A tax reform is spurring a savings revolution in Canada. Amity Shlaes and I wrote about Canada’s Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) in the Wall Street Journal in August. We think that such accounts would be a fantastic policy reform for America. They would simplify the taxation of savings, encourage families to save more, and spur stronger economic growth.
Compensation for federal civilian employees is more generous than private-sector workers. Federal workers receive better benefits than their non-governmental counterparts in particular, and generous paid leave benefits are one of the federal advantages. A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) suggests that federal agencies are abusing this benefit.
One of my first professional jobs 25 years ago was with the economic forecasting firm DRI/McGraw-Hill. It was fun work, but I noticed that the firm’s gross domestic product forecasts with models hundreds of equations long were no better than simple forecasts based on the interest rate yield curve.
With the election only weeks away, pundits are visualizing how a Republican-controlled Senate would impact future policy decisions. Today’s Washington Post highlights the supposed plight of federal workers under a Republican Congress.
The piece discusses House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget proposal:
The problems with federal highway spending are well documented. The program distorts project incentives and distributes money inefficiently. A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) adds to the list of problems, detailing improper fund management within the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
State budgets face numerous long-term pressures, including overpromised and underfunded pensions. Another challenge is Medicaid, the health insurance program for low-income individuals, which is growing rapidly in cost and enrollment.
In an editorial today, the Wall Street Journal discusses Democratic complaints linking Ebola with supposedly falling spending on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Let’s take a look at the data with the Downsizing Government chart tool. Click open Health and Human Services, then click on CDC. Hold your mouse over the line to see the data.
When politicians write policy books, they are often shallow affairs full of party talking points. Bill White’s America’s Fiscal Constitution is different. It is an excellent and scholarly book.
Cato’s “Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors” focuses on short-term tax and spending decisions made by governors. But governors and legislatures also make important decisions that will affect state budgets over the longer term.
As Chris Edwards and I discuss in the Report Card, one area of particular concern is compensation for state workers, particularly retirement benefits.