The first chart compares the differences in debt projections between the FY 2015 budget and the CBO’s Budget and Economic Outlook for 2014 through 2024. While the president’s budget calls for higher debt levels as a percentage of GDP from 2013 to 2017 when compared to CBO current law numbers, the president’s budget plan projects that debt will drop below current trajectories by 2018.
The incentives to use political connections for personal gain grow as the power of government grows. Donating to political campaigns is one way that private interests try to win alliances of government authorities. Over the past 25 years, several of the top political contributors have sought political privilege largely under the radar, with some surprising names appearing among the top 25.
The charts below show that both the number of US small banks (which we define as banks with $10 billion or less in assets) and their share of US banking assets and domestic deposits declined substantially between 2000 and 2008. Simultaneously, the five largest US banks’ share of US banking assets and domestic deposits increased markedly.
This week’s chart, which uses 2012 data from the Office of Management and Budget’s “High-Error Programs Report” to display improper payment amounts and improper payment rates of federal transfer programs, shows that over $100 billion in taxpayer funds were improperly spent in 2012.
The aging of the population is not the sole contributing factor in the decline in labor force participation since 2007, contrary to what some have suggested. The participation rate has declined for every age bracket below 54 years old. The effects of these declines can be seen in the figure below. For each age range, we have calculated how much the labor force would need to increase to return to average participation rates in 2007. There would be an additional 4.4 million people under the age of 55 in the labor force today if the average participation rate reverted to 2007 levels.
This week’s chart uses data from the Department of Defense’s FY 2014 budget request and an analysis by Todd Harrison of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments to display DoD outlays and personnel costs for 2014. If current trends hold, personnel costs on health care, income, and retirement may consume larger portions of the DoD budget with each succeeding year.
This week’s charts show the amount of real (2005) federal dollars spent per capita over the past 68 years with updated data. After adjusting for population and inflation, the data show that federal outlays have, with a few exceptions, grown at a staggering pace since 1948.
The IRS’s mission statement is to “provide America's taxpayers top quality service by helping them understand and meet their tax responsibilities and enforce the law with integrity and fairness to all.” Yet the Economix blog of the New York Times recently posted the following graph on declining performance of IRS customer service representatives (CSR). The data come from a series of annual reports released by Taxpayer Advocate Service—an independent organization within the IRS.
In his latest Mercatus on Policy essay, economist Matthew Mitchell makes the case that current US farm policy is neither equitable nor efficient. Both conservatives who value free markets and liberals who value social justice should be clamoring for reform.
This week’s chart updates the history of government subsidies to the agriculture industry from 1996 to the present, using data from the Office of Management and Budget as well as new spending projections indicated by the 2014 Omnibus Bill.
The F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the Mercatus Center hosted a panel discussion featuring Benjamin Powell and his new book, Out of Poverty: Sweatshops in the Global Economy.
The Mercatus Center at George Mason University invites you to join Todd Zywicki, Senior Scholar and Senior Fellow with the F.A. Hayek Program at the Mercatus Center and Ted Gayer, Vice President and Director of the Economic Studies program at the Brookings Institution for a Regulation University program that examines the mistakes agencies make in developing “nudge” regulations and the unintended, but foreseeable, consequences of those mistakes.
Please join us for a casual reception where you can take a break from March Madness and meet some of our scholars who can provide the kind of practical information you need to be most effective in your work.
This book provides a comprehensive defense of third-world sweatshops. It explains how these sweatshops provide the best available opportunity to workers and how they play an important role in the process of development that eventually leads to better wages and working conditions.