy: A Free-Market Vision

May 14, 2014 Comments off

10 Guiding Principles for Agriculture Policy: A Free-Market Vision
Source: Heritage Foundation

Agriculture has changed dramatically over the past 80 years, yet farm and commodity programs are Depression-era relics that are grounded in central-planning philosophies. Even some policymakers who claim to be strong proponents of free markets and limited government tend to forget these core beliefs when it comes to these programs.

Agriculture policy is not just limited to these traditional farm and commodity programs that limit choice, stifle innovation, drive up consumer prices, and cost taxpayers billions of dollars a year. It also includes food safety, international trade, environmental policy and property rights, research and innovation, and general issues applicable to all sectors of the economy, such as labor policy.

There are alternatives to agriculture beyond the status quo of central planning and subsidies. The same free-market solutions that have allowed this nation to flourish are just as applicable to agriculture as they are to other sectors of the economy. The following are 10 guiding principles for agriculture policy.

Boosting Economic Mobility Through Prize-Linked Savings

July 23, 2013 Comments off

Boosting Economic Mobility Through Prize-Linked Savings
Source: Heritage Foundation

The savings rate in America has been in decline for three decades, with roughly one-third of households having no savings at all. Analyses of economic mobility explore why some people are successful in moving up the economic ladder during their lifetime while others are not. While there is much debate about the degree of opportunity in America, there is general agreement that there seem to be significant obstacles facing Americans who start out in households at the bottom end of the income spectrum. But even for those starting at the bottom, lifetime trajectories vary widely. The habit of saving is a critically important complement to education and social “capital” needed for upward mobility. But we need to recognize that there are many Americans who are not inclined to take part in traditional programs designed to build a savings habit. For these Americans, financial incentives and tools with approaches that have a more emotional appeal are a more effective way of creating a culture of savings by channeling the instinct to gamble into systematic savings. This approach, known as “prize-linked savings” employs the techniques of behavioral economics to turn a behavior pattern into a savings habit that enhances the economic mobility of a household.

The Fiscal Cost of Unlawful Immigrants and Amnesty to the U.S. Taxpayer

May 14, 2013 Comments off

The Fiscal Cost of Unlawful Immigrants and Amnesty to the U.S. Taxpayer

Source: Heritage Foundation

Unlawful immigration and amnesty for current unlawful immigrants can pose large fiscal costs for U.S. taxpayers. Government provides four types of benefits and services that are relevant to this issue:

  • Direct benefits. These include Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation.
  • Means-tested welfare benefits. There are over 80 of these programs which, at a cost of nearly $900 billion per year, provide cash, food, housing, medical, and other services to roughly 100 million low-income Americans. Major programs include Medicaid, food stamps, the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit, public housing, Supplemental Security Income, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
  • Public education. At a cost of $12,300 per pupil per year, these services are largely free or heavily subsidized for low-income parents.
  • Population-based services. Police, fire, highways, parks, and similar services, as the National Academy of Sciences determined in its study of the fiscal costs of immigration, generally have to expand as new immigrants enter a community; someone has to bear the cost of that expansion.

The cost of these governmental services is far larger than many people imagine. For example, in 2010, the average U.S. household received $31,584 in government benefits and services in these four categories.

The governmental system is highly redistributive. Well-educated households tend to be net tax contributors: The taxes they pay exceed the direct and means-tested benefits, education, and population-based services they receive. For example, in 2010, in the whole U.S. population, households with college-educated heads, on average, received $24,839 in government benefits while paying $54,089 in taxes. The average college-educated household thus generated a fiscal surplus of $29,250 that government used to finance benefits for other households.

Other households are net tax consumers: The benefits they receive exceed the taxes they pay. These households generate a “fiscal deficit” that must be financed by taxes from other households or by government borrowing. For example, in 2010, in the U.S. population as a whole, households headed by persons without a high school degree, on average, received $46,582 in government benefits while paying only $11,469 in taxes. This generated an average fiscal deficit (benefits received minus taxes paid) of $35,113.

The high deficits of poorly educated households are important in the amnesty debate because the typical unlawful immigrant has only a 10th-grade education. Half of unlawful immigrant households are headed by an individual with less than a high school degree, and another 25 percent of household heads have only a high school degree.

Some argue that the deficit figures for poorly educated households in the general population are not relevant for immigrants. Many believe, for example, that lawful immigrants use little welfare. In reality, lawful immigrant households receive significantly more welfare, on average, than U.S.-born households. Overall, the fiscal deficits or surpluses for lawful immigrant households are the same as or higher than those for U.S.-born households with the same education level. Poorly educated households, whether immigrant or U.S.-born, receive far more in government benefits than they pay in taxes.

Marriage: What It Is, Why It Matters, and the Consequences of Redefining It

March 21, 2013 Comments off

Marriage: What It Is, Why It Matters, and the Consequences of Redefining It

Source: Heritage Foundation

Marriage is based on the truth that men and women are complementary, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the reality that children need a mother and a father. Redefining marriage does not simply expand the existing understanding of marriage; it rejects these truths. Marriage is society’s least restrictive means of ensuring the well-being of children. By encouraging the norms of marriage—monogamy, sexual exclusivity, and permanence—the state strengthens civil society and reduces its own role. The future of this country depends on the future of marriage. The future of marriage depends on citizens understanding what it is and why it matters and demanding that government policies support, not undermine, true marriage.

Full-Spectrum Air Power: Building the Air Force America Needs

October 16, 2012 Comments off

Full-Spectrum Air Power: Building the Air Force America Needs

Source: Heritage Foundation

Much of what is written today about the capabilities required by the military services is offered within the context of fiscal restraint, national budget austerity, and cuts in the defense budget to ensure that the armed services pay their “fair” share of deficit reduction. This study argues for building an Air Force to support a joint force that can meet current and future threats to American security without regard for arbitrary fiscal guidelines and ceilings. It is time for the United States to adopt an asymmetric strategy linking objectives and resources, emphasizing the role of air power, and maximizing U.S. Air Force contributions to that strategy.

Centralizing Management of the Military Health System

June 11, 2012 Comments off

Centralizing Management of the Military Health System
Source: Heritage Foundation

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a paper last month urging the Department of Defense (DOD) to centralize the management of the Military Health System (MHS).[1] GAO has long held the view that the management structure for supervising the MHS is too de-centralized to impose the discipline necessary to make the system efficient.

Generally speaking, the GAO recommendation makes sense. The DOD’s health care costs are growing so quickly that they are contributing to an internal imbalance in defense budgets. In the context of forecasted defense budgets that are way too low to meet U.S. national security commitments, these rising health care costs are effectively robbing from the accounts that fund new weapons and equipment for the military. Accordingly, all proposals that serve to reduce the projected growth rate in military health care deserve appropriate consideration. No stone should be left unturned, including ones related to the management structure for overseeing the MHS.

e Year Later: Lessons from Recovery After the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake

May 9, 2012 Comments off
Source:  Heritage Foundation

To assess the Japanese experience, The Heritage Foundation reassembled a team of experts to evaluate Japan’s long-term efforts to recover from the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and to prepare for future catastrophes. Based on extensive literature and interviews with Japanese officials and experts, the team identified four critical areas that affect response to a catastrophe: recovery and resiliency of critical infrastructure, environmental remediation, compensation and disaster assistance, and population resiliency. In each area, the team made key observations, determined findings, and developed recommendations for learning from Japan’s experience.


The 2012 Index of Dependence on Government

February 22, 2012 Comments off
Source:  Heritage Foundation
The great and calamitous fiscal trends of our time—dependence on government by an increasing portion of the American population, and soaring debt that threatens the financial integrity of the economy—worsened yet again in 2010 and 2011. The United States has long reached the point at which it must reverse the direction of both trends or face economic and social collapse. Yet policymakers made little progress on either front since the 2010 Index of Dependence on Government was published. Today, more people than ever before—67.3 million Americans, from college students to retirees to welfare beneficiaries—depend on the federal government for housing, food, income, student aid, or other assistance once considered to be the responsibility of individuals, families, neighborhoods, churches, and other civil society institutions. The United States reached another milestone in 2010: For the first time in history, half the population pays no federal income taxes. Related to these disturbing trends, publicly held debt continued its amazing ascent without any plan by the government to pay it back. As if those circumstances were not dire enough, the country is about to witness the largest generational retirement in world history by a population that will depend on currently bankrupted pension and health programs.
The 2012 Index of Dependence on Government highlights the gathering fiscal storm clouds. Unsustainable increases in dependent populations predate the recent recession—and continuing economic morass—and have continued to rise since the economy collapsed in 2008 and 2009. There is one silver lining to those clouds: A few policymakers and independent public policy groups have advanced plans for restoring fiscal balance in Washington. Among them is The Heritage Foundation. Heritage calls its fiscal plan Saving the American Dream. The Heritage plan reforms and funds those government programs that matter most to people who need the government’s help, and it frees the private sector to create the millions of jobs that will dramatically reduce the growth of dependence on government.

Empowering Patients as Key Decision Makers in the Face of Rising Health Care Costs

December 29, 2011 Comments off
Source:  Heritage Foundation

The current trend of rapidly rising health care costs is unsustainable. Many proposed reforms to curb spending rely on some type of rationing imposed by an unaccountable government body. A better alternative would be to allow individual consumers to make their own decisions about care, including the self-rationing of medical services, based on cost and their own desires. Such a policy is compatible with American values of limited government and individual liberty and responsibility. State and federal policymakers should adopt measures to facilitate personal control of health care decisions.

How to Bring Sanity to Our Mental Health System

December 22, 2011 Comments off

How to Bring Sanity to Our Mental Health System
Source:  Heritage Foundation (E. Fuller Torrey, M.D.)

Fifty years ago, America began a grand experiment by transferring to the federal government the fiscal responsibility for individuals with mental illnesses. During that half-century, it has become increasingly clear that the experiment has been a costly failure, both in terms of human lives and in terms of dollars. The outcome was, in fact, clear as early as 1984, when the chief architect of the federal community mental health centers program proclaimed it to be a failure: “The result is not what we intended, and perhaps we didn’t ask the questions that should have been asked when developing a new concept….” Bringing sanity to our present mental health system is dependent on one essential change: Return the primary responsibility for such services to the states.

Public Schools Pay Teachers 50% Above Market, Heritage Analysis Finds

November 3, 2011 Comments off

Public Schools Pay Teachers 50% Above Market, Heritage Analysis Finds
Source: Heritage Foundation

Far from being underpaid, the typical public-school teacher makes out very well indeed, according to a new report from The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis.

“Assessing the Compensation of Public-School Teachers” concludes that, while some may well be underpaid, the typical public school teacher makes about $1.52 for every dollar made by a private-sector employee with similar skills.

Co-authored by Heritage Senior Policy Analyst Jason Richwine and Andrew G. Biggs, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, the 26-page report concludes that salaries for public-school teachers generally are comparable to those paid to similarly skilled workers in the private sector. However, the generous fringe benefits offered by public schools raise teacher compensation 52 percent above the going market rate.

That’s the equivalent of a $120 billion overpayment charged to taxpayers each year.

+ Full Report

Get SMART: Complying with Federal Sex Offender Registration Standards

September 16, 2011 Comments off

Get SMART: Complying with Federal Sex Offender Registration Standards
Source: Heritage Foundation

Just before Christmas 2009, 11-year-old Sarah Haley Foxwell was brutally raped and murdered by a convicted high-risk sex offender, Thomas J. Leggs. Although Leggs was classified as a high-risk offender in Delaware, because of inconsistencies in sex offender classification between states, Maryland identified Leggs as “compliant.” Congress passed the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) in 2006 to provide minimum registration and notification standards for all jurisdictions. Yet, for several years, jurisdictions have made flimsy excuses—often the product of misinformation—for not implementing SORNA. The time for excuses is past. Not only are the reasons for delaying implementation of SORNA invalid, but the dangers of allowing this nation’s sex offender laws to remain so inconsistent are extraordinary.

Free the Housing Finance Market from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

July 15, 2011 Comments off

Free the Housing Finance Market from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
Source: Heritage Foundation

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—the government-sponsored mortgage giants—must be shut down. Both entities distort the market by issuing mortgage-backed securities with subsidized government guarantees that the mortgages will be repaid. If such guarantees are necessary, they should be priced and issued by the private sector, not by the state. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac must be closed down completely and permanently. Heritage Foundation expert on financial institutions David C. John details specific steps to achieve this shutdown carefully and methodically without further upsetting the delicate housing market—and without making the situation worse.

Economic Analysis of the House Budget Resolution

April 13, 2011 Comments off

Economic Analysis of the House Budget Resolution
Source: Heritage Foundation

Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI), chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the U.S. House of Representatives, requested by letter that the Center for Data Analysis (CDA) undertake an economic analysis of the House Budget Resolution for federal fiscal year 2012 through 2021.[1] The Chairman specifically asked the CDA to perform conventional and dynamic budget analysis, or analysis that is based on largely “static” budget models and on economic models with dynamic economic properties. These economic models estimate the likely effects of policy change on the major components of economic activity—supply of resources, prices, demographic change, and so forth—which might affect federal fiscal results through revenues and outlay costs.

This report summarizes the results of the CDA’s analysis of the House Budget Resolution using these models. As a general matter, the CDA found that implementing the policy changes behind the Budget Resolution would significantly strengthen economic performance throughout the economy and dramatically improve federal fiscal results. This analysis demonstrates that significant actions can be taken now to reform our tax code and rein in the drivers of fiscal imbalances.

Indeed, our work shows that those steps can be taken with a strong confidence of ultimate success.

A Clash of Integrities: Moral and Religious Liberty in the Armed Forces

April 12, 2011 Comments off

A Clash of Integrities: Moral and Religious Liberty in the Armed Forces
Source: Heritage Foundation

The repeal of the 1993 law prohibiting open homosexuality in the military poses significant risk for military service members and chaplains who, as matters of religious or moral conviction, hold to traditional values regarding marriage and sexual behavior. The report of the Pentagon’s Comprehensive Review Working Group and the steps taken to date to implement the repeal do not allay concerns that the religious liberty and free speech rights of these service members and chaplains will be compromised to the detriment of their military careers. Congress therefore has a profound responsibility to monitor the implementation process and to assure not only that these rights are respected, but also that the 2010 repeal law itself is subject to continuing and candid reassessment. In addition to specific steps that it can take now to minimize future problems, Congress should insist on the full freedom of service members and chaplains to express their views on maintaining or amending every aspect of the policy.

Accepting Disaster Relief from Other Nations: Lessons from Katrina and the Gulf Oil Spill

February 21, 2011 Comments off

Accepting Disaster Relief from Other Nations: Lessons from Katrina and the Gulf Oil Spill
Source: Heritage Foundation

The United States is known around the world for sending help—from in-person medical assistance to financial donations—when disasters strike in other countries. When disasters have recently struck the U.S.—9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the Gulf oil spill—other countries have been equally quick to offer help. Yet, as astute as the U.S. is when it comes to delivering aid, the opposite is the case when it comes to responding to foreign offers of aid. It is crucial that the U.S. develop a reliable process by which to accept help from other countries when it is needed. Four national security experts lay out a plan for such a process.

Backgrounder — Containing a Nuclear Iran: Difficult, Costly, and Dangerous

February 16, 2011 Comments off

Backgrounder — Containing a Nuclear Iran: Difficult, Costly, and Dangerous
Source: Heritage Foundation

Proponents of a containment policy toward Iran are ignoring the harsh realities inherent in seriously pursuing such a policy. First, the U.S. has been trying to contain Iran since the Iranian revolution in 1979, with little success. If Iran develops a nuclear weapon, it will become even more difficult to contain. A serious containment policy will require the U.S. to maintain a credible threat of force against Iran. This will be even more difficult if Iran goes nuclear because the U.S. will have lost credibility. A containment policy will also require the U.S. to support the undemocratic governments in the countries neighboring Iran, which will pose many political dilemmas. Instead of pursuing a policy of containment, which would be a policy in name only, the U.S. should keep the military option alive, defend itself and its allies, and seek both to weaken the regime’s economic base and to empower and encourage its domestic adversaries.


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