Reforming the congressional budget process is no substitute for actual policy changes that can correct the government’s fiscal problems. Yet according to a new study published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, the right kinds of process reforms can open up new potential for agreement between Congress and the president and can focus attention on long-term spending commitments.
Social Security’s trustees have long warned Congress to address the troubled finances of the Disability Insurance (DI) program. Given the DI trust fund’s projected exhaustion date of 2016, legislation will be required during this Congress to prevent large, sudden benefit cuts.
Has the US economy kicked off third quarter’s running cleats and slipped on bedroom shoes with very soft soles? The running pace has changed abruptly. As the accompanying chart tells us, the second estimate for growth in the fourth quarter of 2014 fell to 2.2 percent from the third quarter’s hair-raising 5.0 percent. Is this the economic engine that is pulling the world economy?
In a comprehensive assessment of Florida’s fiscal policy, Dr. Randall Holcombe of Florida State University examines the state’s education and health care spending, pension system, taxes and budget, land use regulation, homeowners insurance, and many other key policies.
To read the entire paper, please download the PDF. To view individual sections by issue, see below.
The tax code is often manipulated by arbitrarily shortening depreciation timelines through accelerated depreciation or bonus expensing. As a solution to the current inequity and inefficiency of depreciation policies, this paper advocates full expensing. Expensing incentivizes investment by allowing businesses to write off all expenditures in the year they occur, resulting in a zero effective tax rate on equity-financed capital.
A new study published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University examines the use of expansionary fiscal policy to stimulate a contracting economy. The study concludes that attempts to use fiscal policy to solve broader economic troubles have failed even by the theory proponents’ own standards. In addition to being poorly timed and targeted, stimulus spending has led to permanent increases in the size and scope of government.
When market circumstances change dramatically—or when new technology or competition alleviates the need for regulation—then public policy should evolve and adapt to accommodate these realities. This paper concludes with some proposals for further research in this area, and a call for a more informed regulatory approach that accounts for the innovations of the sharing economy.
Many economists and economic commentators fear that the Federal Reserve does not have an adequate exit strategy from the quantitative easing that took place during the financial crisis. Its bloated balance sheet has allegedly left a looming monetary overhang that the Fed will not be able to manage once the economy returns to normal.
As part of our Regulation University educational series, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University invites you to Regulatory Boot Camp, a special program for policy advisors featuring distinguished constitutional, economic and legal scholars with extensive knowledge of regulation and rulemaking.
Join Tyler Cowen and Jeffrey Sachs, two of today's top global leaders and most influential economists, in a serious dialogue on the ideas and policies that will likely shape economic development in the coming years and decades.