American Action Forum

American Action Forum A policy institute with forward-looking research on: Education, Regulation, Economy, Foreign Policy, Energy, Housing and Healthcare Policy. http://www.americanactionforum.org http://twitter.com/AAF
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Last Week in Regulation, federal agencies published $4.9 billion in total net cost savings but added 235,039 hours of an...
06/06/2020
DOL Technology Changes Headline Deregulatory Week - AAF

Last Week in Regulation, federal agencies published $4.9 billion in total net cost savings but added 235,039 hours of annual paperwork.

Last week came out on the net-deregulatory side yet again. Most of the cost savings, however, came from a single Department of Labor (DOL) rule regarding the electronic disclosure of retirement plan information under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). Additionally, a DOL su...

Based on 2019 import levels, U.S. and retaliatory tariffs currently impact over $460 billion of imports and exports, and...
06/05/2020
The Total Cost of Trump’s Tariffs - AAF

Based on 2019 import levels, U.S. and retaliatory tariffs currently impact over $460 billion of imports and exports, and President Trump’s tariffs are increasing annual consumer costs by roughly $57 billion annually.

The following analysis calculates the overall impact that tariffs could have on the prices of goods in the United States.

The May jobs report surprised substantially to the upside this morning, beating expectations for millions of additional ...
06/05/2020
The Labor Market Starts to Bounce Back - AAF

The May jobs report surprised substantially to the upside this morning, beating expectations for millions of additional jobs losses with a 2.5 million job gain.

The May jobs report surprised substantially to the upside this morning, beating expectations for millions of additional jobs losses with a 2.5 million job gain. More frequent data had been telegraphing a slowdown in the deterioration of the labor market – suggesting that we were approaching bottom...

President Trump’s order to prevent certain Chinese graduate students from seeking an education in the United States is p...
06/04/2020
The Administration, China, and Immigration - AAF

President Trump’s order to prevent certain Chinese graduate students from seeking an education in the United States is pretty small-bore, but if broadly expanded in the future it would have a measurable, detrimental impact on the U.S. economy.

Eakinomics: The Administration, China, and Immigration Last week, President Trump issued a proclamation of immigration suspension to prevent certain Chinese graduate students from seeking an education in the United States. (See AAF’s Jacqueline Varas’ piece for all the details.) This is the seco...

CARES provided roughly $500 billion to the Treasury to support Federal Reserve lending activities. It is now two months ...
06/03/2020
“Fixing” the PPP - AAF

CARES provided roughly $500 billion to the Treasury to support Federal Reserve lending activities. It is now two months since the passage of the CARES Act, and these facilities are not yet operational.

Eakinomics: “Fixing” the PPP Most people are now familiar with the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The program offers those employers with fewer than 500 employees loans, and those loans are forgiven – effectively tra...

The budget process is important because adherence to its spirit generates information about the budgetary outlook that a...
06/02/2020
A Troubling Administration Decision on the Budget - AAF

The budget process is important because adherence to its spirit generates information about the budgetary outlook that allows us to address budgetary challenges. The Trump Admin's decision to withhold the economic outlook undermines this enterprise.

Eakinomics: A Troubling Administration Decision on the Budget There is, on paper, a methodical annual budget process. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) produces an economic and budget outlook, the president proposes a budget, Congress adopts a budget resolution, Congress produces legislation dic...

AAF Labor Market Policy Data Analyst Isabel Soto discusses federal and state labor market interventions in response to C...
06/01/2020
The AAF Exchange — Ep. 33: Labor Market Intervention & Unemployment Insurance - AAF

AAF Labor Market Policy Data Analyst Isabel Soto discusses federal and state labor market interventions in response to COVID-19, including the unemployment insurance supplement in the CARES Act, in the latest podcast episode of the AAF Exchange.

AAF Labor Market Policy Data Analyst Isabel Soto discusses federal and state labor market interventions in response to COVID-19, including the unemployment insurance supplement in the CARES Act and its implications for our economic recovery.

In an era when an enormous amount of policymaking is done via executive action, it is a good reminder that the Trump Adm...
06/01/2020
Trump, Twitter, and the Structure of Executive Action - AAF

In an era when an enormous amount of policymaking is done via executive action, it is a good reminder that the Trump Administration cannot do anything it wants with any agency it desires.

Eakinomics: Trump, Twitter, and the Structure of Executive Action As is now well-known, when Twitter added “fact check tags” to President Trump’s tweets regarding mail-in voting, the president responded by signing an executive order (EO) directing tighter regulation of social media companies. ...

It is impossible to construct a credible budget projection without an economic forecast; accordingly, the Trump Administ...
05/30/2020
OMB Ducks - AAF

It is impossible to construct a credible budget projection without an economic forecast; accordingly, the Trump Administration’s refusal to include such a projection in the mid-year budgetary review this year is simply needless withholding of information.

The Trump Administration will not include an updated economic projection when it submits its mid-year budget revision to Congress.

Government efforts to impose fairness on social media platforms could backfire by constricting the number of voices and ...
05/30/2020
Content Moderation, Section 230, and The First Amendment - AAF

Government efforts to impose fairness on social media platforms could backfire by constricting the number of voices and platforms available to people with a variety of tastes.

The Trump Administration is expected to release an executive order that regulates social media companies based on Free Speech concerns after Twitter fact-checked one of President Trump’s tweets. The First Amendment applies to government action regarding speech and not to the content moderation of ...

The Administration’s View of Its Ability to Direct Independent Agencies — President Trump’s social media executive order...
05/29/2020
The Administration’s View of Its Ability to Direct Independent Agencies - AAF

The Administration’s View of Its Ability to Direct Independent Agencies — President Trump’s social media executive order highlights a debate over how much authority a president can exert over independent agencies.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY President Trump’s social media executive order (EO) highlights a debate over how much authority a president can exert over independent agencies. The structure of the EO seems to indicate that the administration believes it has less legal authority to exert its control over indepe...

It is tempting to treat President Trump’s executive order directing tighter regulation of social media companies as noth...
05/29/2020
What Is At Stake In Trump’s War With Twitter? - AAF

It is tempting to treat President Trump’s executive order directing tighter regulation of social media companies as nothing more than a harmless tantrum—but this EO is anything but.

Eakinomics: What Is At Stake In Trump’s War With Twitter? The basic outlines of the story are now well known. Twitter added “fact check tags” (see below) to President Trump’s tweets regarding mail-in voting in California, with the key fact being that ballots are only being sent to registered...

Both the health and economic bad news caused by COVID-19 have been unequally felt. Racial minorities have experienced di...
05/28/2020
COVID-19 and Communities of Color - AAF

Both the health and economic bad news caused by COVID-19 have been unequally felt. Racial minorities have experienced disproportionately high rates of infection and death.

Eakinomics: COVID-19 and Communities of Color I testified yesterday before the House Ways and Means Committee on the topic of “The Disproportionate Impact of Covid-19 on Communities of Color.” (Historical footnote: This was the very first virtual hearing – held via WebEx – in the House of Re...

The U.S. reliance on China for medical goods is overstated. China supplies only 18 percent of total active pharmaceutica...
05/26/2020
The Facts on China and Pharmaceuticals - AAF

The U.S. reliance on China for medical goods is overstated. China supplies only 18 percent of total active pharmaceutical ingredient imports, 9 percent of total antibiotic imports, and less than 1 percent of total vaccine imports.

Eakinomics: The Facts on China and Pharmaceuticals Drugs, their prices, and now the location of supply chains have been a political football during the Trump Administration. News reports about a recent television appearance of the president indicate that he said, “It’s not only China, you take a...

If policymakers seize the opportunity, our experiment in socially distanced medicine could prove to be a breakthrough fo...
05/23/2020
An Opportunity for Telemedicine - AAF

If policymakers seize the opportunity, our experiment in socially distanced medicine could prove to be a breakthrough for telehealth.

The global COVID-19 pandemic is dramatically reshaping everything from how the House of Representatives votes on legislation to how we think about mass transit, education, and air travel. But—as is often the case with disruption—not all the implications of these changes are negative. For example...

Tracker: The Federal Reserve’s Balance Sheet — Each week, the Federal Reserve publishes its balance sheet, typically on ...
05/23/2020
Tracker: The Federal Reserve’s Balance Sheet - AAF

Tracker: The Federal Reserve’s Balance Sheet — Each week, the Federal Reserve publishes its balance sheet, typically on Thursday afternoon around 4:30 p.m. This AAF tracker follows what’s on that sheet.

Introduction This tracker follows the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) balance sheet, the best indicator of the Fed’s direct intervention in the economy. Context The Fed’s dual mandate requires it to ensure both stable prices and maximum employment. The traditional tool the Fed uses to accomplish these...

Requiring Fannie and Freddie to hold a combined $244 billion in capital might seem like a lot, but let us hope that the ...
05/22/2020
A Capital Idea About Fannie and Freddie - AAF

Requiring Fannie and Freddie to hold a combined $244 billion in capital might seem like a lot, but let us hope that the Federal Housing Finance Agency ultimately requires a lot more than that.

Eakinomics: A Capital Idea About Fannie and Freddie Remember Fannie Mae (“Fannie”) and Freddie Mac (“Freddie”), the housing government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs)? These behemoths were constructed like the proverbial camel – one part profit-seeking private entity, one part affordable-hous...

The Trump Administration appears dead set on continuing to eliminate regulations and reduce the regulatory burden using ...
05/21/2020
Neither the Press nor Progressives nor a Pandemic… - AAF

The Trump Administration appears dead set on continuing to eliminate regulations and reduce the regulatory burden using all the tools at its disposal. Congress has yet to enact any such legislation.

Eakinomics: Neither the Press nor Progressives nor a Pandemic… Can deter the Trump Administration’s deregulatory drive. Eakinomics has frequently noted the sea change between the ever-rising regulatory burden during the Obama Administration and the reversal to (modest) declines during the Trump ...

U.S. production of pharmaceutical goods is often understated. 70 percent of essential medical equipment is manufactured ...
05/20/2020
U.S. Dependence on Chinese Pharmaceuticals is Overstated - AAF

U.S. production of pharmaceutical goods is often understated. 70 percent of essential medical equipment is manufactured in the United States, and 70 percent of total antibiotic spending and 50 percent of total vaccine spending is on U.S.-made products.

U.S. supply chains are well diversified, with China supplying only 18 percent of total active pharmaceutical ingredient imports, 9 percent of total antibiotic imports, and less than 1 percent of total vaccine imports.

The CBO projections are important in that they will be the standard against which Congress will measure the impact of an...
05/20/2020
The CBO Weighs In - AAF

The CBO projections are important in that they will be the standard against which Congress will measure the impact of any future legislation on growth, unemployment, and the budget deficit.

Eakinomics: The CBO Weighs In Yesterday the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a new economic projection along with a succinct explanation as to why: “In most years, the Congressional Budget Office releases two economic projections, usually associated with updated baseline budget projectio...

House Democrats did not simply drop their previous reform for multiemployer pensions into the HEROES Act. Instead, they ...
05/19/2020
A Silver Lining to the HEROES Cloud - AAF

House Democrats did not simply drop their previous reform for multiemployer pensions into the HEROES Act. Instead, they included different reforms that are more similar to the Senate's proposals.

Eakinomics: A Silver Lining to the HEROES Cloud The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act contained a slew of provisions in tax, health, education, finance, housing, labor, energy and other policies, many of them not particularly attractive. As noted by AAF’s Gordon...

The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act proposes significant revisions to the Paycheck...
05/17/2020
Financial Services Provisions in the HEROES Act - AAF

The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act proposes significant revisions to the Paycheck Protection Program, although it does not allocate any additional funding despite the program’s funding being near exhaustion.

Executive Summary House Democrats have released the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, an ambitious proposal for the next round of federal aid in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that nevertheless has only limited implications for financial services. HEROES propo...

Regulatory Provisions of the HEROES Act — The recently released Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions...
05/17/2020
Regulatory Provisions of the HEROES Act - AAF

Regulatory Provisions of the HEROES Act — The recently released Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act includes several notable provisions expanding federal regulatory authority.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The recently released Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act includes several notable provisions expanding federal regulatory authority. The HEROES Act would require new regulations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Depart...

HEROES would increase the federal share of Medicaid expenditures by about $45.2 billion over and above previous COVID-19...
05/16/2020
Health Policy Provisions in the HEROES Act - AAF

HEROES would increase the federal share of Medicaid expenditures by about $45.2 billion over and above previous COVID-19 response legislation.

Executive Summary On May 12, Speaker Pelosi released the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, House Democrats’ $3 trillion proposal for a fourth round of COVID-19 pandemic-response legislation, which includes myriad health policy provisions. HEROES would respond t...

Nationally 63 percent of workers currently make more on unemployment with the CARES Act federal supplement than they wou...
05/16/2020
State Unemployment Benefits and Returning to Work - AAF

Nationally 63 percent of workers currently make more on unemployment with the CARES Act federal supplement than they would working.

Executive Summary The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act created a $600 federal supplement to state unemployment insurance payments, which will expire on July 31st, but as states begin to reopen, this supplement will create a disincentive for people to return to work. Nationa...

The HEROES Act includes a substantial new taxpayer commitment to private-sector, multiemployer pensions but does NOT con...
05/15/2020
Progress on Multiemployer Pensions? - AAF

The HEROES Act includes a substantial new taxpayer commitment to private-sector, multiemployer pensions but does NOT contain the Butch-Lewis Act, which had largely been the public policy position of congressional Democrats for about 18 months.

The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act includes a substantial new taxpayer commitment to ailing, private-sector, multiemployer pensions but does NOT contain the Butch-Lewis Act, which had largely been the public policy position of congressional Democrats for about....

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