South Carolina lawmakers have undertaken reforms to address some of the serious issues with their state’s pension system, but major changes are still needed to prevent future budget problems. In 2012, the state increased employee and employer contribution rates for the South Carolina Retirement System (SCRS), the state’s public pension fund. The increase affected current members as well as new hires. The 2012 reforms also reduced the expected rate of return for pension investments and reduced the minimum cost-of-living benefit increase. In 2000 and 2002, the state created optional defined-contribution plans for existing and new state and local government employees and teachers.
Last week, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Janet Yellen was awarded the Radcliffe Medal at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. At a lunch in Yellen’s honor, Lizabeth Cohen, dean of the institute, praised the Fed chair’s “steadfast commitment to robust growth” and the way the she “steers our economy,” guided by the philosophy of her Yale mentor, Keynesian economist James Tobin.
The history of liberty and prosperity is inseparable from the practice of free enterprise and respect for the rule of law. Both are products of the spirit of classical liberalism. But a correct understanding of free enterprise, the rule of law, and liberalism (rightly understood) is greatly lacking in the world today.
Why have prices fallen so low? Because government subsidies created a glut – and the market is flooded. This government money warps and distorts the marketplace – as otherwise productively-directed time and effort is instead spent chasing the government coin. Producers produce not what the marketplace needs – but for what the government pays.
In this episode of The Heartland Daily podcast, managing editor Jesse Hathaway talks with Mercatus Center senior research fellow Stephen Miller about the history of postal banking in the United States, and why supporters of the idea, like presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (D-VT), have failed to learn from the mistakes of history.
As we witness thousands of Americans attending Bernie Sanders rallies, knowing Sanders identifies himself as a Socialist and promises to govern from that position, it is time for all of us to understand the significance of that and consider what is happening to our Country.
Political campaign years are filled with candidates’ promises to solve people’s problems. Government policies will “create jobs,” will reduce or even block the “unfair” competition of market rivals in foreign lands, will restore or create prosperity for all, and will assure “fairness” for everyone, even if it means imposing regulatory or special tax burdens on some to guarantee politically provided privileges and benefits for others who are deemed “deserving.”
Advocates of occupational licensure argue that it protects the public interest by excluding incompetent and unethical individuals from sensitive jobs. This is certainly the case in some fields, such as health care — but in general, research reveals weak evidence that licensure confers a tangible benefit on public safety or the overall quality of services provided to consumers. What it mainly does is increase costs: Kleiner estimates that licensing increases prices 5 to 33 percent, depending on the occupation and geographic location.
In today’s edition of The Heartland Daily Podcast, Randal O’Toole, economic analyst at the Cato Institute, joins Host H. Sterling Burnett to talk about how the incentive structure facing public lands managers has resulted in mismanagement and the armed conflicts we saw in Nevada and Oregon.
Eighty years go, on February 4, 1936, one of the most influential books of the last one hundred years was published, British economist, John Maynard Keynes’s The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money. With it was born what has become known as Keynesian Economics.
At Saturday’s Republican debate, several candidates were asked to define “conservatism.” Marco Rubio gave a politically-astute answer. He said conservatism embodies three principles: (1) limited government under the framework of the Constitution, (2) free-market economics and (3) peace through strength. Donald Trump gave an answer in keeping with the root word “conserve,” he conserve that which one has.
In this episode of The Heartland Daily Podcast, managing editor Jesse Hathaway talks with Marian Tupy, the editor of HumanProgress.org and a senior policy analyst with the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity. HumanProgress, a Cato Institute project, allows people to create, compare, and share statistical indices of how human quality of life has changed over the centuries.
Based on the best available scientific evidence, it is highly unlikely continued fossil fuel use will result in catastrophic changes to Earth’s climate or will cause harm to humans or the environment. Despite the available evidence, governments in the United States and other industrialized nations seem intent on pushing the development and use of politically favored renewable energy sources, particularly wind and solar power, through the use of subsidies and mandates.
Recently, my patients with commercial insurance were paying $15 out of pocket per vial for analogue rapid-acting insulin. A Medicare patient was paying $40 per vial for the same insulin until she entered the “donut hole,” at which point her price went to $102 per vial.
A growing number of people have begun to appreciate the damage done to small business and innovators by so called “patent trolls.” Some of the arguments about those who take advantage of the patent system have been conjecture, some no more than name calling, but much has been well grounded with empirical studies. A recent literature review of all the studies has brought into a clear bright light the damage of the marauding trolls.
This time of the year, whether in good economic times or bad, is when Americans gather with their families and friends and enjoy a Thanksgiving meal together. It marks a remembrance of those early Pilgrim Fathers who crossed the uncharted ocean from Europe to make a new start in Plymouth, Massachusetts. What is less appreciated is that Thanksgiving also is a celebration of the birth of free enterprise in America.
California lawmakers are proposing to increase taxes on cigarettes by $2 per pack in order to fund increased entitlement spending. Instead of placing faith in the morality of their cause, lawmakers would do better to place their trust in economic and public health realities.
In this episode of The Heartland Daily Podcast, managing editor Jesse Hathaway talks with Mercatus Center senior fellow Todd Zywicki. Zywicki’s new paper, “The Law and Economics of Consumer Debt Collection and Its Regulation,” examines the pitfalls of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau’s proposals to protect consumers from abuse by debt collection agencies.
The surest evidence that President Barack Obama’s environmental policies have gone too far comes from the federal courts, which in the past five months have struck down or limited several of his executive orders and regulations.
It is hard for people to grasp the magnitude of the U.S. debt problem—and what the ultimate “day of reckoning” will be. The national debt reached $1 trillion for the first time in 2009. It is now well over $18 trillion. That’s the official total; the real total is much higher. Lawrence Kotlikoff, a professor of economics at Boston University, has calculated that based on Congressional Budget Office data the real debt is $202 trillion, more than eleven times the official debt. It is also about 3 times what the entire world produces, that is, global gross domestic product (GDP), which is $72 trillion. In 2013 Kotlikoff updated his debt calculation to $222. That’s $700,000 per person, $1.9 million per household.