Saving the Surplus

A surplus is political manna, enabling politicians to fund their favorite programs.  The fundamental choice is between using the Social Security surpluses to reduce the federal debt and using them to prepay future Social Security benefits. All other policy choices derive from this choice. Thus, the bulk of our analysis deals with the choice between retiring debt and prepaying future benefits.

NCPA'S Bartlett Available to Comment on Fed Decision, Tax Cuts

With Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan poised to this afternoon to enact new Fed policy in the wake of recession forecasts, Bruce Bartlett, senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis, can provide important insight and analysis of all aspects of federal economic and tax policy.

Social Security and Education

This paper considers Social Security as an investment for different classes of workers based on their level of education. Why education, rather than income? Everyone's income will vary a lot over the course of a 40- to 45-year work life. As a result, level of education is a better predictor of expected Social Security taxes and benefits than current wages.

Focus Point – Texas Deregulation

Yesterday I talked about California's disastrous attempt to deregulate electricity – by letting environmentalists stop the building of new plants, then forcing power companies to buy at market rates while selling to customers whose rates had been frozen.

Focus Point – The Electoral College

In the 1960 World Series, New York outhit Pittsburgh 91 to 60, and outscored them 55 to 27. But Pittsburgh was the World Champion because it won four games to three. Now, imagine how different baseball would be if the series was decided by the most runs scored, or the most base hits.

Integrity Is Back

There are a great many things we do not yet know about President Bush: how he will react under the pressure of an international crisis, whether he will be forceful in rejecting the malevolent hyperbole of the Ted Kennedy left. He is a quiet man, seemingly confident within and with a brief, serious style. But we do not yet know just how he will govern.

Focus Point – A Century of Prices

The Economist ran one of those end-of-the-century features that caught my eye. It concerned the mysteries of the market, the way prices of things rose and fell during the 20th century.

Focus Point – Pardoning Clinton

Regarding the proposed Bush pardon of Bill Clinton for his many crimes in office, my initial reaction was heck, no. First, it's not Bush's business. Second, Clinton has been found guilty of perjury by a court.

Focus Point – Democracy by Lot

John McCain is back in the fight, pushing what he calls campaign finance reform and what I call limiting free speech. So before he puts an end to the First Amendment, let me offer a modest proposal.

Focus Point – The Burden of Bad Ideas

You know when a conservative book gets favorable reviews from the New York Times, the Washington Post, and former Colorado governor Richard Lamm, a self-proclaimed member of the liberal democratic tradition, that somebody's doing something right.

The Banana Republic of California

California is running out of electricity. Lights must be dimmed, thermostats turned down, holiday lights extinguished. Intel announces the unreliability of electric power will cause it to build new manufacturing facilities in other states. Newspaper headlines warn: "California Prepares for Rolling Blackouts."

Bush Should Learn From Dos and Don'ts From Clinton

As the man from Hope hands over the keys to the Oval office and every media outlet airs a Clinton retrospective, President Bush should quickly reflect on the Clinton era and learn the lessons of what to do and what not to do as president that his eight years have provided.

Focus Point – Thinking Big On Vouchers

Some pundits warn George W. Bush that pushing school choice will cost him bipartisan support. But I was intruiged by an argument put forth recently by Matthew Miller of The Manhattan Institute, namely, that Bush's voucher plan isn't bold enough.