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Issues


At e21, we use a broad definition of “economic policy.” Our analysis covers both macro and micro issues across a variety of policy areas, including the budget, national debt, financial markets, banking, housing, health care, infrastructure, and entitlements – just to name a few.

Budget

New Purple Line Study Fails Economics 101

The new Purple Line study has no economically reliable content. It uses the wrong economic concepts of measuring the value of a public project.  It uses survey rather than actual data.  Its survey technique is not representative of Maryland’s population.  The conclusions it reaches defy economic logic.  The state of Maryland and the federal government cannot reasonable rely on this study for any purpose.

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Costs of Merging Social Security Retirement and Disability Funds

Merging the OASI and DI trust funds would be a significant departure from lawmakers’ previous promises that the establishment of disability benefits within Social Security would not reduce the funds available for paying retirement benefits. It could also have the adverse effects of further delaying necessary financial repairs, worsening operational opacity and weakening commitment to the self-financing principle. 

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Employment

Does the U.S. Have Less Economic Mobility? Part 2

Nothing in the Corak, Linduist, and Mazumder paper suggests that U.S. and Swedish levels of mobility differ meaningfully from each other. That still leaves the 2006 paper by Jantti and his coauthors, which found that the U.S. had lower relative mobility—at least for sons starting out at the bottom—than Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the U.K. I’ll explain why this paper’s conclusion is also incorrect and explore some additional research comparing the U.S. to other countries in my final installment.

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Does the U.S. Have Less Economic Mobility?

The new evidence does not suggest that the U.S. has especially high economic mobility, but it does indicate that America is not the international laggard that has been portrayed by earlier studies. In this multi-part series, I will lay out the case for this surprising conclusion. In this installment, I review how the old consensus developed and discuss the methodological details necessary for understanding why the early mobility research gave the wrong impression. 

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Energy

Time to Lift the Ban on Crude Oil Exports

This week Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said she would push this year for legislation to end the United States’ export ban on crude oil. “We shouldn’t lift sanctions on Iranian oil while keeping sanctions on American oil,” she said. “It makes no sense.” Murkowski is correct—repealing the ban is long overdue.

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New Congress Breaks into Action With Smart Bills

In describing the 114th Congress’ first 100 days, MarketWatch columnist Rex Nutting uses a four-letter word, dumb, no less than nine times. But maybe Congress’ “five dumbest things” make sense after all. Passing a budget, rolling back taxes, approving Keystone XL and reining in an overreaching agency might increase Congress’ popularity with voters back home.

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Finance

New Purple Line Study Fails Economics 101

The new Purple Line study has no economically reliable content. It uses the wrong economic concepts of measuring the value of a public project.  It uses survey rather than actual data.  Its survey technique is not representative of Maryland’s population.  The conclusions it reaches defy economic logic.  The state of Maryland and the federal government cannot reasonable rely on this study for any purpose.

Read more...
Technology Brings Behavioral Solutions to Americans' Financia

Americans are not saving enough. This is problematic because there are limited options for people who run into short-term financial problems, and government-funded retirement programs are on an unsustainable path. While there may seem to be no hope to better prepare Americans for their future financial needs, the findings of behavioral economists hint at one way out of America's savings crisis.

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Healthcare

Costs of Merging Social Security Retirement and Disability Funds

Merging the OASI and DI trust funds would be a significant departure from lawmakers’ previous promises that the establishment of disability benefits within Social Security would not reduce the funds available for paying retirement benefits. It could also have the adverse effects of further delaying necessary financial repairs, worsening operational opacity and weakening commitment to the self-financing principle. 

Read more...
Gaming the Scenarios in King v. Burwell

Earlier this year the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in King v. Burwell, a case critical to the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or so-called Obamacare).  

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Regulation

Time to Lift the Ban on Crude Oil Exports

This week Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said she would push this year for legislation to end the United States’ export ban on crude oil. “We shouldn’t lift sanctions on Iranian oil while keeping sanctions on American oil,” she said. “It makes no sense.” Murkowski is correct—repealing the ban is long overdue.

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Rand Paul Heads to the Races

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul will announce the official launch of his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in Louisville today. In a video released on Monday, Paul promised, “On April 7, a different kind of Republican will take on Washington.” But how different is Paul from the other likely Republican candidates? Is he really, as Time Magazine claimed, “The Most Interesting Man in Politics”?

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