Jan 14, 2011

A Federal Carrot and Stick to Ease the Public Pension Crisis

The growing crisis of public-sector employee pension liabilities is a complex web of legal loopholes, questionable funding formulas and benefit levels that threaten to bankrupt state and local governments across the country. Many states are already at an endangered level, and it is now estimated that more than half of the state pension plans will run out of funds entirely within the next 20 years. California has the highest unfunded pension liability in the country at nearly $60 billion. How ...

  • Wasteful Spending
Dec 6, 2010

Less Privacy, No Added Security

The role that government regulation plays in our daily lives is ever increasing, but it grew dramatically over the Thanksgiving holiday. Just before the travel season started, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced enhanced — and arguably invasive — procedures for screening ticketed passengers at all U.S. airports. With the new regulations, TSA claims the authority to pat down our private areas and reach inside our waistbands, or ask us to stand still for ...

  • Civil Liberties
Nov 27, 2010

Reclaiming the Right to Oversight

In his January 1989 farewell address to the nation, President Reagan warned, “Man is not free unless government is limited. … There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.” Earlier this month, we saw countless Americans heed Mr. Reagan’s warning, turning out in droves to cast their vote in defense of liberty. The new majority in Congress certainly has its work cut out to undo the big-government ...

  • Team Oversight
Oct 10, 2010

How Oversight Should Work

Earlier this year, the Congressional Research Service released a report underscoring the important function that congressional oversight plays in working with the executive branch: "A fundamental objective of congressional oversight is to hold executive officials accountable for the implementation of delegated authority. This objective is especially important given the huge expansion of executive influence in the modern era." As we move closer to the November midterm elections, a ...

  • Team Oversight
Oct 7, 2010

White House Records in the Facebook Era

Advances in technology have brought new transparency to our democracy. Americans can interact with federal officials in real time. Citizens use Twitter and Facebook to have unfiltered conversations with their elected representatives — anytime and anywhere. These innovations in direct digital democracy have increased government’s openness and accountability and lowered the barriers between public servants and the people they serve. The challenge for policymakers is to ensure that these ...

  • Open Government
Oct 6, 2010

Time for a Hiring Freeze

While millions of Americans struggle to find work, the federal civilian workforce has prospered. Federal employees’ salaries and benefits have spiked over the past decade. In fact, their compensation advantage over workers in the private sector has grown since 2000 from about $24,000 to almost $51,000. Not even the recession has slowed this trend. Unemployment remains dangerously high, and the number of poor is at its highest level since 1959. But as the private sector has lost 7.7 million ...

  • Wasteful Spending
Sep 30, 2010

Creating Jobs: Regulatory Tsunami Impeding Economic Growth

One of the greatest myths in American politics is that one person can create jobs. Sure, when the economy is strong, the person whose watch it is gets the credit. When the economy is struggling, they get the blame. But let’s be clear and honest, it’s not President Barack Obama who creates jobs. It’s not Harry Reid, the Democratic leader of the Senate. It’s not John Boehner, the Republican leader of the House. Job creation stems from the innovators and entrepreneurs in our ...

  • Regulation & Jobs
Sep 28, 2010

Congress Must Oversee Executive Branch

The unparalleled encroachment of the federal government in the private sector and the lives of individual Americans that began during the Bush Administration and continues in the Obama Administration (see, for example, the Troubled Assets Protection Program, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the rapid growth of the federal workforce, and the health care and financial overhauls) has led to concerns of an oncoming tsunami of opacity, waste, fraud, and abuse.  This trend must be met by ...

  • Team Oversight
Sep 20, 2010

Time for Another Government Bailout

The declining demand for traditional mail delivery service presents a crisis for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). A continued imbalance of costs and revenues means taxpayers could be asked to bail out the independent government agency, which is required by law to be self-funded. As labor contract renegotiations between USPS and its employee unions commence this fall, Congress should reject requests to delay again billions of dollars in future retiree health insurance obligations that USPS is ...

  • Postal Reform
Jul 1, 2010

Political and Economic Suicide

President Lincoln once warned that our greatest danger, "if it ever reaches us, must spring up from among us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot," Lincoln said, "we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men, we must live throughout all time, or die by suicide." Regrettably, that is what many of the Obama administration's policies amount to: political and economic suicide. Economically, the president and the Democrat-controlled Congress have pursued ...

  • Wasteful Spending