A recent report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York examines the role of speculators in driving the housing bubble. Setting aside the fact that almost everyone who bought a house was “speculating” to some degree, the researchers focus on those who were buying homes they did not intend to live in.
Extending the extra unemployment insurance benefits would be bad for the federal budget and bad for the economy, and there is a better long-term solution for unemployment than the current UI system.
On Monday, the U.S. Postal Service filed its proposal to reduce service standards with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). The USPS is seeking to cut costs by closing about half of its mail processing facilities, which would mean slower mail delivery. Given that the USPS is running on financial fumes and Congress is still trying to figure out how to kick the can down the road, management apparently decided that it had to act.
In the Wall Street Journal yesterday, Alan Reynolds pointed out some of the flaws in the data being used in the income inequality debate. Far too many policymakers, analysts, and reporters assume that the data showing rising inequality is carved in stone, but it isn’t. Some portion of the supposed change in income inequality in recent decades is a statistical artifact due to changes in marginal tax rates and other factors.
AEI’s Rick Hess and Stanford’s Linda Darling-Hammond—two folks who don’t always see eye to eye—have a New York Times op-ed that decries federal micromanagement in education, then lays out four things they think Washington should do.
The House passed a bill last week eliminating the Presidential Election Campaign Fund, which the Tax Foundation calls a “voluntary tax that stirs little enthusiasm.” It would also save a whopping $14 million by eliminating the Election Action Committee and transferring certain functions to other federal agencies.
A new poll conducted for The Hill found that 67 percent of likely voters think members of Congress should take a pay cut. With the economy still struggling and the government's debt continuing to mount, congressional pay is – understandably – a sore subject with voters. However, I get the impression that a lot of people think that cutting Congress’s budget would have a sizable impact on the government’s financial situation.
Three weeks ago, a national commotion erupted when the Drudge Report headlined a story from the Heritage Foundation on the Obama administration’s implementation of a new tax on Christmas trees. I noted here that the 1996 legislation enabling the U.S. Department of Agriculture to implement the tax received most of its support from Republicans, including co-sponsor John Boehner.
Lawmakers are considering extending temporary payroll tax cuts. But the policy is based on faulty Keynesian theories and misplaced confidence in the government's ability to micromanage short-run growth.
The USPS is supposed to operate like a business by relying on the revenues from the sale of postal products to cover costs. Congress makes that harder by imposing various obligations and stifling attempts to reduce costs. Add in a weak economy, the growth in alternative forms of communication, and a predominantly unionized workforce that has secured excessive compensation and privileges and the result is a financial mess.