04/20/2018

News

Working on Food Stamps

House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway on Thursday will introduce a farm bill, though food stamps absorb much of the cost. More than 40 million Americans are in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the official name for food stamps, and the figure is up from about 17 million in 2000. The size of the benefits has […]

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Yes, Entitlements Are Driving the Long-Term Debt

Social Security and Medicare costs are rapidly rising due to the retirement of 74 million baby boomers into a system that already runs substantial per-person deficits. Today’s typical retiring couple has paid $140,000 into Medicare and will receive $420,000 in benefits (both adjusted into net present values). Most Social Security recipients also come out ahead. […]

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A debt crisis is coming. But don’t blame entitlements.

A group of distinguished economists from the Hoover Institution, a public-policy think tank at Stanford University, identifies a serious problem. The federal budget deficit is on track to exceed $1 trillion next year and get worse over time. Eventually, ever-rising debt and deficits will cause interest rates to rise, and the portion of tax revenue […]

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A debt crisis is on the horizon

Unless Congress acts to reduce federal budget deficits, the outstanding public debt will reach $20 trillion a scant five years from now, up from its current level of $15 trillion. That amounts to almost a quarter of million dollars for a family of four, more than twice the median household wealth. . . .As is […]

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Government Spending: It’s Children vs. Grandparents

To those paying attention, the recent strikes for higher teachers’ pay in West Virginia and Oklahoma are a harbinger of things to come. You can attribute the strikes to the stinginess of the states’ political leaders. After all, average annual teachers’ salaries in these states ranked respectively 49th lowest (Oklahoma at $45,276) and 48th lowest […]

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An Electric Car Revolution Will Require Perpetual Subsidies

Adding all of these observations together, it is difficult to see BEVs displacing more than 10% of LDV fuel consumption (2% of oil consumption) without perpetual subsidies. Displacing 10% of oil consumption may be possible at a substantial subsidy cost, but pushing beyond that point really sounds increasingly wasteful. As mentioned earlier, substantially larger cuts […]

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CalPERS may join union foes of 401(k) option

A bill by state Sen. Steven Glazer, D-Orinda, giving new state workers the option new University of California workers received two years ago, a 401(k)-style plan rather than a pension, is opposed by unions and soon may be opposed by CalPERS. More than a third of eligible new UC employees have chosen a 401(k)-style plan. […]

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Do What Works to Help Welfare Recipients Work

In forthcoming research, my colleagues and I find that minimum wages are counterproductive, leading to higher poverty and an increased reliance on public assistance in disadvantaged neighborhoods. The EITC, in contrast, reduces poverty and dependence on public assistance, with one caveat: It may be less effective in severely disadvantaged neighborhoods where there is insufficient labor […]

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Where the New School Money Really Goes

School funding in California is at record levels: But school districts are cutting staff and holding down raises. That’s largely because they are subsidizing retirees at the expense of active employees. Eg, San Francisco Unified School District will spend >$40 million this year to subsidize health care spending by retirees and divert nearly $100 million […]

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Longer-Run Effects of Anit-Poverty Policies on Disadvantaged Neighborhoods

We estimate the longer-run effects of minimum wages, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and welfare (and welfare reform) on key economic indicators of economic self-sufficiency in disadvantaged neighborhoods. We find some evidence that higher minimum wages lead, in the longer run, to increases in poverty and the share of families on public assistance. In contrast, […]

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Costly Subsidies for the Rich

In his study, Winegarden examines what local, state, and federal governments are spending on subsidies for electric car purchases and manufacturing, and the installation of charging stations. According to his research, 79 percent of electric vehicle plug-in tax credits were claimed by households with adjusted gross incomes of greater than $100,000 per year. Households with […]

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Politics may defeat common sense on bonds

When governments seek permission to borrow money through bonds, telling voters how much and for how long taxes will be increased to repay those loans is just common sense. In fact, the Legislature last year passed such a law, requiring bond measures or taxes proposed by local governments or school districts to state “the amount […]

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California Medicaid expansion enrolled hundreds of thousands of ineligible people, federal report finds

California signed up an estimated 450,000 people under Medicaid expansion who may not have been eligible for coverage, according to a report by the U.S. Health and Human Services Department’s chief watchdog. In a Feb. 21 report, the HHS inspector general estimated that California spent $738.2 million on 366,078 expansion beneficiaries who were ineligible. It […]

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Some cities outsource their highest pension costs

Dozens of cities, many of them formed in recent decades, do not directly pay police and firefighter pension rates. They get their safety services though contracts with county sheriff departments and large fire districts. An example is Lake Forest, a community in Orange County formerly known as El Toro, which incorporated in 1991 and had […]

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Sales tax increase is only way Chula Vista can hire more cops, mayor says

Raising Chula Vista’s sales tax is the only way the city can afford to hire more cops and firefighters, Mayor Mary Salas said during a public forum Thursday evening. Voters will have a chance to approve or reject a half-cent sales tax increase in June’s election. The money will go toward the general fund, but […]

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