Veronique de Rugy

Veronique de Rugy

  • Senior Research Fellow

Veronique de Rugy is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and a nationally syndicated columnist. Her primary research interests include the U.S. economy, the federal budget, homeland security, taxation, tax competition, and financial privacy. Her popular weekly charts, published by the Mercatus Center, address economic issues ranging from lessons on creating sustainable economic growth to the implications of government tax and fiscal policies. She has testified numerous times in front of Congress on the effects of fiscal stimulus, debt and deficits, and regulation on the economy.

De Rugy is the author of a weekly opinion column for the Creators Syndicate, writes regular columns for Reason magazine, and she blogs about economics at National Review Online’s the Corner. Her charts, articles, and commentary have been featured in a wide range of media outlets, including the Reality Check segment on Bloomberg Television’s Street Smart, the New York Times’ Room for Debate, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, CNN International, Stossel, 20/20, C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, and Fox News.

Previously, de Rugy has been a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a policy analyst at the Cato Institute, and a research fellow at the Atlas Economic Research Foundation. Before moving to the United States, she oversaw academic programs in France for the Institute for Humane Studies Europe. She received her MA in economics from the Paris Dauphine University and her PhD in economics from the Pantheon-Sorbonne University.

Published Research

Veronique de Rugy, Diane Katz | Apr 15, 2015
Ex-Im Bank advocates emphasize its importance to small businesses and economic growth. A new analysis of government data reveals that Ex-Im Bank’s top 10 overseas buyers are large corporations that primarily purchase exports from multinational conglomerates. Ex-Im Bank’s small business narrative is challenged by the fact that the buyers receiving the most subsidies are—like the exporters—major corporations.
Veronique de Rugy, Andrea Castillo | Jul 16, 2014
This paper provides a brief overview of the history and operations of the Ex-Im Bank, followed by an examination of the key justifications for the bank’s continued authorization.
Robert J. Barro , Veronique de Rugy | May 07, 2013
While the impact of across-the-board federal defense-spending cuts on national security may be up for debate, claims of these cuts’ dire impact on the economy and jobs are grossly overblown.
Veronique de Rugy, Alberto Alesina | Mar 07, 2013
There is still significant debate about the short-term economic impact of fiscal adjustments. However, as we will show in this paper, important lessons have emerged.

Working Papers

Veronique de Rugy, Matthew Mitchell | Sep 12, 2011
Four years into the deepest recession since World War II, the U.S. economy expanded at a rate of only 0.7 percent in the first half of 2011. This means that the economy is growing at a slower pace than the population and that capita output continues to fall. In response, the president has announced a plan for yet more deficit-financed stimulus spending.
Veronique de Rugy | Aug 04, 2011
This paper takes a look at the nature and size of supplemental appropriations bills and the abuse of emergency spending.
Veronique de Rugy | Sep 16, 2010
With the unemployment rate in the United States lingering just below 10 percent and elections approaching rapidly, job creation has become Washington’s top priority. Arguing that small businesses…
Veronique de Rugy | Jun 15, 2010
For every attempt to cap government spending by regulation or statute, lawmakers seem to find new and creative accounting techniques that allow them to continue spending recklessly. In fact, there is…

Charts

Veronique de Rugy, Jason J. Fichtner | May 06, 2016
According to the federal government’s latest estimates, government programs for fiscal year 2015 paid out $137 billion “improperly”—meaning that these payments violated guidelines or rules in some way. Fraud is not the only reason, as the federal government reports. Rather, an improper payment can also result from simple clerical error or failure to confirm that a recipient was eligible to receive the amount of money that was disbursed. Whether due to fraud, the complexity of program rules, or bureaucracy, $137 billion is a significant amount of taxpayer funds. Federal spending has grown too massive for the government to provide adequate oversight.
Veronique de Rugy | Apr 14, 2016
The White House has been among those who believe in the productivity-pay gap claim that workers’ productivity rose at a high rate over the last four decades but growth in real earnings failed to keep pace and instead changed at a nearly flat rate (see the green line in the chart below). These arguments continue to fuel the debate on contested labor policies such as the overtime pay rule and minimum wage increases. A more careful and comprehensive analysis of real worker pay and productivity data, however, shows that worker compensation is closely tied to worker productivity.
Veronique de Rugy | Feb 24, 2016
A recent article from Politico looked at the growth in unauthorized appropriations as a share of total discretionary spending. Each year the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) releases a report listing programs that have maintained funding despite their authorization expiring. The latest CBO report finds that “lawmakers appropriated about $310 billion for fiscal year 2016 for programs and activities whose authorizations of appropriations have expired.” That’s equal to about 26 percent of total appropriations.
Veronique de Rugy | Feb 09, 2016
The latest federal budget projections from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) should set off alarm bells on Capitol Hill. According to CBO’s baseline, federal debt held by the public will climb from $14 trillion this year to almost $24 trillion in fiscal year 2026. Measured as a share of the economy, publicly held debt as a percentage of GDP is projected to jump substantially, from 75.6 percent to 86.1 percent in the next 11 years. As the following chart shows, current debt levels are already disconcertingly high.
Veronique de Rugy | Feb 04, 2016
The recent record $1.6 billion Powerball lottery jackpot captured the nation’s attention. The sum is so immense, it’s hard for most of us to wrap our minds around. Another immense sum that’s hard for Americans to wrap their minds around is the amount of hardworking taxpayers’ money that the federal government spends on an annual and daily basis. In fiscal year 2015, the federal government spent $3,700 billion (or $3.7 trillion), which is more than $10 billion per day.
Veronique de Rugy | Dec 29, 2015
The spending bill, which is more than 2,000 pages long, contains funding for numerous programs that largely benefit particular interest groups at the expense of taxpayers and the broader economy. This week’s holiday-themed graphic singles out 12 examples, but it by no means represents all of the gifts for special interests contained in the bill. Although the individual sums are not large relative to the overall spending contained in the bill, the examples highlight the problem with a federal government that faces few limits on how it can spend taxpayer money.
Veronique de Rugy | Dec 09, 2015
Americans have become increasingly aware of the detrimental role of cronyism—in their lives and the economy in general—where certain industries extract privileges from the federal government. That means that the federal sugar racket, which clearly benefits the few at the expense of many, should be a prime target of policymakers looking to chip away at “corporate welfare.”…
Veronique de Rugy | Dec 02, 2015
This week’s chart looks at total OCO funding from fiscal year (FY) 2001 to projected FY 2016, which amounts to a cumulative $1.75 trillion. Of that amount, 92 percent has gone to the Pentagon and the rest went to the State Department, US Agency for International Development, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Policy Briefs

Veronique de Rugy, Jason J. Fichtner | Aug 21, 2014
The recent decline in federal deficits should not create a false sense that the national debt is no longer a clear and present threat. While this improvement may be encouraging, it represents only a temporary respite from the government’s growing fiscal imbalances.
Veronique de Rugy, Adam Thierer | Oct 11, 2011
This paper considers the economic implications of an internet sales tax and its effect on trade and competition between states.
Veronique de Rugy, Jason J. Fichtner | May 26, 2011
While the United States should not default on its debt, neither should Congress raise the debt ceiling without addressing the problem that created the debt: excessive spending.
Veronique de Rugy, Jason J. Fichtner | Jan 24, 2011
Lawmakers will consider different options for Social Security reform in the coming year; do they have all the necessary facts to do this? This Mercatus on Policy highlights the key points they need to know.

Testimony & Comments

Veronique de Rugy | Feb 02, 2016
The heated rhetoric coming in March 2017 about whether Congress should raise the debt ceiling will obscure the federal government’s real problem: an unprecedented increase in government spending and the future explosion of entitlement spending has created a fiscal imbalance today and for the years to come. No matter what Congress decides to do about the debt ceiling, the United States must implement institutional reforms that constrain government spending and return the country to a sustainable fiscal position.
Veronique de Rugy | Jun 02, 2015
Contrary to what you will hear from its supporters and beneficiaries, the Ex-Im Bank plays a marginal role in export financing—backing a mere 2 percent of US exports each year. The vast majority of exporters secure financing from a wide variety of private banks and other financial institutions without government interference or assistance. With US exports hitting record high levels, it is obvious that such financing is abundant and government assistance is superfluous.
Veronique de Rugy | Mar 24, 2015
Policymakers who are interested in supporting the entrepreneurs and companies that will deliver the next generation of energy supplies and products should focus their attention on correcting the federal government’s hostile tax climate and dispense with the futile hopes of outsmarting the marketplace.
Veronique de Rugy | Jun 25, 2014
The Bank has long outlived its purpose and cannot manage to meet the standards of the new missions that have been developed to validate its existence. For policymakers who have the facts, the choice is clear: the Export-Import Bank must go.

Research Summaries & Toolkits

Jason J. Fichtner, Veronique de Rugy, Matthew Mitchell, Angela Kuck, Adam Michel | May 25, 2016
The nation’s persistently sluggish economic growth and dire long-term fiscal outlook have increased the urgency of the need to reform the federal revenue system. But what does successful, sustainable tax reform look like? What are its key elements? And what would it achieve?
Veronique de Rugy, Nita Ghei, Michael Wilt | Jul 28, 2015
The US Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) is a government credit agency that provides tax- payer-backed financing to private exporting businesses. An increasing body of evidence shows that the Ex-Im Bank provides subsidized financing to big businesses at the expense of smaller businesses and taxpayers while doing little to promote exports, create jobs, or improve competitiveness of US firms. Removing this source of government-granted privilege can only help US exporters.
Jason J. Fichtner, Veronique de Rugy | Dec 03, 2013
Some in Washington claim the federal spending and deficit problem is solved. While the deficit has been cut in half (from a record-high of $1.4 trillion in FY09 to $680 billion in FY13), this reduction can be attributed to several singular events, such as the end of the payroll tax “holiday” and higher receipts from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Over the longer term, deficits and debt are projected to continue increasing.
Veronique de Rugy, Jason J. Fichtner | Oct 10, 2013
As federal government borrowing is set to exceed yet another debt limit, most are quick to recall—and wish to avoid a repeat of—the 2011 debt-limit showdown. If current rhetoric is any indication, it appears many of the last debate’s lessons have been forgotten. Regrettably, it seems many of the debate’s facts have been forgotten as well.

Media Clippings

Veronique de Rugy | Aug 24, 2014
Outlet: Wall Street Journal
Veronique de Rugy | Jun 25, 2014
Outlet: The Washington Post
Veronique de Rugy | Jun 08, 2014
Outlet: The Wall Street Journal
Veronique de Rugy | May 20, 2014
Outlet: Wall Street Journal

Data Sets

Expert Commentary

May 26, 2016

For years, organizations like the World Bank and the OECD have bullied low-tax nations into changing their tax privacy laws so uncompetitive nations can track taxpayers and companies around the world.
May 23, 2016

While raising the question of Puerto Rican independence might seem quaint, its prominent place in the news is at least an occasion to recognize that big government abroad and big government at home are two sides of the same coin.
May 09, 2016

For months, employers around the country have been sounding the alarm about the Department of Labor’s new regulation to expand overtime pay.
May 07, 2016

It’s no surprise that trust in the government is at an all-time low. Government failures and broken promises by administration officials in the last eight years alone have been plentiful.
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