Daily Policy Digest
Tax and Spending Issues
|Great Moments in Government Waste, Fraud and Abuse
Donald Trump’s proposed "skinny budget" was released last week. Of course, the outrage and howls of indignation have begun. Already, there are Twitter hashtags referencing cuts to programs for the poor (#Mealsonwheels is trending) and "hair on fire" claims that people and puppies will die because of EPA cuts, education cuts, public television cuts, and of course, the expansion of defense spending, writes NCPA Senior Fellow Pamela Villarreal...
|The Economic Effects of Repealing the Affordable Care Act
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently analyzed the effect of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act on federal revenues and the uninsured. There was much hype about their conclusions that 24 million people would be added to the ranks of the uninsured (although about 14 million of those would choose not to buy insurance because they would no longer be forced to). Also, federal deficits would fall by $337 billion over 10 years. However, the CBO did not measure the economic effects of repealing some of the most burdensome aspects of Obamacare, which would create hundreds of thousands of jobs and increase Americans' personal incomes, according to an NCPA analysis by Dr. David Tuerck, President of Beacon Hill Institute and Paul Bachman, Director of Research...
|Repealing the ACA Would Bring Economic Growth
The recent CBO analysis of repealing the Affordable Care Act focused on the number of people who become "uninsured" because they would no longer be forced to purchase insurance. What they didn't show, however, was how the Affordable Care Act has been a burden to job creation, GDP growth and personal income growth. The NCPA's analysis finds that repealing the burdensome taxes that were imposed as a result of the ACA would improve the national economy.
|Tax Reform and the Border-adjusted Tax
Replacing the corporate income tax with a cash-flow business tax would increase the aftertax return to capital investment, encouraging economic growth. In contrast, border-adjusting the tax does not appear to accomplish the purpose its proponents seek, while penalizing exports from some countries (and favoring others) and raising prices for consumers, writes Pamela Villarreal and Joe Barnett...
|Bloomberg-funded Soda Tax Study Does Not Answer the Relevant Questions
A new study on the effect of a countrywide soda tax in Mexico finds that the tax on sugary sodas and fruit drinks reduced consumption by consumers, particularly lower-income households. However, for proponents who want to use soda taxes as a tool to curb obesity, the study proves nothing, writes NCPA Senior Fellow Pamela Villarreal...
|Social Security Disability Insurance Program is "High Risk," Says GAO
Every two years the Government Accountability Office (GAO) identifies and reports on government operations that are "high risk" -- meaning vulnerable to fraud, waste, abuse, mismanagement and inefficiency. The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program has been identified by the GAO as high risk since 2003. According to their 2017 report, some recommended goals have been "partially met," but more needs to be done, writes NCPA Senior Fellow Pam Villarreal...
|Soda Taxes: Regressive and Unnecessary
A soda tax internalizes the negative externalities of market activities -- in this case the "public" health costs of obesity and other diseases -- by assessing at least a portion of these costs to consumers or soft drink manufacturers. Soda taxes are also flat taxes, thus regressive in nature, negatively impacting lower-income consumers, writes NCPA Senior Fellow Thomas Hemphill...
|Reforming the Social Security Appeals Process
About 12 million people receive Social Security Disability benefits, but there are an additional 900,000 claims that are awaiting decisions. Most claims are initially denied when applying for benefits, but the appeals process at the hearing level where a claimant has the opportunity to go before an administrative law judge (ALJ) is inefficient and time-consuming. Wait times for hearings vary significantly by geographic location. For example:
|The Intergenerational Effects of the Trump Tax Plan
Donald Trump's tax plan will create three million new jobs and 5 percent economic growth in the first year alone, according to an analysis using the NCPA-DCGE dynamic model. But the Trump plan also increases the federal deficit over time, writes NCPA Senior Fellow Pamela Villarreal...
|Would Lifting the Taxable Earnings Cap Make Social Security More Solvent?
The annual Social Security Trustees report was quietly released in June, but it looked bleak. The Social Security program (including retirement benefits, Disability and Supplemental Security Income) is facing an $11.4 trillion unfunded liability over the next 75 years. The liability increases to $32 trillion into the indefinite future, writes NCPA Senior Fellow Pam Villarreal...