Despite rapidly advancing technology and patients’ increasing desire to try new drugs and devices, the FDA has strayed significantly from the statutorily defined safety and effectiveness standards for drug approvals. The FDA now very often demands proof of clinical utility, including survival and disease outcomes, as a requirement for premarket approval.
A new study written for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University analyzes North Carolina’s performance on key issues, the way in which the state government manages itself, and opportunities for improvement. North Carolina has recently implemented proactive reforms to its tax system, indicating that state lawmakers are capable of executing the other positive policy changes outlined in this study.
A new study for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University examines both the overall financial condition of state and local pension plans and the legal impediments to pension reform. It argues that reform proposals that assume the federal government will bail out state and local pen- sions are politically and economically unworkable and unfair. Instead, it presents a two-pronged reform proposal: (1) require state and local authorities to disclose the financial condition of their pension plans to beneficiaries in plain language and using standardized conservative accounting assumptions, and (2) allow state and local governments to offer beneficiaries a choice between accepting the uncertain and risky future benefits originally promised or receiving a discounted lump-sum benefit right away.
Rainy day funds are one tool that most US states use to help mitigate the fiscal stress caused by economic slowdowns that reduce state government revenue. Past research I did with Gary Wagner uses a switching regression to estimate parameters in order to form a distribution of potential budget shortfalls for each state. This paper updates those results to include post–Great Recession data. A comparison of this distribution to the actual amount of savings that states have accumulated allows an assessment of how prepared each state is for an economic downturn and the resulting decline in tax revenues. What ability do states have to weather economic downturns without raising taxes or reducing spending? States are ranked based on their current ability to weather future economic downturns.
Fed uncertainty, the levitated dollar, China’s continuing weak economy, Europe’s mixed bag, and US political crazy season combine to yield a slow but somehow sound winter economy. Let’s take it from the top. The most recent third quarter 2015 GDP growth estimate arrived to the tune of 1.5 percent.
A new study for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University examines the reasons behind the ACA exchanges’ failure to meet widespread expectations. The study explains the likely impact of this failure on health insurance prices and risk pool stability, bringing into question the law’s future prospects of survival without significant revisions.
A new paper for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University looks at how the government of British Columbia approached regulatory reform and suggests that the Canadian experience could be a model for governments in the United States. Given how many governments have tried and failed to reduce red tape and the regulatory burden, it is remarkable that British Columbia was able to do so. Policymakers in the United States should take notice of these lessons and adopt a similar model.
A new study for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University reviews the empirical literature on the effects of land-use regulations. The study finds that these regulations reduce the sup- ply of housing relative to what it would likely be in a free market and ultimately increase housing costs for consumers. Because lower-income households spend on average a larger percentage of their income on housing than higher-income households, the costs of these regulations disproportionately burden low-income households. Restraining the growth of land-use restrictions and rolling them back would benefit not only low- and middle-income households, but also overall economic growth.
Proponents of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have frequently pointed to official cost estimates projecting that the law will reduce federal budget deficits. Much less attention has been paid to the primary reason for this favorable outlook: the law’s heavy reliance on indexing important provisions to restrain spending and increase revenue. These components of the ACA will automatically impose perpetual, across-the-board cuts on payments to certain institutional medical providers; increase premiums for lower-income households; and raise taxes on an ever-expanding segment of taxpayers.
A new paper for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University shows why the current system of medical device approval discourages technological innovation and ultimately affects patient choice. The approval process could be improved by introducing competition for approval—a process that already exists in the European Union.
Nate Silver, today’s most influential statistician and founder of the award-winning data website FiveThirtyEight, will join Tyler Cowen for a wide-ranging, intellectual dialogue as part of the Conversations with Tyler series.
History has shown that tax reforms seldom last when special interests have substantial incentives to lobby Congress for tax breaks. Making the tax code as simple—by taxing a broad base at the same low rate—and as transparent as possible will help reduce the ability and incentives to reverse future tax reforms.