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. Her primary research interests include the US 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 writes regular columns for Reason magazine and the Washington Examiner, 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.

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Published Research

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.
Veronique de Rugy, Jason J. Fichtner | Apr 28, 2011
This paper takes a detailed look at the facts behind raising the debt ceiling.

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 | Feb 24, 2015
This week’s chart is an updated comparison of the different measurements of the unemployment rate from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). It includes new data on the official and alternative unemployment measurements for January 2015. The widely reported official unemployment rate, which remains the primary measure of labor market performance, is not the most realistic representation of the current state of the economy, because it fails to capture, among other things, individuals who have simply stopped looking for work. The limited perspective on the labor market offered by the official unemployment rate is readily apparent when compared to alternative measures of unemployment.
Veronique de Rugy | Feb 11, 2015
While the president’s budget proposal is unlikely to go anywhere because Republicans control Congress, it doesn’t change the underlying reality that the long-term budget picture remains bleak because spending will outstrip revenues unless policymakers change course. That means cutting the size and scope of the federal government—not increasing taxes.
Veronique de Rugy | Feb 03, 2015
If current laws stay in place, spending for Social Security and the major health-care programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act, will grow faster than the economy. As a rule of thumb, a government’s spending should never grow faster than the economy that’s supposed to pay for it. (It’s worth noting that the CBO lowered its projection of economic growth going forward.) All of this suggests that, rather than celebrating a short-term respite from $1 trillion deficits, we should be even more concerned about reining in the size and scope of the federal government.
Veronique de Rugy | Feb 02, 2015
Revenues from the gas tax are dedicated to the federal Highway Trust Fund for spending on highway and transit projects. But this revenue, along with the revenue from other smaller dedicated taxes, hasn’t been enough to cover the annual amounts authorized by Congress in recent years, forcing policymakers to transfer more than $60 billion from general funds to the Highway Trust Fund since 2008.
Veronique de Rugy | Jan 21, 2015
When it comes to funding national defense, policymakers tend to ignore war costs so an accurate assessment on the burden on taxpayer of overseas military ventures is increasingly important as pressure mounts to increase the Pentagon’s regular “base” budget.
Veronique de Rugy, Jason J. Fichtner | Jan 13, 2015
This week’s chart presents improper payments made by the thirteen programs that the Office of Management and Budget has labeled “high-error.” The chart ranks transfer programs that allocate at least $750 million in payments from those with the lowest improper payments to those with the highest. The chart also displays the total improper-payment rates as a percentage of total program outlays for each program.
Veronique de Rugy | Dec 16, 2014
This week’s chart puts into perspective the amount of funding—and expense—that is not accounted for in the figures widely cited by policymakers and defense officials.
Veronique de Rugy | Dec 08, 2014
Policymakers need to reconsider whether the nation’s best interests are served by the current expansive global military presence. Limiting American military presence overseas would not only benefit the nation, it would also help control runaway DoD personnel costs.

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 | 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.
Veronique de Rugy | Dec 04, 2013
Despite Washington’s recent focus on the disastrous Affordable Care Act website rollout, policymakers are missing what the rollout glitches symbolize: the fundamental flaws that imbue government intervention. The work of public choice economists such as Nobel laureate James Buchanan, Gordon Tullock, Mancur Olson, and William Niskanen has shown that, despite good intentions and lavish use of taxpayer resources, government solutions are not only unlikely to solve most of our problems—they often make problems worse.
Veronique de Rugy | May 22, 2013
Good morning, Chairman Murray, Ranking Member Sessions, and members of the committee. Thank you for the chance to discuss the effect of tax increases and spending cuts on economic growth. I appreciate the opportunity to testify today.
Veronique de Rugy | Jul 18, 2012
The Department of Energy’s loan guarantee programs have been the focus of much public attention since energy companies Solyndra, Beacon Power, and Abound went bankrupt, leaving taxpayers to shoulder hundreds of mil- lions of dollars in loan guarantees. The evidence strongly suggests that these programs fall short of their stated goals of developing clean energy and creating jobs.

Research Summaries & Toolkits

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.
Jason J. Fichtner, Jacob Feldman, Jeremy Horpedahl, Brandon Pizzola, Bruce Yandle, Veronique de Rugy | Jul 15, 2013
The most basic goal of tax policy is to raise enough revenue to meet the government’s spending requirements, preferably with minimal impact on market behavior. The US tax code has long failed to achieve this goal; by severely distorting market decisions and the allocation of resources, it impedes both potential economic growth and potential tax revenue. The nation’s persistently sluggish economic growth and dire long-term fiscal outlook have increased the urgency 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, Jason J. Fichtner, Charles Blahous, Matthew Mitchell | Mar 15, 2013
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.

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

Feb 26, 2015

Remember Occupy Wall Street, when thousands across the country took to the streets, sleeping in tents to protest the ultra-rich 1 percent? The occupiers' frustration was real, but their ire was misdirected. They should have launched an Occupy the AARP movement instead.
Feb 19, 2015

de Rugy responds to Rep. Fincher's latest claims about the Export-Import bank. She writes: "Sadly, the privileges Ex-Im extends to the few come at the expense of countless American firms and their workers. Unsubsidized firms may see reduced revenues—and their employees may see their hours cut, their salaries stagnate, or their jobs simply vanish because their employers cannot compete on the uneven playing field created by the federal government."
Feb 07, 2015

One in three workers are subject to occupational licensing laws that destroy economic mobility. Thankfully, the president would like to change that. It is no secret that there is a lot I do not like in the president’s new budget. It spends too much, it taxes too much and the combo of the two keeps us on the unsustainable fiscal path we are on. However, the president deserves some credit for drawing some attention to the incredible injustice of occupational licensing laws.
Feb 07, 2015

The Jan. 25 editorial “Save the Ex-Im Bank: A Frugal Congress Must Keep a Revenue Generator” claims that the Export-Import Bank is a good deal for taxpayers because it turns a profit every year. This is a misguided argument based on faulty accounting. In fact, the economists at the federal government’s nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office say it will yield $2 billion in losses for taxpayers in the next decade.
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