NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis
NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis
Barry is a Senior Economist with the National Center for Policy Analysis, one of the most influential think tanks in America today.

The National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization, established in 1983. The NCPA's goal is to develop and promote private alternatives to government regulation and control, solving problems by relying on the strength of the competitive, entrepreneurial private sector. Topics include reforms in health care, taxes, Social Security, welfare, criminal justice, education and environmental regulation.

NCPA Motto - Making Ideas Change the World - reflects the belief that ideas have enormous power to change the course of human events. The NCPA seeks to unleash the power of ideas for positive change by identifying, encouraging, and aggressively marketing the best scholarly research.

Daily Policy Digest

Provided courtesy of: NCPA

Daily Policy Digest

Does it Matter Who Your Parents Are?
27 Jul 2015 07:00:58 CDT -

Since the Great Recession many have been concerned about the economic mobility of young adults. Research from Federal Reserve economist Jeff Larrimore explores how much better off this generation is than their parents.

Children of parents who completed a bachelor's degree are much more likely to complete a bachelor's degree themselves. Individuals whose parents did not complete college were disproportionately likely to say they did not complete college because it was too expensive or due to family responsibilities.

  • Among individuals whose parents both completed a bachelor's degree, 21 percent had a household income of under $50,000 and 45 percent had over $100,000 in 2014.
  • Only 17 percent of individuals whose parents never attended college had incomes over $100,000 and 47 percent made less than $50,000.

Even though the starting point of a child may influence where an individual ends up as an adult, those with lower starting points still feel better off than their parents:

  • 51 percent of individuals said they are better off than their parents at the same age and only 24 percent said they are worse off.
  • The frequency that individuals felt better off was constant across socioeconomic starting points, except for individuals whose parents both had a bachelor's degree. Only 40 percent of individuals whose parents both hold a bachelor's degree said they are better off.

This suggests individuals that start from lower socioeconomic backgrounds believe they are advancing at a similar or greater frequency than those from higher socioeconomic backgrounds. Individuals were also optimistic their children will be better off than they are. Only 20 percent expect their children to be worse off and nearly half expect them to be better off.

Source: Jeff Larrimore, "Does it matter who your parents are? Findings on economic mobility from the Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking," Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, July 20 2015.

For more on Economic Issues:

Do For-Profit Colleges Pay Off?
27 Jul 2015 07:00:57 CDT -

On average, college still pays -- even in light of the relatively high debt levels we see today. The lifetime earnings gains from attending public and non-profit four-year colleges and community colleges are high enough to outweigh the costs of attendance. Few studies have asked whether this is true in the for-profit sector.

In a recent paper, Latika Chaudhary and Stephanie Riegg Cellini assess the earnings gains to associate's degree programs in for-profit colleges. After carefully controlling for student background characteristics, they find that for-profit students who work both before and after attending experience a bump in earnings around four percent per year of education -- or 10 percent total -- relative to high school graduates who do not attend college.  The annual earnings gain increases to seven percent when we add in the slightly higher probability of being employed post-education.  We find suggestive evidence that those who complete their associate's degrees have higher returns -- around eight percent per year.

These numbers are smaller than the returns found in other sectors (upwards of 12 percent per year for community college associate's degree students) and suggest that many for-profit students would fare better in public community colleges, where tuition is less than a quarter of the price.

Some back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that for-profit associate's degree students need at least an 8.5 percent annual earnings gain to cover the cost of tuition, foregone earnings, and debt service at a typical for-profit college. Our estimates fall short of this threshold, suggesting that for the average student, the earnings gains are too low to justify the cost and generate a positive return on investment.

Adding in costs to taxpayers in the form of federal student grant aid, loan defaults, and other sources of federal funding would require a 9.8 percent earnings gain to cover the cost to the individual and society.

Source: Stephanie Riegg Cellini, "Does a For-Profit College Education Pay Off?" Brookings Institution, July 16, 2015.

For more on Education Issues:

2015 States Most and Least Dependent on the Federal Government
27 Jul 2015 07:00:56 CDT -

The extent to which the average American's tax burden varies based on his or her state of residence represents a significant point of differentiation between state economies. But it's only one piece of the puzzle. What if, for example, a particular state can afford not to tax its residents at high rates because it receives disproportionately more funding from the federal government than states with apparently oppressive tax codes?

John Kierman writes that WalletHub found the following:

  • New Jersey was the least dependent on the Federal government while New Mexico was the most.
  • Louisiana, Virginia, Alaska, Florida and Maryland received the lowest direct payments per federal taxes paid, while Kentucky, South Carolina, Indiana, Wisconsin, and North Dakota received the most.
  • North Dakota, South Carolina, Florida, Virginia, and Alabama received the least amount of money in corporate grants per dollar of federal taxes paid, while Arkansas, Maine, Alaska, New York, and Vermont received the most.

Economically, Alaska, North Dakota, Wyoming, Connecticut and Delaware have the highest per capita GDP, while Alabama, West Virginia, Idaho, South Carolina, and Mississippi have the lowest.

Overall blue States are less dependent on the federal government than red states. The data show that there is a negative correlation between state tax level and federal dependency, meaning that as states tax less they appear to be more dependent on the federal government.

Source: John S. Kiernan, "2015's States Most and Least Dependent on the Federal Government," WalletHub.

For more on Tax and Spending Issues:

Under Pressure in the U.S., Coal Still Thriving Internationally
27 Jul 2015 07:00:55 CDT -

The coal industry may be feel like it's fighting for its very survival in the U.S., but recent reports from the International Energy Agency show coal is far from dead internationally, especially among developing countries.

IAEA reports indicate the following about the international market:

  • "Coal remained the fastest-growing fossil fuel in 2013 in both absolute and relative terms, accounting for approximately 30 percent of global primary energy consumption, second only to oil," said an IEA report on coal markets, released in December.
  • Another IEA report, tracking the progress of clean energy showed low-priced coal was the fastest-growing fossil fuel in 2013 and that coal production worldwide outpaced the growth of oil and gas in 2012.
  • India's use of coal is predicted to remain steady at a 5 percent annual growth rate. India will become the second-largest coal consumer surpassing the United States.

While growth is predicted internationally, the trend is exactly the opposite in the United States:

  • Coal is shrinking in the U.S. as health and climate concerns about CO2 emissions drive states and the federal government to curb the use of coal-fired power plants.
  • Coal slipped from the No. 1 producer of electric power generation to No. 2, falling behind natural gas.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy pulled all future federal dollars from the FutureGen 2.0 coal plant in Illinois.

Rob Nikolewski concludes, after reviewing various opinions, that the international growth is driven by the cheapness of coal for developing nations relative to other energy forms. The U.S. decline is driven by environmental concerns and natural gas competition.

Source: Rob Nikolewski, "Under pressure in the U.S., coal still thriving internationally,", July 20, 2015.

For more on Environment Issues:

Government Watchdog: Billions in Funding for Obamacare’s Exchanges Not Tracked Well, Many Functions Remain Incomplete
27 Jul 2015 07:00:54 CDT -

The federal government spent billions on creating Obamacare's exchanges, but didn't track the money well -- and many of the state-run exchanges funded under the law still aren't working properly, according to a draft Government Accountability Office report obtained by Reason.

Specifically, Peter Suderman at Reason writes that the GAO found:

  • Neither select states nor the federal government tracked how much of $2.78 billion in Medicaid matching funds were used to fund exchange operations or development.
  • Of the 14 state-based marketplaces, for example, only eight were "fully operational" and "operating without service interruptions" in their enrollment functions as of February 2015.
  • Only one of the state-based exchanges, Kentucky, had completed "development of hub services functions such as verifying an individual's identity and citizenship, and retrieving tax information for evaluating taxpayer eligibility for insurance affordability program."
  • Only Vermont had finished work on technology to send data to the IRS, such as information on tax credits.
  • Seven states working through the federal exchange could not transfer applications between state Medicaid systems and the federal data hub, according to the report. 

The report comes just months after the CMS Inspector General sent a cautionary letter warning that states may have used exchange funds illegally. The law authorized states to use the money for developing the exchanges, but not for most ongoing operational costs.

And in a separate report last week, the GAO said the federal system's document processor "is not required to seek to detect fraud," a GAO official said, and contractors "do not perform antifraud duties." 

Source: Peter Suderman, "Government Watchdog: Billions in Funding for Obamacare's Exchanges Not Tracked Well, Many Functions Remain Incomplete," Reason, July 20, 2015.

For more on Health Issues:

A Telling Comparison
24 Jul 2015 07:00:53 CDT -

In the past month there have been several events that taken in isolation perhaps may not be very revealing. However, when taken together they are evidence of disturbing priorities, says Allen B. West, president and CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis.

These events were:

  • The political exploitation of the Charleston tragedy for gun control.
  • The selective outrage that glossed over the gun-related death of seven year-old Amari Brown, a black child in Chicago.
  • The signing of an agreement with the world's number one state sponsor of Islamic terrorism, Iran.
  • A tepid and delayed response by the Obama Administration to the murder of four marines in Chattanooga.

The responses are telling and noted by the American people. Why not fly to Chattanooga instead of New York City? Then again, after four Americans were abandoned at Benghazi he flew to Las Vegas for a fundraiser. After the beheading of American James Foley, President Obama went out to play golf.

The obvious deduction from this comparative analysis of actions is that -- to President Obama -- it seems only the lives and policies that advance the liberal progressive agenda matter. It is a telling comparison and perhaps instead of worrying about what Donald Trump is saying -- we should all pay attention to what these four events represent: the fundamental transformation of America.

Source: Allen West, "A Telling Comparison,", July 21, 2015.

For more on Government Issues:

Health Policy Digest

Provided courtesy of: NCPA

Consumer Driven Health Care

Health Care Reform Tax Will Hurt Franchisees
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Saving Jobs from Health Reform's Harmful Regulations
04 Oct 2011 12:43:58 GMT - If the rate of health care cost growth had not exceeded general inflation, a typical family would have had $545 more per month in spendable income instead of $95 -- a difference of $5,400 per year...


Does Health Insurance and Seeing the Doctor Keep You Out of the Hospital?
04 Oct 2011 12:43:58 GMT - Gaining health insurance and using more primary care services leads to more hospitalizations as a result of physicians' discretionary decisions regarding aggressive and intensive treatment...


The Case for Competition in Medicare
04 Oct 2011 12:43:58 GMT - A well-functioning marketplace would set in motion the forces needed to transform American medical care into a model of efficient patient-centered care...


Potential Effect of Health Care Reform on Emergency Department Utilization Not Clear
04 Oct 2011 12:43:58 GMT - In 2010, 71 percent of emergency physicians said that they expected emergency department visits to increase due to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act...


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NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis Web Site

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