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
- Impact of the National School Lunch Program on Fruit and Vegetable Selection
- 28 Aug 2015 07:00:58 CDT -
The U.S. Department of Agriculture mandated that the nearly 31 million school children fed by the National School Lunch Program each school day select either a fruit or vegetable at lunch. Researchers at the University of California -Davis and the University of Vermont studied the effects of this requirement in two northeastern elementary schools by collecting data from random samples of lunch trays from third through fifth-grade students. The student bodies at both schools had forty percent to sixty percent of children qualifying for free or reduced-priced meals. The results indicated that when required to select a fruit or vegetable with their lunch students do comply, but the amount of fruits and vegetables consumed decreased and waste increased.
- When fruits and vegetables were optional for students in 2012, over fifteen percent of lunch trays did not contain either a fruit or vegetable.
- Comparing when fruits and vegetables were required in 2013 to when they were optional in 2012 the percentage of unconsumed fruit and vegetables increased by eight percent in 2013.
Findings did indicate that younger children, first-grade through third-grade, consumed more fruits and vegetables when required compared to fourth and fifth grade students. Time may simply be necessary for students to adjust to the new mandate as older children were accustomed to optional and not required selection of fruits and vegetables. Repeated exposure to new foods will also be helpful for familiarizing students with fruits and vegetable offerings.
Suggestions for increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables students consume include:
- Slicing fruits and vegetables which increases accessibility and appeal.
- Implementing policies such as "Smart Snacks in Schools," which limits the calories, salt, sugars and fat contained in school snacks.
- Exploring programs such as Farm to School, which is associated with increasing fruit and vegetable consumption among participants who had the lowest fruit and vegetable intake initially.
Source: Sarah A. Amin, MPH et al., "Impact of the National School Lunch Program on Fruit and Vegetable Selection in Northeastern Elementary Schoolchildren, 2012-2013," Public Health Reports, Sept-Oct 2015.
For more on Education Issues:
- Property Taxes for Agriculture: Use-Value Assessment and Urbanization Across the United States
- 28 Aug 2015 07:00:57 CDT -
Use-value assessment (UVA) programs have spread across the nation as the trend toward urbanization increases. While all 50 U.S. states have some form of a UVA program which taxes agriculture land on the basis of current use rather than full market value, in states where the average farm size increased, state legislatures were quick to adopt UVA programs. The tax benefit to agricultural land owners is significant especially for land near large urban areas.
- Over 100 million acres of land in California are included in the state's UVA program.
- In Ohio where more than 61 percent of all land is included in a UVA program, assessed land values are more than 80 percent below market values.
The early adoption of UVA program began with concern over the demise of the small family farm during a time when farm sizes were pressured to increase to respond to economic changes. Policy makers were also concerned that farmland was being forced to urbanize at a detrimental rate.
State and local governments are accepting large losses in tax revenue by continuing to allow UVA programs. Several states do not have clear definitions of "agricultural land" allowing land owners to receive reduced property taxes on fallow land, wetlands and forests. The loss of property tax revenue is felt directly by local government agencies, particularly public schools.
Local policy makers should reevaluate UVA programs to determine the financial burden imposed on local governments through the loss of property tax revenue. Although controlling for urbanization and rising land value originally, current UVA policies are an under-researched area dominated by special interest groups and could provide a helpful source of revenue to future generations.
Source: John E. Anderson et al., "Property Taxes for Agriculture: Use-Value Assessment and Urbanization across the United States," Mercatus Center, August 24, 2015.
For more on Tax and Spending Issues:
- Ex-Im's Working Capital Programs Benefit Big Businesses and Banks
- 28 Aug 2015 07:00:56 CDT -
On July 1, Congress failed to reauthorize the U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank), and although the bank has many staunch supporters, large, politically connected firms were the primary beneficiaries of its policies, says Veronique de Rugy of the Mercatus Center. Small businesses did benefit from the Ex-Im Bank's working capital programs but overall these programs were a small component of the agency's operations.
- Large firms benefited from the Supply Chain Finance (SCF) program to the tune of $1.28 billion.
- During the same seven years 36 percent of working capital programs directly and indirectly benefitted large firms.
- Ford Motor Credit Company LLC, Caterpillar Inc, and Boeing Co. were the top three beneficiaries of the Ex-Im Banks's working capital programs from 2007-2014.
Small business did receive $11.3 billion in capital working programs from 2007-2014 with peak amounts of funding in 2012 at $1.85 billion. However, the working capital program transfers the risk of lending to taxpayers from the lenders, who are often big banks or individual corporations. Lenders such as PNC Bank, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo can be reimbursed up to 90 percent of the outstanding loan amount through the Ex-Im Bank. Although Ex-Im Bank supporters maintain that the bank enables small business, policymakers need to remember that it is actually the large, politically connected businesses that are benefiting.
Source: Veronique de Rugy, "Ex-Im's Working Capital Programs Benefit Big Businesses and Banks," Mercatus Center, August 26, 2015.
For more on Economic Issues:
- In the Race for Arctic Energy, the U.S. and Russia are Polar Opposites
- 28 Aug 2015 07:00:55 CDT -
While the cost of energy is currently in a lull, the United States still imports 40 percent of crude oil needs at the cost of $23.5 billion a month. With almost half of all imported oil purchased from OPEC members, the need to develop alternative energy resources in Alaska is apparent, especially as the natural resources of the Arctic are beginning to draw international attention.
- The Royal Dutch Shell′s approved drilling permit is the only energy exploration currently allowed in U.S. Arctic waters.
- In 2014, Russia produced roughly 2.2 million barrels of offshore oil from the Prirazlomnaya field in the Arctic's Pechora Sea.
- From 2009-2013 Chinese companies were the largest buyers of international oil assets, many of which were in Arctic regions.
- Russia recently submitted a claim for a 200 nautical-mile exclusive economic zone for continental-shelf area of the Arctic.
The current leadership position as chairman of the Arctic Council could be beneficial to the U.S. for ensuring favorable positions on shipping, resources and fisheries standards, and constructive regional engagement. Alaska's outer continental could be ready to produce in 10 to 15 years, right as experts predict shale-oil production and crude-oil production to plateau and possibly decline. However, if policy makers continue to thwart energy companies attempts to develop this strategic reason, Russia and China′s development of the Arctic could pose serious problems for the United States in the future.
Source: Gary Roughead, "In the Race for Arctic Energy, the U.S. and Russia are Polar Opposites," Wall Street Journal, August 25, 2015.
For more on Environment Issues:
- Canada's Affluent Middle Class At-Risk
- 28 Aug 2015 07:00:54 CDT -
The American middle-class continues its losing streak. In a remarkable achievement, the Canadian middle class has surpassed their American counterparts in per capita median income. While households in the U.S. struggled along during the Great Recession, Canadian households fared much better in large part due to the notable stability of their banking system.
- In the last decade, Canadian incomes grew nearly 20 percent, while U.S. incomes grew only 0.3 percent.
- Much of the difference is attributable to U.S. fiscal policies that propelled the destructive housing bubble and subsequent bust.
- Toronto area house prices have increased 95 percent in the last decade, more than three times the earnings increase rate of Ontario workers.
- Vancouver City Savings Credit Union (Vancity) indicates that present trends could drive Vancouver detached house prices to $2.1 million by 2030, double current prices.
However, some economic indicators suggest that Canada's newfound distinction may be short-lived. In some parts of Canada, particularly those concentrated around metropolitan centers, skyrocketing house prices are chipping away at discretionary income. House prices in Toronto and Vancouver have exploded in recent years. Rising house prices threaten socioeconomic stability: lower income households lose a greater share of discretionary income to higher housing prices while middle income families are shut out of homeownership, a useful tool for building wealth through equity.
In order for all income levels to enjoy the benefits of homeownership while preserving discretionary income, policy reform must target current urban containment legislation and prevent similar programs from being implemented elsewhere.
Source: Wendell Cox, "Canada's Affluent Middle Class At-Risk," Huffington Post, August 26, 2015.
For more on Economic Issues:
- Fracking Is Our Clean Power Plan
- 27 Aug 2015 07:00:53 CDT -
The U.S. already leads the world in carbon emissions reduction thanks to the increased use of natural gas obtained through fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, says executive vice president and chief operating officer Jacki Pick of the National Center for Policy Analysis.
Natural gas has not only helped reduce carbon emission but it has also contributed to the economic growth of the U.S. (50% in a 27 year period). This impressive economic growth was the result of cheap fossil fuels and fracking was key to their production.
The economy as a whole has benefited by having lower energy costs resulting in a manufacturing renaissance and estimates predict that in the near future it will be less expensive to manufacture goods in the U.S. than in China.
However, the federal government's initiative contained in the Clean Power Plan aims to achieve carbon emission reduction through an ineffective approach.
- It relies on costly and inferior energy production methods.
- It forecasts unrealistic numbers of green jobs.
- It would be the most expensive regulation ever imposed upon the power sector.
- Could easily force manufacturers overseas again, killing jobs.
- Fixed-income Americans would be the hardest hit by these soaring energy bills.
Fracking, making use of advanced technology, has already achieved what environmental advocates have failed to achieve: to make America the top carbon emissions reducer in the world, along with the strengthening of the U.S. economy.
Source: Jacki Pick, "Fracking Is Our Clean Power Plan," Forbes, August 25, 2015.
For more on Environment 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
NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis Web Site