Mercatus Scholars Tackle Hot Button Issues: Housing to Job Creation

Highlights from this past week at Mercatus.

How Entitlement Programs Affect U.S. Debt |
“More than 148 million Americans live in a household receiving government benefits. That’s 49 percent of the U.S. population. Spending on entitlement programs is a main driver of U.S. debt, because these programs have the most recipients. The more people that receive government assistance, the more difficult it will be to reform these programs. The majority of future federal spending will finance this growing nation of dependents.” Veronique de Rugy, Mercatus Center Senior Scholar

President’s Plan to Help Homeowners is Political Poppycock |
“The president's plan to refinance about 1 million borrowers to current mortgage rates though the FHA resembles a super-lotto drawing rather than serious legislation to improve foreclosures or salvage the struggling housing market. The constant changing of the rules on who gets a refi and who doesn't is very unsettling to MBS investors. None of it helps reduce defaults, saves the housing market, or stimulates the economy.” –Anthony Sanders, Mercatus Center Senior Scholar

Income Inequality and the Tax Code | Washington Examiner
“The U.S. federal tax system is more progressive than all other OECD countries, because the top earners in America pay a larger share of their income in taxes even though they face lower marginal rates. But a far more important issue is whether individuals possess the ability to move up the income scale based on their effort. Increasing upward mobility — in particular those who start out at the bottom — should be our primary focus. Increasing progressivity won’t achieve this goal.”Veronique de Rugy, Mercatus Center Senior Scholar

Can the Government Create Jobs? |
“Economists have made great strides in understanding the conditions that are necessary for long-run economic growth. For one thing, healthy economies need ‘economic freedom’: low and non-distortionary taxes, modest government budgets, limited and equitably-applied regulations, stable monetary policy, open international markets, and well-protected property rights.” Matthew Mitchell, Mercatus Center Senior Scholar