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Research Archive

April 29, 2024

New “Scorecard” Report Promotes Better Use of Data to Prevent Unemployment Fraud

Criminals inflicted unprecedented fraud on taxpayer benefits during the pandemic, and some of the most abused programs were those that provided temporary federal unemployment benefits. As we documented in a January 2024 report (Pandemic Unemployment Fraud in Context: Causes, Costs, and Solutions), official government tallies of improper payments and fraud stretch toward $200 billion, while unofficial estimates…

April 26, 2024

Washington, District of Benefit Cliffs

As the welfare state expands while policymakers struggle to contain its costs, one unintended result is the creation of significant benefit cliffs. A little-noticed September 2023 report authored by Elias Ilin and Alvaro Sanchez of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta (“Mitigating Benefits Cliffs for Low-Income Families: District of Columbia Career Mobility Action Plan as a Case Study”) explains…

April 19, 2024

The New Deal’s Failed Kibbutz in the Desert

At the height of the New Deal, with the Social Security Act, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Civilian Conservation Corps already enacted, the Roosevelt Administration’s Farm Security Administration (FSA), veered from reform to the outright radical:  the establishment of an American version of a Soviet collective farm. The largest of nine such projects…

April 17, 2024

Fiscal Sanity Please, Senators

The Wyden-Smith tax bill, which combines an expanded child tax credit (CTC) with a variety of business tax breaks, has been in limbo in the Senate for the past three months. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has promised to bring up the bill if there’s enough support, but so far, these votes have not been forthcoming…

April 10, 2024

The Political Landmines Buried in the Latest Jobs Report

CNN on Friday dubbed the latest monthly jobs report a “blowout,” pointing to 303,000 net new jobs created in March. President Joe Biden immediately claimed credit, saying the report “marks a milestone in America’s comeback,” as it indicates a total of “15 million jobs created since I took office.” Meanwhile, the latest data confirm that most…

April 10, 2024

Biden Irresponsibly Encourages Borrowers to Enroll in SAVE Plan

President Biden is hard at work encouraging student borrowers to enroll in his new SAVE Plan, a de facto loan forgiveness program that faces increasing legal scrutiny. 11 states, led by Kansas, filed a lawsuit. Just recently, Missouri and six other states announced that they would also sue the Biden Administration, bringing the total to 18 states. He…

April 9, 2024

Maddow Spreads Misinformation on Student Loan Cancellation

Last night, progressive television pundit Rachel Maddow took jabs at Republicans concerned with President Biden’s latest effort to cancel student debt. But her jabs were actually sucker punches. She took advantage of the public’s being uninformed on the issue of student debt to spread misinformation, aimed at scoring partisan points and defending Biden’s indefensible vote-buying…

April 9, 2024

The Child Tax Credit: My Long-Read Q&A with Kevin Corinth

The Child Tax Credit is a tax benefit available to many American families for the purpose of reducing their federal income tax liability. It’s specifically designed to help offset the cost of raising children. The CTC of today, however, differs starkly from its pre-pandemic structure. Many economists, including Kevin Corinth, think that the post-pandemic changes were a step…

April 9, 2024

Biden Knows Student Loan Cancellation Is a Bad Idea

This morning, President Biden announced new details about the latest effort to cancel student debt that he says will reduce balances or completely cancel student debt for over 30 million Americans. First, he plans to cancel up to $20,000 of accumulated unpaid interest, regardless of the borrowers’ income. Second, the administration plans to automatically cancel debt for…

April 5, 2024

What’s Wrong with the US Economy? Anything?

Economists were expecting 200,000 net new jobs added in March. Instead it was 50 percent more. Unexpected strength, but maybe not so unexpected, really, for an economy that continues to deliver surprise after surprise. It’s been a great run lately for economic optimists: real wage gains, faster labor productivity, and gobs of jobs. A tight summary…