Ten Missed Economic Opportunities In 2013

January 3, 2014

Diana Furchtgott-Roth, a senior fellow and director of Economics21 at the Manhattan Institute, lists 10 economic opportunities the United States missed in 2013. If the United States could implement even some of these in 2014, it could substantially increase its gross domestic product growth rate, enriching Americans and lowering the unemployment rate, says Furchtgott-Roth.

  • Boosting Labor Force Participation.
  • Overhaul ObamaCare. Changing the law by regulation poses serious constitutional questions, especially in the waiver of the individual mandate, because some are treated differently from others. In 2014, more people will likely be uninsured than in 2014.
  • An Earlier Taper. The Federal Open Market Committee made a small step in the right direction earlier this month by opting to start slowly tapering quantitative easing from $85 billion to $75 billion a month. However, the decision should have been made earlier and the reduction in Fed purchases needs to be increased. The Fed's accommodative monetary policies have not been working and need to be reevaluated.
  • Pension Reform. In 2012, the total amount of public pension unfunded liabilities in the United States was $4.4 trillion, with outstanding state and local municipal debt at nearly $3 trillion, according to a report by the Republican staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance. Little was done in 2013 to shore up pension funds. Reasonable reforms include raising retirement ages, converting defined benefit plans to defined contribution plans, and structuring out different plans for new government employees.
  • Tax Reform.
  • Immigration Reform.
  • Farm Bill Reform.
  • Entitlement Reform. In 2013, the national debt surpassed $17 trillion for the first time, driven by record federal spending. Over 60 percent of federal spending is entitlement programs. Every passing day in which entitlement reform is not considered by Congress is a missed opportunity to fix our budget problems.
  • Lost Energy Boom. Since 2008, the amount of federal land leased for mineral rights has dropped by over 20 percent. Additionally, federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing threatens to hinder collection of one of the cleanest and most efficient ways to provide energy. In 2014, the states should be given more control over their energy resources.
  • Approve the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Source: Diana Furchtgott-Roth, "Ten Missed Economic Opportunities in 2013," Real Clear Market, December 31, 2013.

 

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