Opinion

The Great Debate

Jump-start U.S. growth through immigration

 Diana Furchtgott-Roth– Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. —

When people think of what to do to help the U.S. economic recovery, admitting more immigrants into America isn’t what usually comes to mind. But a new study by Arlene Holen, an economist and senior fellow with the Technology Policy Institute, could contribute to resolving the current economic crisis.

The study finds that letting in more highly-skilled immigrants would generate more tax revenue, and over time raise labor earnings and national income. (Click here for the study in PDF format.)

Coincidentally, this week the Wall Street Journal reported that bankers are quitting due to onerous conditions imposed by the federal government on banks receiving public funds. Yet the new economic stimulus bill specifically makes it harder for banks to hire foreign workers, thereby limiting the flow of talent to a troubled industry.

If Congress had not imposed a tight lid on green cards, according to Ms. Holen, America in 2008 might have had up to 300,000 more highly educated engineers and graduate students performing path breaking research. They would have added about $23 billion to GDP, and the federal government would have gained about $5 billion more in tax revenues.

Higher taxes hit working wives

 Diana Furchtgott-Roth– Diana Furchtgott-Roth is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor.  The views expressed are her own. —

Marriage is hard enough without the tax system making it even harder.

Look at Jeanne’s upcoming wedding to Rick.  Rick owns a plumbing firm and has taxable income of $160,000, and Jeanne’s taxable income as a teacher is $50,000.  Unmarried, he is in the 28 percent bracket and she is in the 25 percent bracket.  When they get married, they will be taxed at 33 percent — rising to 36 percent in 2011 if President Obama’s proposed tax hikes take effect.

By raising taxes on upper-income Americans, Congress would worsen our tax system’s marriage penalty on dual-income married couples, and Jeanne and Rick would pay even more tax married than single.

The challenge of health insurance reform

Diana Furchtgott-Roth–Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. The views expressed are her own. –

Today President Obama submits his budget outline to Congress, and, with it, a $634 billion fund for health care drawn from higher individual and small business taxes and lower reimbursements to medical providers.

Reform of our health care system is long overdue.  If you’re unemployed, or work for a small business that offers no health plan, or someone in your family has an existing illness known as a “pre-existing condition,” your main concern might be how to get health insurance.

Sickness and death are no way to regulate food

 Diana Furchtgott-Roth– Diana Furchtgott-Roth is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor. The views expressed are her own. —

The discovery of the salmonella-tainted peanut butter produced and sold by the Peanut Corporation of America at one of its plants, at Blakely, GA, raises a vital question for all Americans.  Does the Food and Drug Administration have the resources to ensure the safety of America’s domestic and imported food supply?

The Agriculture Department does a good job of inspecting animal-based products such as meat, poultry, and dairy, but the remaining part of the food supply that falls under the jurisdiction of the FDA is a different kettle of fish.  The FDA is failing to oversee adequately its share of food and cannot guarantee the safety of foreign food imports.

Hold your wallet — here is TARP 2

 Diana Furchtgott-Roth– Diana Furchtgott-Roth is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor. The views expressed are her own. –

This week Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner unveiled a financial stabilization plan that could cost $2 trillion, in addition to the $790 billion that Congress plans to spend on economic stabilization. All this without any consultation with Congress.

That’s financial stability?

The Dow Jones Industrial average fell almost 400 points Tuesday on the news, and the Asian equity markets followed. This steep decline is symptomatic of the unease that permeates financial markets.

How Congress is harming the economy

 Diana Furchtgott-Roth– Diana Furchtgott-Roth, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor. The views expressed are her own. –

At the very time that the Senate is debating whether to spend $800 billion or $900 billion to stimulate the economy, the government is considering other legislative and regulatory initiatives that would impede economic recovery.

Growing Protectionism

By inserting protectionist provisions that require some goods financed by the stimulus bill to be made in America, Congress is risking a trade war with important trading partners in Europe and Asia. A trade war would reduce exports, potentially destroying millions of American jobs.

Uncle Sam pays for middle-class health care

 Diana Furchtgott-Roth– Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. –

On January 29, the U.S. Senate passed the reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), originally enacted in 1997 as an addition to Medicaid. It would have expired on March 31, potentially leaving over 7 million children without health insurance.

The bill passed 66 votes to 32, with several Republicans joining Democrats to pass the bill. The Republican leadership wanted to expand SCHIP spending by $5 billion over five years, an annual increase of 20 percent. In contrast, congressional Democrats succeeded in increasing SCHIP by $32 to $39 billion over five years, according to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office, almost tripling the program by 2013.

First 100 Days: The mirage of pay equity

Diana Furchtgott-Roth-Debate– Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. The views expressed are her own. –

President Obama takes office facing the challenge of high expectations—of ending the recession, fixing the nation’s financial and housing problems, and withdrawing combat troops from Iraq within 16 months.

In addition, feminists expect him to end inequality in pay between men and women.

Saving millions from spectrum sales

Diana Furchtgott-Roth-Debate– Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. Any views expressed are her own. —

As President-elect Obama and his chief performance officer Nancy Killefer, formerly of McKinsey & Co., ponder how to make government more efficient, they could cast an eye on almost any federal agency and find savings for the American taxpayer.

One example is the Federal Communications Commission, which is failing to earn hundreds of millions of dollars annually for the taxpayers by undercharging for the private use of parts of the radio spectrum, notably the frequencies used for the links between cell phone towers and the integrated telephone network.

The $300 billion tax cut: Let’s do it right

Diana Furchtgott-Roth – Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. The views expressed are her own. –

President-elect Obama announced on January 8 that he is planning to use $300 billion of his $700 billion two-year stimulus package for tax cuts—but we should not celebrate too soon. Obama is proposing a series of temporary tax cuts, not permanent cuts that would hasten economic recovery.

For two years only, Obama wants to give a tax cut of $500 a year to individuals and $1,000 a year to families, at a cost of about $145 billion over the two years.  Rather than mail out U.S. Treasury checks, as was done last spring in an effort to ward off a recession, he would lower withholding rates so that the tax cut would be spread over the year.

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