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Heritage Foundation Releases First Annual “Index of U.S. Military Strength”

March 4, 2015 Comments off

Heritage Foundation Releases First Annual “Index of U.S. Military Strength”
Source: Heritage Foundation

The U.S. military may be weaker than you think. All but one branch of America’s military and nuclear forces are currently operating at “marginal” strength levels. The exception is the Air Force, which is rated as “strong” in the “Index of U.S. Military Strength,” released today by The Heritage Foundation.

A first-of-its-kind report, the Index provides an in-depth analysis of global threats to vital U.S. interests and our armed forces’ ability to prevail against them. It concludes that, overall, U.S. armed forces are not capable of prevailing when fighting two regional conflicts at once, a longstanding strategic objective. It notes that, while terrorism still presents a serious threat, Russia and China pose the greatest danger to U.S. national security.

The Budget Book: 106 Ways to Reduce the Size & Scope of Government

March 2, 2015 Comments off

The Budget Book: 106 Ways to Reduce the Size & Scope of Government
Source: Heritage Foundation

The 114th Congress has an opportunity and obligation to stop Washington’s taxpayer-financed spending spree. Over the past 20 years, spending has grown 63 percent faster than inflation. Unless leaders emerge with the courage to change the nation’s course for the better, the future looks like more of the same as total annual spending will grow from $3.5 trillion in 2014 to $5.8 trillion in 2024.1

Congress is financing the profligate spending by increasing taxes and incurring stunning amounts of debt. In 2014, Congress borrowed 14 cents of every dollar it spent, totaling a half a trillion dollars. Even more alarming, the country just surpassed $18 trillion in cumulative national debt. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the country is projected to borrow another $9.6 trillion over the next 10 years

Regulation: Killing Opportunity

February 12, 2015 Comments off

Regulation: Killing Opportunity
Source: Heritage Foundation

During its first five years, the Obama Administration aggressively exploited regulation to get its way. Issuing 157 new major rules at a cost to Americans approaching $73 billion annually, this Administration is very likely the most regulatory in U.S. history. And there are many more regulations to come; agencies have identified 120 additional major rules they intend to work on, including dozens linked to the Dodd–Frank financial regulation law and Obamacare. Of particular concern is that the Federal Communications Commission has launched yet another attempt to regulate Internet traffic. Congress—which shares much of the blame for enabling this flood of red tape—must stem it.

Trade Adjustment Assistance: Let the Ineffective and Wasteful “Job-Training” Program Expire

February 8, 2015 Comments off

Trade Adjustment Assistance: Let the Ineffective and Wasteful “Job-Training” Program Expire
Source: Heritage Foundation

Members of Congress should be wary of reauthorizing the ineffective and wasteful Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program. Trade Adjustment Assistance should be considered on its own merits and not linked to legislative proposals, such as Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). Similarly, TPA should be evaluated independently based on its merits and not tied to unrelated legislation like TAA.

Under TAA, workers who lose their jobs due to foreign trade are eligible for job training, relocation allowances, and income maintenance while they attempt to shift into new occupations. Absent congressional action, the entire TAA program will expire on December 31, 2014.

TAA provides very expensive benefits for a small fraction of laid-off workers. Furthermore, program evaluations have found that this spending does not actually help this small fraction of workers. A recent federal evaluation found that TAA hurts its beneficiaries’ job prospects. This finding should not be surprising: scientifically rigorous evaluations of federal job-training programs consistently find these programs to be highly ineffective.

Moreover, the Obama Administration has used very loose eligibility standards for TAA benefits. The Administration awarded TAA benefits to both Solyndra and Hostess employees—two companies whose failures had little to do with foreign trade. Congress should not waste $1 billion on a program that does not help—and may hurt—unemployed workers.

Have We Got it All Wrong? Forecasting Mobile Data Use and Spectrum Exhaust

February 5, 2015 Comments off

Have We Got it All Wrong? Forecasting Mobile Data Use and Spectrum Exhaust
Source: Heritage Foundation

In this PERSPECTIVE, I have provided some fundamental economic analysis on the issue of spectrum exhaust. Despite claims to the contrary, my analysis demonstrates that the Commission’s focus on getting more spectrum for mobile broadband is justified, even accounting for some alleged disparities between the forecast and the actual levels of mobile data traffic. Over-estimates of mobile data demand, where they appear, can, in part, be explained by supply-side responses to spectrum shortages, including offloading and a reduction in the availability of unlimited data plans. Indeed, higher prices can always be used to ration scarce capacity, but higher prices are the problem and not the solution to spectrum shortages. Remedial measures like offloading and price hikes, while perhaps curbing mobile data traffic, are not an excuse to slow down spectrum repurposing, but rather a call for both Congress and the Commission to get busy on spectrum policy.

2015 Index of Economic Freedom

February 2, 2015 Comments off

2015 Index of Economic Freedom
Source: Heritage Foundation

For over twenty years the Index has delivered thoughtful analysis in a clear, friendly, and straight-forward format. With new resources for users and a website tailored for research and education, the Index of Economic Freedom is poised to help readers track over two decades of the advancement in economic freedom, prosperity, and opportunity and promote these ideas in their homes, schools, and communities.

The Index covers 10 freedoms – from property rights to entrepreneurship – in 186 countries.

How Tax Reform Would Help American Families

January 7, 2015 Comments off

How Tax Reform Would Help American Families
Source: Heritage Foundation

There is widespread support for tax reform, yet Congress and the President have failed to take serious action. Tax reform is one of the most pressing policy improvements that Congress needs to make because the current tax system stifles opportunity for American families. However, American families likely do not know the full extent of the damage the tax system inflicts upon them. This lack of knowledge explains why they do not put more pressure on their representatives to pass tax reform. Those in favor of tax reform need to show families how a properly structured consumption tax would greatly improve their lives. If families knew how much tax reform would benefit them, they would demand more strongly that Washington act.

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