My testimony focuses on the Social Security program’s incentives—specifically, how the current structure provides disincentives to work and save. I will also discuss how Social Security reform, if done correctly, can increase US savings, labor force participation, economic growth, and federal revenues.
Good morning, Chairman Murray, Ranking Member Sessions, and members of the committee. Thank you for the chance to discuss the effect of tax increases and spending cuts on economic growth. I appreciate the opportunity to testify today.
Two significant problems have become evident through this lengthy period of slow job growth. First, there has been an unprecedented disengagement from the labor force with current participation at its lowest level in almost 35 years. This means there are currently 102 million jobless people in the United States, but less than 12 million are still actively looking for work and therefore counted as unemployed. Second, the number of long-term unemployed is at a record high. They currently represent over 4.6 million people, and the long-term unemployment rate (the share of the labor force unemployed for over six months) remains well above historical levels at 3.0 percent.
I do not believe that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage can be issued in large volume without taxpay- ers becoming liable for interest-rate risk. Conversely, if we reform the housing system so that the private sector truly bears the risk, then borrowers would encounter a large differential between the cost of a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and the cost of a loan with an interest rate that is fixed for only 5 years. Borrowers should be making their choices based on this true cost differential.
Even if Do Not Track takes root and some consumers turn it on, many will be incentivized by ad networks or publishers to opt right back in to “tracking” to retain access to sites and services they desire. In doing so, they may end up sharing even more information than they do today. Moreover, this may drive still greater consolidation since larger players will be in a position to grant Internet-wide opt-in exceptions, while smaller providers cannot…
The Department of Energy’s loan guarantee programs have been the focus of much public attention since energy companies Solyndra, Beacon Power, and Abound went bankrupt, leaving taxpayers to shoulder hundreds of mil- lions of dollars in loan guarantees. The evidence strongly suggests that these programs fall short of their stated goals of developing clean energy and creating jobs.
Much of the government’s political intervention in the bankruptcy cases appears to have been motivated to benefit the UAW rather than the companies themselves over U.S. taxpayers, who put billions of dollars at risk to fund the bailouts.
Chairman Paul and members of the subcommittee: Thank you for the opportunity to discuss the fractional- reserve character of modern banking, its positives and negatives, its relationship to financial instability, and to offer my thoughts on how to promote greater banking stability. I will begin by describing the historical origins of fractional-reserve banking (hereafter FRB), then move on to the effect of FRB on the money supply process, its connection to bank runs and financial instability, and finally the reforms needed to improve our banking system.
For obvious reasons, more than any other recent events, the waste of taxpayers’ money due to Solyndra’s failure has attracted much attention. However, the problems with loan guarantees are much more fundamental than the cost of one or more failed projects.