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

Rand Paul's 'Fair and Flat' Tax Proposal
02 Jul 2015 07:00:58 CDT -

Sen. Rand Paul's flat tax plan hits all the right notes, including greater simplicity, lower rates for everyone and a more competitive system of corporate taxation, says Allen B. West, president and CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis, and research associate Jacob Kohlhepp.

  • Collapsing all of the brackets into a single 14.5 percent rate will make tax filing less complicated. This is important when Americans are spending $400 billion and nearly 6 billion hours on compliance.
  • The territorial business taxation system will encourage American multinational corporations to bring home their revenue and avoid double taxation.
  • The suggested change to upfront expensing of capital would reduce uncertainty and encourage investment, making businesses more productive.

But there are some items that should be addressed by Mr. Paul if he hopes to take his plan from paper to reality. 

  • Capital gains would still be double-taxed, as corporate profits would be taxed both at the corporate level and at the shareholder level.
  • The Tax Foundation has pointed out that even with the massive economic growth unleashed by the plan, there will still be a $1 trillion revenue loss over the course of 10 years. This means there must be an accompanying plan to sensibly reform federal government spending.

At the end of the day, Mr. Paul has composed a solid melody of economic growth that has the conversation on tax reform going in all the right directions. But as with any proposal unveiled in a single newspaper column, the devil will always be in the details.

Source: Allen B. West and Jacob Kohlhepp, "Rand Paul's 'Fair and Flat' Tax Proposal," Washington Times, June 30, 2015.

For more on Tax and Spending Issues:

Options for Federal Surface Transportation Reform
02 Jul 2015 07:00:57 CDT -

The federal law governing surface transportation policy is up for renewal in 2015, presenting an opportunity for the House and the Senate to create a more free-market oriented transportation policy. Though Congress could adopt a short-term funding extension, it should consider permanent reforms that would improve the efficiency of federal surface transportation spending, and reallocate responsibilities between the federal government and state authorities says Baruch Feigenbaum, an adjunct fellow with the NCPA and policy analyst at Reason Foundation.

Several recommendations for reforms include:

  • Grant user-friendly tolling flexibility for highways.
  • Count all high occupancy toll lanes as fixed guideway miles.
  • Analyze the ability of Metropolitan Planning Organizations' (MPOs) long-range transportation plans to reduce congestion.
  • Eliminate federal aid funded by gas taxes for all nonhighway uses.
  • Amend the Clean Air Act of 1990 by eliminating the conformity analysis costs.

These recommendations would bring federal requirements in line with the declining federal role in local transportation issues. It is critical that the federal government eliminate wasteful programs and provide states tools to stretch limited resources further.

Source: Baruch Feigenbaum, "Federal Transportation Reform," National Center for Policy Analysis, June 30, 2015.

For more on Tax and Spending Issues:

U.S. Ports, Labor Unrest and the Threat to National Commerce
02 Jul 2015 07:00:56 CDT -

America's economic growth depends on ports for a competitive edge in exports and for the flow of imported goods that bolster Americans' paychecks. Smooth operation of America's 29 West Coast ports is vital: in 2013, goods totaling $2.1 trillion, or 12.5 percent of U.S. GDP, entered the country through them, writes Diana Furchtgott-Roth of the Manhattan Institute.

With international trade now a substantial and rising component of U.S. GDP, port slowdowns and shutdowns present a growing threat to national commerce.

  • The West Coast port slowdown of 2014-15, apple farmers lost $19 million per week, while certain foreign companies had to air-freight goods into the United States.
  •  In 2002, an 11-day West Coast port lockout cost the U.S. economy $15.6 billion.

When foreign clients replace U.S. exporters with cheaper, more reliable alternatives, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to later restore such relationships. In 1926, Congress passed the Railway Labor Act (RLA) to ensure that commerce was not disrupted by labor disputes between railroad employee unions and management. At present, ports are governed by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), while airlines and railroads are required to abide by the RLA.

To avoid disruption before contracts between port unions and management expire, suppliers, retailers, and manufacturers can pursue these strategies:

  • Moving the governance of ports from the NLRA to the RLA.
  • Placing U.S. ports under the auspices of the NMB would mean that national commerce and transportation would remain uninterrupted throughout the dispute and mediation process.
  • If the dispute is a substantial threat to transportation, a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) may be created, with the board responsible for making recommendations on an agreement. If the parties reject the PEB's recommendations, Congress has the option to take action and impose a settlement.

Source: Diana Furchtgott-Roth, "U.S. Ports, Labor Unrest, and the Threat to National Commerce," Manhattan Institute, April 2015.

For more on Economic Issues:

Intra-Family Cash Transfers in Older American Households
02 Jul 2015 07:00:55 CDT -

There has been an increasing trend of intra-family transfers from 1998 to 2010, according to Sudipto Banerjee of the Employee Benefit Research Institute.  Data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) survey show that a very small portion of older households receive transfers from their younger generations, while a much larger section of older households transfer money to their younger generations.  These transfers are highly correlated with income.  The amounts transferred by older households are much higher than what they receive.

  • Only, 4 percent to 5 percent of older households receive transfers from their families.
  • In comparison 38 percent to 45 percent of older households transfer money to their younger family members.
  • Among those ages 50 and above, relatively younger households are more likely to transfer money to their families and relatively older households are more likely to receive such transfers.  The amount transferred, in addition to the likelihood of transfer, goes down with age.
  • This is illustrated by the fact that during a two-year period between 2008 and 2010, the average amounts transferred by households who had at least one member between ages 50‒64 and ages 85 or above were $8,350 and $4,787 respectively.

The average transfer amounts from younger family members to older households are much smaller. During the same two-year period, households who had at least one member ages 85 or above received the highest average transfers among all age groups and the average amount was $359.

Source: Sudipto Banerjee, "Intra-Family Cash Transfers in Older American Households," Employee Benefit Research Institute, June 2015.

For more on Economic Issues:

Needed: Free-Market State-Based Energy Policy
02 Jul 2015 07:00:54 CDT -

Members of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives are calling for a comprehensive energy bill in 2015. If past is prologue, however, such wide-ranging energy bills do much more economic harm than good.

For instance, the last two major energy bills signed into law by President George W. Bush, while including some seemingly pro-market titles, contained policies that restrict consumer choice, mandate production of ethanol, and pick winners and losers by subsidizing politically preferred energy technologies. Congress should operate from the basic principle that free markets work efficiently and that any new legislation should get government out of the way of the market and innovation.

Objectives for Energy Legislation in 2015 should:

  1. Open access to domestic resources.
  2. Allow access to freely traded energy sources.
  3. Eliminate and block burdensome regulations.
  4. Eliminate handouts and workforce-training programs.
  5. Remove government-forced efficiency and renewable-fuel mandates.
  6. Streamline, not subsidize, energy-infrastructure projects.
  7. Return power to the states and the people.

Congress should recognize that free energy markets work and should enact legislative reforms to achieve those seven objectives that make the U.S. energy economy freer and more competitive — to the benefit of all Americans.

Source: Nicolas Loris, "Seven Objectives for Effective and Productive Energy Legislation in 2015," Heritage Foundation, May 21, 2015.

For more on Government Issues:

New CEO Wants to Make NCPA America's Think Tank
01 Jul 2015 07:00:53 CDT -

Allen West, the new CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis, has a simple idea for reshaping the conservative Dallas-based think tank: he wants to brand the NCPA as "America's Think Tank" by making their research and opinions understandable to the Waffle House crowd.

Dennis McCuistion, who had stepped in as interim CEO, believes that West's experience, particularly in national security, will broaden the center's reputation beyond health care.

West's three-year goals are:

  • Build a donor base of $8 million.
  • Ask for 10,000 people to donate $25 to $50 a month.
  • Raise $1.5 million in the next year.

West, 54, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and former Republican congressman from Florida, hit the ground running. In six weeks West has accomplished years of work:

  • Given more than 50 speeches.
  •  Increased social media outreach.
  •  Stepped up newsletter frequency.
  •  Implemented a weekly video recap of the going-ons at the NCPA.

West became a second lieutenant in college and spent 22 years in the military. After retiring in 2004, he was a civilian military adviser training Afghan troops. In 2010, Allen was persuaded to run for Congress and won.

"I'm not from the Dallas area, so I had no clue about what went on previously, and I really didn't care," he says. "There are people saying, 'Ah, let's see what the new coach will do before I start being a booster again.' I thoroughly understand that. I look forward to that challenge."

Source: Cheryl Hall, "New CEO Wants to Make NCPA America's Think Tank," Dallas Morning News, June 28, 2015

For more on Government Issues:

Health Policy Digest

Provided courtesy of: NCPA

Consumer Driven Health Care

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The Case for Competition in Medicare
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