• Ms. Monopoly’s ‘Woke’ Rules Are Bad for Girls, Devalue Women

    I have three girls and three boys. Some of them have recently gotten into Monopoly, the classic board game.

    But my kids won’t be playing Hasbro’s new version, Ms. Monopoly, which gives women 20% more than men when they pass go.

    As an economist, I love classic Monopoly and its real-world financial lessons.

    As a person, I like the message conveyed by the new Ms. Monopoly cover — that young, hip women can be as successful, if not more, than old white men in stuffy suits and top hats.

    The problem is what’s inside the box.

    Ms. Monopoly’s unequal rules not only distort real-world realities; they would surely incite conflict between my boys and girls.… Read More...

  • Why VW Workers Have More to Lose Than Gain From Unionizing

    History has an important lesson for autoworkers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where the United Auto Workers union plans to  hold a vote soon to unionize workers.

    When it comes to VW’s Chattanooga workers, unionizing is more likely to prevent expansion by the company and threaten jobs than it is to bring about higher wages and better working conditions.

    Consider some history on U.S. auto manufacturing and the UAW’s role in its decline.

    As labor economist James Sherk wrote in a July 2014 New York Times opinion column:

    For decades, almost the only cars Americans could buy were those built by [UAW] members.… Read More...

  • NH Governor’s Veto of Income Tax Thwarts Mandated Paid Family Leave

    In bright red, all capital letters, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu slapped a big “VETO” on the Democrat-controlled Legislature’s bill to implement a tax on workers to pay for a government-administered paid family leave program.

    Alongside his signed and dated veto, Sununu, a Republican, wrote: “No Income Tax. Not Now! Not Ever!”

    The Democrats’ solution to paid leave — Senate Bill 1 (SB1) — is an income tax and make no mistake, the people of New Hampshire do not support that approach. Today, I unequivocally VETOED the Democrats’ income tax. pic.twitter.com/sJDJzugW9i

    — Chris Sununu (@GovChrisSununu) May 9, 2019

    New Hampshire is one of only seven states across the U.S.… Read More...

  • What Social Security’s Long-term Shortfall Means for You Now

    What Social Security’s Long-term Shortfall Means for You Now

    Workers and retirees have long been warned that Social Security’s trust fund will run out of funds sometime in the future, and that the program has many trillions of dollars in unfunded obligations.

    But what does this year’s 2019 Trustees Report, revealing $16.8 trillion in
    unfunded obligations over the next 75 years and insolvency in 2035, mean for current workers and retirees? (The $16.8 trillion figure includes the $13.9 trillion 75-year unfunded obligation, plus $2.9 trillion in trust fund IOUs that represent additional debt.)

    Well, for starters, 2035 is only 16 years away. That means that anyone below the age of 52 today is on track to receive only 75% to 80% of their scheduled benefits.… Read More...

  • Today, You Pay Your Federal Taxes. Tomorrow Is Real Tax Freedom Day.

    Today, You Pay Your Federal Taxes. Tomorrow Is Real Tax Freedom Day.

    This year, “Tax Freedom Day”—the day after which Americans have worked enough days of the year to pay their taxes—occurs just one day after “Tax Day,” April 15, the deadline for filing federal tax returns.

    That’s according to the Tax Foundation’s annual “Tax Freedom Day” report for 2019.

    In total, the report estimates, Americans will work for 105 days of the year to pay their collective $5.42 trillion tax bill—a figure equal to about 29 percent of Americans’ incomes.

    On a per-worker basis, that $5.42 trillion works out to an average tax bill of $34,578, including $13,831 in federal, state, and local income taxes; $8,562 in payroll taxes; $4,940 in sales and excise taxes; $3,622 in property taxes; and $1,976 in estate and inheritance, customs duties, and other taxes; and $1,647 in corporate taxes.… Read More...

  • Senate Bill Would Boost Paid Family Leave Without Government Program

    Senate Bill Would Boost Paid Family Leave Without Government Program

    Many federal lawmakers have been looking for ways to help more workers gain access to paid family leave, but the problem with most proposals—from Democrats and Republicans alike—is that they rely on the federal government to manage new paid family leave programs.

    Not so with Sen. Mike Lee’s Working Families Flexibility Act, which the Utah Republican reintroduced on April 4.

    Without establishing a new federal program, without raising taxes on workers, without imposing mandates on employers, and without hindering the growth in private and state-based paid family leave programs that are already underway, the Working Families Flexibility Act would allow millions of lower-wage workers to accumulate paid family leave.… Read More...

  • Google’s Internal Audit Bucks the Narrative on Gender Pay Gap

    Google’s Internal Audit Bucks the Narrative on Gender Pay Gap

    Whether it’s the result of political pressure or wanting to stay ahead of progressive trends, a number of larger companies are conducting internal audits to investigate whether they could be accused of having a so-called pay gap between men and women.

    Google conducts such an audit every year, and this year produced a surprising result. According to The New York Times, Google’s analysis found that more men than women were being underpaid.

    As a result, Google will award $9.7 million out of a compensation fund, the majority of it going to men. The fund was established to remedy compensation gaps revealed by the annual study.… Read More...

  • 2 Senators Don’t Want Taxpayers Paying for Pensions for Rich Lawmakers

    2 Senators Don’t Want Taxpayers Paying for Pensions for Rich Lawmakers

    With the federal debt now over $22 trillion, does it really make sense to provide “plush” pensions to federal lawmakers—many of whom are millionaires in their own right?

    Freshman Sens. Mike Braun, R-Ind., and Rick Scott, R-Fla., don’t think so, and they’ve introduced the End Pensions in Congress Act, legislation to phase out congressional pensions.

    On average, former members of Congress receive about $41,000 per year in pension benefits after having served about 16 years. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat who has been in Congress 32 years, will receive a six-figure pension.

    Under Braun’s proposal, federal lawmakers would stop receiving pension accruals.… Read More...

  • Amazon’s New York Reversal Shows Exactly Why Crony Capitalism Fails

    Amazon’s New York Reversal Shows Exactly Why Crony Capitalism Fails

    Just months after announcing it would locate one of its headquarters in New York City, Amazon has announced that it’s pulling the plug on the Big Apple.

    Based on Amazon’s public statement, it seems the company couldn’t rely on the deals it had cut or the political support it had received to last beyond the next election. And businesses can’t base long-term decisions like this on shifting political sand.

    That’s part of the problem with crony capitalism. It may procure short-term wins for a select few politicians and for businesses that can afford to pay to play, but it’s not a strategy for long-term success.… Read More...

  • Reform Underfunded Multiemployer Pension Plans. Don't Bail Them Out.

    Reform Underfunded Multiemployer Pension Plans. Don’t Bail Them Out.

    Absent any congressional action, between 1 million and 10 million workers and retirees will lose most of their promised pension benefits over the coming decades.

    It would be unfair to stave off those losses with taxpayer bailouts, and doing so would establish the precedent that the federal government will stand behind pension promises that it didn’t even make. But it would also be irresponsible and destructive to do nothing.

    Congress’ Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pensions faces a Nov. 30 deadline to issue a report, including legislative recommendations that address both the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.’s $54 billion multiemployer program deficit and multiemployer pension plans’ $638 billion in unfunded pension promises.

    Read More...
  • 430 More VA Medical Staff (at No Cost to Taxpayers)

    430 More VA Medical Staff (at No Cost to Taxpayers)

    Believe it or not, the Department of Veterans Affairs has 430 medical professionals who, instead of performing their duties as nurses or doctors, spend some or all of their time working for their federal employees unions.

    All of that happens on the taxpayers’ dime.

    Not anymore, according to the VA’s recent announcement.

    As of Nov. 15, the VA will repudiate part of its master collective-bargaining agreement. In particular, it will eliminate all forms of taxpayer-funded “official time” for its roughly 104,000 Title 38 medical profession employees.

    According to the Federal Labor Relations Authority, official time is that in which “an employee’s activities are not directed by the agency, but for which an employee is nevertheless entitled to compensation from the agency.”

    In other words, official time refers to taxpayers paying federal employees to perform non-federal activities unrelated to the jobs they were hired to perform.

    Read More...
  • How Congress Can Make Tax Cuts Permanent Without Worsening the Debt

    How Congress Can Make Tax Cuts Permanent Without Worsening the Debt

    The economy is thriving under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Wages are up, scores of jobs are being created, and small businesses are more optimistic than ever about the future.

    Making those tax cuts permanent and passing additional pro-growth tax reforms would help sustain higher economic growth, creating long-term benefits for all Americans.

    Even so, those benefits would be limited if policymakers fail to address the unsustainable mountain of debt we have already taken on. This part is critical because left unaddressed, the debt will inevitably lead to either an economic crash or decades of economic malaise.

    The root problem is not low taxes.

    Read More...
  • 3 Examples of How Social Security Robs Americans of Greater Income Before, During Retirement

    3 Examples of How Social Security Robs Americans of Greater Income Before, During Retirement

    Social Security takes a whopping 12.4 percent of American workers’ paychecks, but a new backgrounder by The Heritage Foundation shows that workers are getting a bad deal from the program.

    Despite its popularity, Social Security typically provides very low—and in many cases, negative—rates of return.

    Although the program provided high returns and windfall benefits to its earliest recipients, Social Security is no longer a good deal for workers.

    The Heritage Foundation analysis shows that younger workers—even low-wage ones—would receive at least three times greater rates of return from private savings than Social Security will provide.

    To assess Social Security’s so-called “rate of return,” Heritage’s analysis compares what workers would receive if their payroll taxes were invested in personal accounts compared with what Social Security will provide under two scenarios: 1) current law, with roughly 20 percent benefit cuts beginning around 2034; and 2) a scenario whereby payroll taxes rise immediately to a level necessary to pay the program’s prescribed benefits.

    Read More...
  • Meet a Government Entity That's in Worse Shape Than Social Security

    Meet a Government Entity That’s in Worse Shape Than Social Security

    Social Security is on track to run out of money by 2034, at which point the program will be able to pay only about 79 percent of its scheduled benefits.

    The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation—a government entity that insures private pension plans—will run out of funds almost a decade earlier, in 2025, and will be able to pay only about 10 percent of its scheduled benefits.

    The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation pays benefits if private pensions go belly up, but it is not a taxpayer-financed entity. So when it runs out of assets, it will be able to pay only as much in benefits as it takes in through premium revenues—likely 10 percent or less of insured benefits.

    Read More...
  • Why Using Social Security for Paid Family Leave Is a Bad Idea

    Why Using Social Security for Paid Family Leave Is a Bad Idea

    This year marks the first time in more than a quarter-century that Social Security has had to dip into its trust fund balance.

    Since its theoretical trust fund is really just a bunch of IOUs, that means the government will have to issue $85 billion in publicly held debt this year—and $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years—in order to maintain scheduled benefits.

    As such, now is not the time to add a new entitlement to Social Security, adding to short-term deficits and expanding benefit payments.

    Yet that’s what a new proposal for paid family leave would do—increase Social Security’s scope and raise its costs.

    Read More...