Despite years without a federal budget, trillion-dollar deficits, and ad hoc, crisis-driven fiscal and economic policies that failed to deal with the looming entitlement crisis, leaders on both sides in Washington are now touting seemingly miraculous progress toward a “fix” to our budgetary woes.
The president’s recent proposal to increase the minimum wage to $9.00 is not the way to help low-income households. Raising the minimum wage is more likely to increase unemployment for some of the least skilled American workers and further impede a historically slow recovery. Research from the Mercatus Center shows that regulatory reform would help low-income families without causing more unemployment or slowing the recovery.
In a market economy, regulations are often thought of as a useful tool in correcting the imbalance of power between large, entrenched interests and consumers. Federal agencies are supposed to create universal rules of the road that protect the health, safety, and welfare of customers and employees, secondary considerations for companies focused on profits. Recent Mercatus Center research casts doubt on whether the regulatory process actually achieves these goals.
The concern that American businesses are overly burdened by regulations has legitimate grounds. In 2011, American companies had to comply with over 1 million federal regulatory restrictions, compared with about 860,000 a decade earlier. However, to truly address concerns about overregulation, policy makers cannot focus exclusively on the growth of new regulations. Attention must also be paid to the lack of an efficient and effective regulatory review process for preexisting rules.
The debt ceiling, or the legal limit the federal government may borrow, is set currently at $16.4 trillion. In his latest report, Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner predicts that the United States will need to increase the debt ceiling sometime between February 15, 2013, and early March 2013. The Congressional Research Service estimates the federal government will have to issue an additional $700 billion in debt above the current statutory limit to finance obligations for the remainder of FY2013…
In the recent Mercatus Center study, “Overriding Consumer Preferences with Energy Regulation,” Ted Gayer, co-director of the Economic Studies program at the Brookings Institution, and W. Kip Viscusi, University Distin- guished Professor of Law, Economics, and Management at Vanderbilt, examined the economic justification for recent U.S. energy regulations proposed by the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The study found that the energy-efficiency standards have a relatively minor effect on greenhouse-gas emissions, and—per the regulating agencies’ own estimates—cannot pass cost-benefit analyses based on their environmental benefits alone. To justify these regulations, the agencies relied on estimated benefits derived from correcting consumer “irrationality.”…
The Mercatus Center at George Mason University is pleased to provide you with our new policy guide. The guide is designed to provide easily accessible economic information that might prove useful in pre- paring for hearings or town hall meetings, drafting speeches or policy papers, and generally educating the public regarding spending, taxes, regulation, financial markets, and technology policy.
In recent years, federal agencies have issued energy-efficiency standards for everything from cars to light bulbs. These regulations are commonly billed as important efforts to reduce greenhouse gases. But, according to a new study published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, the standards have a negligible effect on emissions.
Even as viewing options multiply from new sources, America’s traditional video marketplace—broadcast television, cable TV, and satellite TV—remains encumbered with many layers of federal regulation. This prevents a truly free market in video programming from developing and simultaneously threatens to extend old regulations to new online platforms and services.