The Best of the Forge
Today we frequently read the words “rising,” “college,” and “tuition” together in that depressing order in the news. If education is so important, shouldn’t something be done to reverse that trend? Is there anyone thinking outside the box?
Fortunately, the answer to both of those questions is “yes.” Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT)100% has introduced an innovative bill, the Higher Education Reform and Opportunity Act, to increase higher education opportunities and decrease costs. Sen. Lee, like the Heritage Foundation, has looked at a root cause of skyrocketing college costs and found it to be a bureaucratic accreditation process for colleges. Currently, students are required to attend an accredited institution to be eligible for a student loan. Additionally, the current accreditation system prevents individual courses from being accredited.
As Democrats on the Hill kick off the new year by propelling their partisan agenda on unemployment insurance, many in the liberal pundit peanut gallery have sought to frame the argument in simple terms. If you oppose an extension of government-sponsored benefits for the unemployed, then you oppose, or are insensitive to, the 1.3 million Americans struggling to find work.
This truncated explanation dismisses all evidence to the contrary. Actual economic research, in bond with the lessons of history, conveys what common sense already tells us: The longer unemployment benefits are available, the longer people stay unemployed.
Conservatives and liberals agree that it is good to help those most in need to put food on their table. There is disagreement, however, with regard to how much the federal government should spend on food stamps and whether or not there is any fraud, waste, and abuse in the program. Does the steep rise in food stamp participation indicate a growing entitlement culture? Liberals and conservatives answer that question differently, too. At issue currently is a reported $9 billion dollar cut – over the next decade — to the federal food stamp program that cost roughly $80 billion in 2013 alone. The cuts would be part of a farm bill agreement.
Rep. Billy Long (R-MO) 75% introduced a bill last October called the Taxpayer Transparency Act (H.R. 3308). The bill would require every communication by a Federal agency used for advertising or educational purposes to unequivocally state that it is “produced and disseminated at taxpayer expense.” This common sense approach would provide much-needed accountability and transparency to inform the public how their hard-earned tax dollars are being wasted by Washington bureaucrats and bring attention to an ever-growing government behemoth.
Heritage Action supports H.R. 3308 and all efforts to oppose and expose the federal government’s campaign to expand the welfare state at the expense of the American taxpayer.
In December, President Obama promised he was “going to keep pushing until we get a higher minimum wage for hardworking Americans across the entire country.” A minimum wage increase makes for a snappy political sound bite, but the impact on workers – and would be workers – isn’t something to brag about. Employers respond to an increase in minimum wage by creating fewer entry level jobs, which hurts less-skilled workers. Bottom line: raising the minimum wage hurts the job prospects for those that need jobs the most.