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: http://www.ncpa.org/
Daily Policy Digest
- New Rules Introduce Dynamic Scoring to Tax Law
- 26 Mar 2015 07:00:58 CDT -
The appointment of Keith Hall as director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) coincides with the adoption by Congress of a rule change that requires "dynamic scoring" of proposed tax law changes.
The appointment of Hall appears to signify an intention, going forward, for the CBO to adhere to the spirit, as well as the letter, of the new congressional mandate, writes David Tuerck, senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis.
What is dynamic scoring? It is a method of measuring the impact on tax revenues of a change in tax law by taking into account how that change will affect the base on which the tax is imposed. Because changing a tax law will always change the economic activity on which the tax is imposed, it would be nonsensical to assume the tax base will remain fixed under a new law. Yet that is exactly what the proponents of "static scoring" want to assume. And it is static scoring that dynamic scoring is intended to replace.
- If the government increases the tax rate 10 percent, revenues will rise less than 10 percent because the base will shrink in response to the higher rate.
- Similarly, if the government cuts the tax rate 10 percent, revenues will fall less than 10 percent since the base will expand.
The best way to model the effects of changes in tax law or environmental rules is to construct a simulation model that takes as a given what the evidence has to say about how economic agents (buyers and sellers) respond to the incentives and disincentives created by those changes, notes Tuerck. Hall needs to keep firmly in mind the principle that any model worth considering recognizes tax increases exert negative effects, and tax decreases exert positive effects, on economic activity.
Source: David G. Tuerck, "New Congressional Budget Office Director Keith Hall and Dynamic Scoring," National Center for Policy Analysis, March 25, 2015.
For more on Tax and Spending Issues:
- School Choice More than a Private and Charter School Issue
- 26 Mar 2015 07:00:57 CDT -
The addition of private school choice options and/or public school choice options gives students more choices in their education, writes Lloyd Bentsen, senior research fellow with the NCPA. These new choices could come in the form of more specialized schools that focus on individual students. Allowing parents to choose the school that best fits their children's needs not only benefits the family, it provides advantages to teachers, the local economy and taxpayers, as well as other students. Everyone benefits from the increased competition stemming from expanded school choice.
Public school choice options are needed as waiting lists for charter schools continue to rise, due to increased demand in every state with charter schools. These options are also needed to encourage public schools to compete and to specialize.
Private school choice options are a Win-Win Solution:
- Opponents frequently claim school choice does not benefit participants, hurts public schools, costs taxpayers, facilitates segregation, and even undermines democracy.
- In fact, the empirical evidence consistently shows choice improves academic outcomes for participants and public schools, saves taxpayer money, moves students into more integrated classrooms, and strengthens the shared civic values and practices essential to American democracy.
Unrestricted charter law and private school choice would increase competition and therefore improve school efficiency, teacher quality and student achievement. A properly implemented private school choice program gives families more control over their educational spending, and enables them to spend that money on the tuition of a school that is the best for their children.
Source: Lloyd Bentsen IV, "School Choice Benefits Both Public and Private Schools," National Center for Policy Analysis, March 24, 2015.
For more on Education Issues:
- Longer Work Commutes Affect the Economy
- 26 Mar 2015 07:00:56 CDT -
The commute to work is getting longer for most Americans, which takes a particular toll on minority populations. Proximity to employment can influence a range of economic and social outcomes, from local fiscal health to the employment prospects of residents, particularly low-income and minority workers.
An analysis of private-sector employment and demographic data at the census tract level reveals that:
- Between 2000 and 2012, the number of jobs within the typical commute distance for residents in a major metro area fell by 7 percent. The number of jobs increased in only 29 of the nation's 96 largest metro areas.
- As employment suburbanized, the number of jobs near both the typical city and suburban resident fell.
- As poor and minority residents shifted toward suburbs in the 2000s, their proximity to jobs fell more than for non-poor and white residents. The number of jobs near the typical Hispanic (-17 percent) and black (-14 percent) resident in major metro areas declined much more steeply than for white (-6 percent) residents, a pattern repeated for the typical poor (-17 percent) versus non-poor (-6 percent) resident.
- Residents of high-poverty and majority-minority neighborhoods experienced particularly pronounced declines in job proximity.
For local and regional leaders working to grow their economies in ways that promote opportunity and upward mobility for all residents, these findings underscore the importance of understanding how regional economic and demographic trends intersect at the local level to shape access to employment opportunities, particularly for disadvantaged populations and neighborhoods.
Source: Elizabeth Kneebone and Natalie Holmes, "The Growing Distance between People and Jobs in Metropolitan America," Brookings Institution, March 2015.
For more on Economic Issues:
- Poorer Students Do Not Benefit From Lower Student Loan Interest Rates
- 26 Mar 2015 07:00:55 CDT -
A group of Democrats, led by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), has unveiled a plan to reduce the interest rate on student loans, allowing many borrowers to refinance. Kevin James, research fellow at the Center on Higher Education Reform, writes that such a reform will not benefit the poorest students:
- According to data from the New York Federal Reserve Bank, 37 percent of the 43 million people currently repaying student loans have experienced delinquency or default at some point.
- However, borrowers who default on federal loans generally have lower balances - think $5,000 rather than $50,000 - relative to those who repay successfully. Some researchers speculate these defaulting borrowers may often be students who dropped out of college.
- A borrower with $5,000 in debt who refinances from 6.8 percent to 3.8 percent (the current rate for undergraduate borrowers) would save a mere $7 per month. At the same time, many other borrowers who are not struggling would get a huge break: One analysis found that the benefits of refinancing would accrue disproportionately to the richest 25 percent of households - often high-income individuals with expensive graduate degrees.
- It is not that these loan programs are not generous enough. Rather, the existing protections they offer are poorly designed and difficult to use for the people who need them most.
Changes to student loan programs can be expensive, therefore, Congress could consider if expanding loan is worth the cost before adopting Senator Warren's legislation proposal.
Source: Kevin James, "Lowering Rates Isn't the Answer," American Enterprise Institute, March 24, 2015.
For more on Education Issues:
- Congress Should Balance the Budget
- 26 Mar 2015 07:00:54 CDT -
Will Congress ever get spending under control? While both chambers of Congress have recently introduced their latest budgets, it remains to be seen if their efforts will reverse the United States growing deficit.
Currently, the U.S. debt is $18.1 trillion and is expected to grow by one trillion over the next decade. However, Congress has an opportunity to reduce the debt and improve the economy by balancing the budget.
- The congressional budget has the most direct impact on next year's discretionary spending. It establishes the maximum level allowed for defense and discretionary domestic programs.
- Congress should certainly eliminate bad discretionary spending that benefits special interests at the expense of the broader public, although this spending is not driving the growing debt crisis the way entitlement spending is.
- Entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare and Social Security, are responsible for more than half of the projected growth in spending over the next decade. Including what the federal government is expected to pay to service the massive and growing debt, the share of projected spending growth due to these areas of the budget rises to 85 percent by 2025.
The budget is a critical tool in Congress's legislative arsenal to correct the current fiscal course. It is time to put the budget on a path to balance to protect Americans against undue debt and tax levels, and to unleash economic growth.
Source: Romina Boccia, "Why Budget Matters," Heritage Foundation, March 25, 2015.
For more on Economic Issues:
- Veterans Deserve Better Health Care Delivery
- 25 Mar 2015 07:00:53 CDT -
Two weeks ago a bipartisan group of U.S. Representatives joined prominent members of the veteran's community to discuss Concerned Veterans for America's new VA reform proposal, the Veterans Independence Act.
The proposal could affect nearly 22 million veterans and more than 900 VA medical facilities, says National Center for Policy Analysis research analyst Nate Wilson. The CVA seeks to offer former military personnel the choice to receive subsidized private care and converts the VA into a non-profit organization, therefore relinquishing the government of its authority over the federal agency. Central tenets include:
- Concentrating on veterans with service-related disabilities. Veterans currently receiving treatment in the VA medical system will gain new options in addition to their original eligibility;
- Addressing veteran's demographic inevitabilities. That is, new reforms must consider changes in the veteran's population;
- Offering eligible veterans the option to receive subsidized care outside of VA facilities; Registering new veterans in a new multi-tier VA insurance system. Not all veterans will quality for subsidized care;
- And closing inefficient VA medical facilities.
Not everyone is on board though. The American Legion, for example, argues against using vouchers as a long-term solution. And Robert McDonald, who took over as the new VA secretary last year, has publicly opposed CVA's proposal.
Dissenters may be in the minority though. Indeed, CVA's proposal has yet to garner congressional support and the reforms are likely to see some pushback from various organizations, but a recent nation-wide survey shows 88 percent of veterans favor the option to choose their own medical provider.
Source: Nate Wilson, "New Bipartisan Taskforce Seeks to Reform Veterans Health Care," National Center for Policy Analysis, March 24, 2015.
For more on Health Issues:
Health Policy Digest
Provided courtesy of: http://www.ncpa.org/
Consumer Driven Health Care
- Health Care Reform Tax Will Hurt Franchisees
- 04 Oct 2011 12:43:58 GMT - When the employer mandates go into effect in 2014, many franchised businesses will be motivated to reduce the number of locations and move workers from full-time to part-time status...
REAL CLEAR MARKETS
- 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...
AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE
- 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...
NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE
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