Brief Analyses

Restricted to two letter-size pages, a Brief Analysis summarizes some aspect or aspects of a public policy issue, presenting points for consideration in policy debates or responding to points that have been raised during these debates.

Guide to Regulatory Reform: The Compensation for Takings Rule

The "takings clause" of the Fifth Amendment is unequivocal: "...nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation." Unfortunately, this component of our Bill of Rights is re…

Guide to Regulatory Reform: The Federalism Rule

Government is likely to work better when it is as close as possible to the governed. Thus, while national defense requires coordination by the central government, drainage ditch decisions do not. This…

Guide to Regulatory Reform: The Cost-Benefit Rule

Almost all business decisions involve some measures of costs versus benefits. Yet many governmental decisions are taken without adequate consideration of either. That is one reason the private sector…

Raising the Earnings Limit

The 42 million-plus Americans age 60 and over represent a vast store of human capital, rich in talent and ability. Yet this valuable resource is increasingly wasted.  If elderly workers under the age…

Dynamic Scoring: A Primer

Changes in tax rates affect how hard and long people work and how much they save and invest. But the official revenue-estimating arms of government ignore this fact in making their calculations.  They…

The Marriage Penalty

Many married couples pay more taxes than they would if they were unmarried. This penalty can amount to several thousand dollars per year even for moderate-income families. President Clinton's tax incr…

Taxing the Elderly

Social Security benefits were entirely free of taxes until 1983, when Congress voted to tax 50 percent of benefits above a certain income level. President Clinton raised this to 85 percent in 1993. Th…

Welfare Reform That Really Works

Public opinion polls show most people recognize that the current welfare system has utterly failed and are thoroughly disgusted with it.  They would overwhelmingly support radical reform including spe…