In this policy brief we review the theoretical argument for government-provided deposit insurance and compare it to the actual costs observed under the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in the United States. Contrary to theoretical arguments, deposit insurance is not free in practice. Moreover, we offer explanations for the increasing cost of government-provided deposit insurance observed over time. We propose that economists and policymakers must consider the real costs when evaluating government-provided deposit insurance.
Both President Obama and Professor Krugman are using very broad historical strokes to make the case that an activist federal government is essential to prosperity. These strokes have an air of plausibility and contain elements of truth. But a closer examination of the actual events of the immediate postwar period provides a picture that is much more nuanced and at odds with the world view that government intervention is the essential ingredient of prosperity. Although the postwar era was indeed inaugurated by a huge contraction in government spending that was made possible by the Allied victory, the end of deficit spending did not send the United States into a deep depression.
The midnight regulation phenomenon is not new or limited to one political party. New research suggests that midnight regulations proposed during the second half of a presidential election year are more likely to have lower-quality regulatory analysis and less likely to use the results of analysis to inform decisions. Thus, these regulations may be particularly costly or ineffective.
Regulatory impact analyses can serve as an important tool. They are designed to help policymakers consider a proposed regulation’s potential impact on the economy as a whole, not simply the interests of those lobbying for that regu- lation. When federal agencies conduct such analyses, how- ever, they often fail to comply with requirements enunciated in executive orders from presidents of both political parties over the past few decades. As a result, agency estimates of benefits are often fragmentary and unreliable, leading to ineffective regulation and wasting of public resources.
Administrations face fewer political constraints during the midnight period and, thus, take the opportunity to impose their policy preferences. These rushed, politically motivated regulations have poor quality analysis and face less stringent oversight from OIRA. Stemming the surge of midnight regulations requires comprehensive reform to constrain agencies’ ability to issue too many regulations and improve OIRA’s ability to oversee regulatory quality during the midnight period.
Given the successes of many of the recent deregulatory experiments in other countries, it seems the time has come, 35 years after airline price deregulation, to begin experimenting with more infrastructure reforms in the United States.
Fiscal policy at both the federal and state levels is on an unsustainable path. Entitlement reform in America—particularly Medicaid reform—is shifting from a question of whether cuts should be made, to how much must be cut? To better understand best practices in Medicaid reform, we explore five recent state-level Medicaid reforms and their ability to simultaneously reduce costs, maintain or increase access, and survive the politics of reform.