The Developed World's Demographic Transition

The entire developed world stands at the fore of a phenomenal demographic transition. Over the next 30 years, the number of elderly in the U.S., the EU, and Japan will more than double. At the same time, the number of workers available to pay the elderly their government-guaranteed pension and health care benefits will rise by less than 10 percent. With no change in policy, paying the elderly their promised benefits will, it appears, require a doubling or more of payroll taxes.

How Large Is the Federal Government's Debt?

Social Security and Medicare have made future promises far in excess of tax revenues that will be collected at current tax rates. The difference between what has been promised to current and future generations and what will be collected from taxes dedicated to fund these programs is an "unfunded liability."

Missteps on natural gas

With negotiations between House and Senate conferees winding down, the details of the new National Energy Policy are becoming clear. Among the points of negotiation was a crucial question, critical to continued U.S. economic progress. Where will the United States get future natural gas supplies?

Good Buy, Columbus?

Section II of the Ohio Constitution authorizes citizens of the state to draft legislative proposals–called initiated statutes–and with the signatures of 3% of the total vote cast in the last gubernatorial election submit them to the state Legislature for action. If the Legislature refuses to act, or votes the initiated statute down, similar signatures on a second petition will put the proposed statute on the ballot in the next general election.

Criticism Of HSAs Unfounded

Recent criticism of House-passed Medicare reform legislation championed by House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-CA) has misrepresented Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and the scholarly research relating to the accounts.

Taxing Forests to Death

Proponents of the estate tax claim it affects only the very rich. However, forest owners, many of whom are cash-poor, are more likely to incur the estate tax than the general population. Suburban growth has caused timber prices to rise; thus substantial increases in the value of forest acreage are not unusual. This makes it difficult for forest owners to avoid the estate tax and ensure their acreage remains intact for their heirs.

Estate tax noisemakers

Of all the tax cuts enacted during the Bush administration, none has been more controversial than repeal of the estate tax. Even though it represents only a very small part of the total revenue loss from the 2001 and 2003 tax bills – and isn't really repealed, anyway, since it comes back in 2011 after disappearing for just one year – left-wing activists have focused inordinate attention on the estate tax. They are still hoping to prevent its permanent repeal and are working overtime to fight the effort in Congress.

How Not to Negotiate

To put it mildly, the current Medicare debate is not the conservative movement’s finest hour. Not only are a Republican president and Congress doing everything they can to create an explosive new entitlement, but key conservative groups are attacking one of few genuine free-market reforms before the House-Senate conference committee. These conservatives have managed a trifecta: a policy, tactical, and political blunder – all before the relevant negotiations have begun.

Oil from refuge would enhance security

Oil, the dominant source of energy for transportation, is more than a fuel source, however. Petroleum is a feedstock for plastics, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, lubricants and construction materials. This means that if we wish to continue our standard of living, we will need oil well into this century.

Is clean-air plan a step back? – NO

Using a coal-fired power plant in Monroe , Mich. , as a backdrop, President Bush recently touted his plan to speed up the modernization of older utilities by replacing decaying and polluting equipment with newer, cleaner and more fuel-efficient technology.

Uninsured by Choice: Update

The Census Bureau recently reported that the number of Americans without health insurance rose in 2002 to around 43.6 million, up from 38.7 million in 2000 but below the record 44.3 million who were uninsured in 1998. With health care costs increasing, many public health advocates are worried that this number might rise further. Why do more than 43 million Americans lack health insurance? Who are they?

What Causes Sprawl?

Urban sprawl is generally defined as low-density residential and commercial development on previously undeveloped land. Those who oppose sprawl seek to preserve open space by concentrating future construction in already developed areas.

Have employees control health care spending

Personal health accounts are the future of health insurance. Like other forms of employer-sponsored health coverage, employers make deposits into accounts for employees, but they also purchase a low-cost, catastrophic (major medical) health insurance with a high deductible for the employee.

Supply-side recognizance

One of the rare civil criticisms I got came from my friends at TAPPED, the Web log of the liberal American Prospect magazine. Their point is that Mr. Krugman was justified in his attack because supply-siders have no academic allies, despite a large number of conservative economics professors. "Supply-side ideas simply won't stand up under scrutiny," TAPPED wrote.