America’s Economy Is Slightly Freer This Year–But Still Just 12th Freest in the World

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In Heritage Work

Heritage’s Terry Miller reports some good news in the Wall Street Journal (subscribers only):

A steep, seven-year decline in U.S. economic freedom has come to an end, according to the 2015 Index of Economic Freedom, published Tuesday by the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. The U.S. score in the index experienced a particularly large drop in 2009-10, pushing this country out of the “free” category and into the “mostly free” category. A slight 0.7-point uptick this year has allowed the U.S. to retain its 12th-place ranking. 

The index measures commitment to free enterprise on a scale of 0 to 100 by evaluating policies related to the rule of law, government size, regulatory efficiency and market openness. Restraint in the growth of government spending drove the modest improvement in the U.S. score. 

Since changes in index scores are highly correlated with economic growth rates, the modest rebound for the U.S. raises hopes that the economy can regain some of the momentum lost through the excessive spending, taxes and regulations of the Obama era. The 2010 elections, which returned control of the House of Representatives to Republicans, brought some restraint in government excess, a fact reflected in the U.S. economic freedom trend and the recent uptick in U.S. economic activity. The 2014 election promises even greater restraint in the growth of government spending and regulation.

Get more info directly from the 2015 Index of Economic Freedom. The United States ranked 12th in the world, or “mostly free,” trailing countries like New Zealand, Chile, Ireland and Mauritius. Hong Kong once again ranked the world’s freest economy.

How do you think the United States can improve its ranking in the Index?

Ben Carson Comes to Heritage to Get the Facts

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In Heritage Impact

Ben Carson. Photo: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

Potential GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson visited The Heritage Foundation today for a series of briefings with Heritage policy experts. Carson heard from Heritage experts on critical issues like Obamacare, government spending and debt, immigration, energy, education, foreign policy, national defense, and more.

Carson is among the first of the 2016 presidential hopefuls to come to Heritage for issue guidance. Heritage makes its conservative analysis available to all candidates from any political party.

Read more about Heritage’s recommendations in our 192-page conservative policy agenda, Opportunity for All, Favoritism for None.

Bloomberg News Credits Heritage with Local Right-to-Work Push

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In Heritage Impact

Local governments are increasingly enacting legislation to protect workers’ right not to join a union. Bloomberg’s Bureau of National Affairs reports (subscription only) that The Heritage Foundation has played a big role in this effort:

The local right-to-work strategy was conceived last year after the Heritage Foundation published a policy brief, “Local Governments Can Increase Job Growth and Choices by Passing Right-to-Work Laws.” The brief pointed to a series of legal ambiguities within Section 14(b) and asserted that Congress had not clearly preempted local units of government from enacting their own ordinances governing union security agreements.

The brief encouraged cities and counties to “experiment” with such measures, particularly in states with little appetite for full-fledged right-to-work laws.

Be sure to read the report by Heritage’s James Sherk and Andrew Kloster that started it all.

Do you agree with the push for local right-to-work laws?

Heritage Fuels a Conservative Victory on ‘Dynamic Scoring’

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In Heritage Work

Congress has enacted a major reform to the way it does business that will enable a more accurate analysis of how legislation affects the economy.

Heritage’s Patrick Knudsen explained last spring what this reform, known as “dynamic scoring,” really means: “The principle is that certain changes in fiscal policy, such as reductions in tax rates, can alter both behavior and economic output, which in turn can affect the magnitude of changes in federal tax revenue.”

Had dynamic scoring been used by Congress earlier, lawmakers and the public might have better understood the costs of Obamacare and the benefits of conservative proposals like tax reform.

Heritage experts have given lawmakers the intellectual ammunition to adopt this reform, and spent much of 2014 making the case: Continue Reading »

Heritage Scholar Earns Praise in the UK House of Commons

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In Heritage Impact

A discussion in the British Parliament yesterday included praise for The Heritage Foundation and Heritage expert Luke Coffey:

Sir Gerald Howarth: My right hon. Friend mentions the United States. Some people there might indeed understand the importance of Gibraltar, but does he agree that—as the hon. Member for Ilford South (Mike Gapes) pointed out—there are many in the United States who are unfortunately tempted by the antics of the Spanish Government into believing that this is somehow about colonialism? Will my right hon. Friend pay tribute to our mutual friend Luke Coffey, who is the Margaret Thatcher Fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington? He has done a tremendous amount to raise awareness on Capitol Hill of the importance of Gibraltar not only to the United Kingdom but to NATO and the United States.

Dr  Liam Fox: I am extremely grateful to my hon. friend for his intervention. Luke Coffey is not only a mutual friend of ours; he was also one of my special advisers in the Ministry of Defence. His work at the Heritage Foundation has been instrumental in pushing understanding of the wider issues on Capitol Hill.

Luke Coffey, Heritage’s Margaret Thatcher Fellow, told Gibraltar’s GBC News that the British military base at Gibraltar is critical to America’s national security.

Heritage and Heritage Action to Provide an Agenda for the New Congress

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In Heritage Impact

It’s not enough for conservatives to win elections. We must also govern based on conservative principles.

Working with out sister organization, Heritage Action for America, The Heritage Foundation has developed a principled agenda for the new Congress. Dubbed “Opportunity for All, Favoritism for None,” our detailed, 192-page agenda will be released next week.

The New York Times previews the conference on Monday and Tuesday where this agenda will be unveiled: Continue Reading »

Heritage Study: Obamacare Limits Health Care Competition and Drives Up Costs

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In Heritage Work

Alyene Senger

Alyene Senger

Obamacare has drastically limited consumer choices in health insurance, according to a new Heritage Foundation study.

“Consumers in one-third of the 3,134 counties in the United States face an exchange market that is either an insurer monopoly or duopoly in 2015,” Heritage’s Alyene Senger reports. “This means that residents in these counties have only one or two insurers from which to choose.”

She continues: Continue Reading »

So What’s Actually in the ‘Cromnibus’ Spending Bill?

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In Heritage Work

Heritage experts have been working long hours to figure out what’s actually in the $1.1 trillion, 1,603-page “cromnibus” spending bill released last night.

A few things they’ve learned. The bill

More updates are sure to come as our experts work through the massive bill before tomorrow’s expected vote. Get all the latest from Heritage experts on The Daily Signal.

Want to read the bill yourself? Heritage’s Genevieve Wood offers tips on how to read bills like this.

Do you think this bill advances your conservative principles?

Heritage Staff Pull an All-Nighter Reading the ‘Cromnibus’ Spending Bill

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In Heritage Work

Last night, lawmakers released the massive, 1,603-page, $1.1 trillion spending bill that will fund the government for the coming year.

Since lawmakers almost certainly won’t have time to read the so-called “Cromnibus” bill in time for Thursday’s budget deadline, Heritage Foundation experts stayed up past midnight reading the text.

Update: Here’s a time-lapse video of their reading session, which lasted well past midnight:

Heritage’s Romina Boccia says bills like this are part of the reason government has grown so wildly out of control.

Do you think lawmakers should vote on legislation like this without reading it first?

Heritage Analysis Credited with Ending Wasteful Government Program

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In Heritage Impact

Manufacturing and Technology News credits The Heritage Foundation with changing the debate on Trade Adjustment Assistance, an ineffective government program that offered training and other benefits to workers affected by foreign trade:

In the past, conservative backers of free trade understood that in order to pass trade agreements and Trade Promotion Authority, there needed to be a safety net — and political cover — for the workers losing their jobs to imports. But that compact has disappeared.

After the Heritage Foundation issued a paper in 2011 titled “Let the Ineffective and Wasteful [TAA] Program Expire,” “we saw the Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee who were pretty faithful supporters of the program take their foot off the accelerator,” says McHugh. “They weren’t interested in expanding the program with the improvements that were made.”

Here’s the 2011 report by Heritage’s David Muhlhausen, who pointed out that the program has done little to raise the wages of participants.

Do you think the government should continue an ineffective program like this?

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