New Research: Are Public School Teachers Overcompensated?
Battles over government employee benefits are currently being waged in OH, NJ, and WI. These fights have brought the idea of reforming public sector union benefits to the forefront of state budget discussions. Heritage Senior Policy Analyst Dr. Jason Richwine released a comprehensive empirical analysis of public school teacher compensation that is sure to garner significant media attention. The report finds that union contracts help secure overcompensation for the average teacher while leaving some valuable teachers underpaid. Mike Brownfield explains the significance of the report in a blog post. A link to the full report can be found here.
Defending the American Dream Summit This Weekend
Americans For Prosperity will be hosting its annual summit this Friday and Saturday at the Washington Convention Center in DC. Several thousand freedom-loving activists will receive training on political organizing, education from panel discussions on important public policy matters, and inspiration from speeches given by the biggest celebrities in the conservative movement. Stop by the Heritage booth to receive a free copy of an abridged edition of Road to Serfdom and Saving the American Dream.
Presidential Candidate Foreign Policy Debate Moved
The Heritage/AEI/CNN debate between Republican candidates for president has been moved to 8:00 pm ET Tuesday, November 22. It will be moderated by Wolf Blitzer and feature questions from a panel of Heritage & AEI policy experts.
Bill O'Reilly Radio Town Hall Event
Bill O’Reilly will host a three hour radio Town Hall with the Republican presidential candidates on Monday, November 7th at 6pm ET. The show will air on your local Westwood One affiliate.
First Principles Event in Chicago Features Steve Forbes
You are cordially invited to attend a panel discussion and luncheon on Thursday, December 1 at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago from 10 am - 1 pm CT. The panel, which features Vice President Matt Spalding, is entitled "Preserving America's First Principles." Heritage Trustee Steve Forbes will give his remarks during the subsequent lunch at noon.
Update on the Effort to Pass a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA)
The most recent “Memo for the Movement” from the Conservative Action Project states, “Not all Balanced Budget Amendments were created equal. Brian Darling reminds us why we need a strong one in his blog post. The most comprehensive BBA proposed is S.J. Resolution 10, co-sponsored by all 47 Republican members of the United States Senate. It caps spending at 18% of GDP; requires a 2/3 vote of congress to raise taxes; requires a 3/5 vote of congress to increase the debt ceiling; and prohibits any court from ordering an increase in taxes. Proposed BBA’s that do less can have the unintended effect of placing upward pressure on tax rates instead of limiting spending.” See the entire memo below:
CONSERVATIVE ACTION PROJECT Tom Schatz, President, Council for Citizens Against Government WasteColin Hanna, President, Let Freedom RingDuane Parde, President, National Taxpayers UnionGrover Norquist, President, Americans for Tax ReformWilliam Wilson, President, Americans for Limited GovernmentTony Perkins, President, Family Research CouncilDavid N. Bossie, President, Citizens UnitedGary Bauer, President, American ValuesKaren Kerrigan, President, Small Business & Entrepreneurship CouncilBrent Bozell, President, ForAmericaC. Preston Noell III, Tradition, Family, PropertyRon Robinson, President, Young America’s FoundationAndrea Lafferty, President, Traditional Values David Williams, President, Taxpayers Protection AllianceAl Cardenas, Chairman, American Conservative UnionJames Martin, Chairman, 60 PlusMathew D. Staver, Chairman, Liberty Council ActionRev. Lou Sheldon, Chairman, Traditional Values CoalitionKen Boehm, Chairman, National Legal & Policy CenterSusan Carleson, Chairman & CEO, American Civil Rights UnionEdwin Meese III, former Attorney GeneralT. Kenneth Cribb, former Domestic Advisor to President ReaganAlfred Regnery, Publisher, American SpectatorChris Littleton, Co-Founder, Ohio Liberty CouncilDonna Hearne, Executive Director, Constitutional CoalitionGary Marx, Executive Director, Faith & Freedom CoalitionCurt Levey, Executive Director, Committee for JusticeMattie Corrao, Executive Director, Cost of Government CenterBill Pascoe, Executive Vice President, Citizens for the Republic(All organizations listed for identification purposes only)
MEMO FOR THE MOVEMENT A Balanced Budget Amendment—in addition to balancing the budget—should make it difficult to raise taxes, tough to increase the debt, and prohibit any court from ordering a tax increase or deciding budget priorities. “I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution. I would be willing to depend on that alone for the reduction of the administration of our government; I mean an additional article taking from the Federal Government the power of borrowing.”Thomas Jefferson, 1798 RE: In accordance with the Budget Control Act of 2011, sometime between October 1 and December 31, 2011 both houses of Congress must vote on a balance budget amendment (BBA) to the U.S. Constitution. It is important that any such amendment must protect taxpayers by not forcing automatic tax increases to keep revenues in line with rising expenditures. Our fiscal problems are caused not by under taxation—but by over-spending. ISSUE-IN-BRIEF: Not all balanced budget Amendments were created equal. The most comprehensive BBA proposed is S.J. Resolution 10 co-sponsored by all 47 Republican members of the United States Senate. It caps spending at 18% of GDP; requires a 2/3 vote of congress to raise taxes; requires a 3/5 vote of congress to increase the debt ceiling; and prohibits any court from ordering an increase in taxes. Proposed BBA’s that do less can have the unintended effect of managing a tax increase instead of limiting spending and would be counter-productive and must be opposed. A STRONG BBA MUST BE EASY TO UNDERSTAND AND NOT HAVE LOOPHOLES: ·
Require a Balanced Budget every year: The federal debt is on track to consume our country’s entire Gross Domestic Product. The BBA would force Washington to live within its means. ·
Prohibit Perpetual Deficit Spending: Deficit spending is a tax on future earnings. ·
A debt ceiling will actually be a ceiling: The debt ceiling has been raised 11 times in the past decade. S.J. 10—co-sponsored by 47 members of the U.S. Senate-- would require a three-fifths majority in both chambers to raise the debt ceiling. This is also an important provision to prevent cheating and other budget gimmicks because actual spending cannot exceed actual revenue for long without hitting the debt limit. ·
Congress may waive BBA requirement by simple majority if a declaration of war is in effect; and it would require a three-fifths majority to waive if the country is engaged in a military conflict that causes an imminent and serious military threat to our national security. ·
Courts setting any budget priorities would be a problem. Court-ordered military cuts or activist “declaratory judgments” requiring increased welfare spending would also be intolerable. S.J. 10 can be improved with an explicit ban on courts exercising jurisdiction on any of these essential political questions.
A “Weak” BBA will increase the size of Government and pave the way for Tax Increases: ·
Unlike other proposals, such as a “Weak” BBA, not only should a BBA have a supermajority requirement to raise taxes, there should be no loopholes for creative accounting. ·
Without a limitation on tax increases and a specific prohibition on courts ordering revenue increases a “Weak” BBA would allow judges the power to implement higher taxes to bring the budget into balance. ·
A “Weak” BBA would allow a simple majority of Members of Congress to raise the federal debt ceiling and continue to borrow against future generations. That’s why there is a three-fifths majority requirement to raise the debt ceiling in S.J. 10
Why the Tax Hike Limitation Component is Important to any BBA:
As Milton Friedman wrote in defense of the Balanced Budget Amendment in 1983 in response to skepticism from the Wall Street Journal editorial board:http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1983/02/washington-less-red-ink/5450/ “The key problem is not deficits but the size of government spending.[…] I have never supported an amendment directed solely at a balanced budget. I have written repeatedly that while I would prefer that the budget be balanced, I would rather have government spend $500 billion and run a deficit of $100 billion than have it spend $800 billion with a balanced budget. It matters greatly how the budget is balanced, whether by cutting spending or by raising taxes.”
Americans Support a Balanced Budget Amendment: Americans have always overwhelmingly support a balanced budget amendment. A Fox News poll (June 30), shows support is 72-20. On Message, Inc., on behalf of Let Freedom Ring, shows 81% of the American people (including 74% of Democrats) support Congress balancing their budget every year. In addition 66% of Americans favor capping federal spending at the historically average 18% of GDP. “Of course, the best way to permanently reduce spending would be to enact a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution requiring a supermajority in both houses of Congress to run an annual deficit, raise tax rates, or increase the debit ceiling.”James A. Baker III, Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of the Treasury from 1985-1988
http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2011/08/30/beware-bogus-balanced-budget-amendment http://www.utahpolicy.com/featured_article/bozell-urges-congress-approve-hatchlee-balanced-budget-amendment http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:S.J.RES.10 http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304760604576428273248743348.html http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/270837/cut-cap-and-balance-tim-phillips http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/261755/just-say-no-judicial-enforcement-balanced-budget-amendment-todd-gaziano http://regularfolksunited.org/regular-folks-united-supports-cut-cap-a2991 http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304186404576388061782561014.html http://dailycaller.com/2011/07/12/just-in-time-a-debt-ceiling-game-changer/ http://rsc.jordan.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=248892 http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2011/07/08/why-cut-cap-and-balance-is-best-way-to-avoid-fiscal-breakdown/http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=44993 http://spectator.org/archives/2011/07/20/cut-cap-balance-is-a-moral-dut http://www.forbes.com/2011/07/08/cut-cap-balance_2.html http://blog.cleveland.com/opinion_impact/print.html?entry=/2011/07/how_to_solve_our_debt_woes_by.html http://townhall.com/columnists/alfredregnery/2011/07/14/fixing_thomas_jeffersons_debt_ceiling_regrets http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/oct/11/winning-the-balanced-budget-fight/