NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis
NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis
Barry is a Senior Economist with the National Center for Policy Analysis, one of the most influential think tanks in America today.

The National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization, established in 1983. The NCPA's goal is to develop and promote private alternatives to government regulation and control, solving problems by relying on the strength of the competitive, entrepreneurial private sector. Topics include reforms in health care, taxes, Social Security, welfare, criminal justice, education and environmental regulation.

NCPA Motto - Making Ideas Change the World - reflects the belief that ideas have enormous power to change the course of human events. The NCPA seeks to unleash the power of ideas for positive change by identifying, encouraging, and aggressively marketing the best scholarly research.

Daily Policy Digest

Provided courtesy of: NCPA

Daily Policy Digest

Is There Really a 97 Percent Consensus on Global Warming?
01 Aug 2014 07:00:58 CDT -

Climate change proponents routinely cite the "scientific consensus" that surrounds anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming. But NCPA Senior Fellow Michael Stroup explains where that "scientific consensus" comes from and why the numbers are unreliable.

In 2013, a group of scientists published a study in Environmental Research Letters entitled, "Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature." The study reviewed the abstracts of 11,944 scientific papers dealing with global warming and climate change. According to climate change activists, the study is proof that 97 percent of scientists in the climate research community agree that global warming is human-caused.

Except, explains Stroup, that the study did not make that conclusion. In fact:

  • The study examined more than 11,944 peer-reviewed articles published from 1991 to 2011.
  • The researchers tracked which studies stated an opinion on human-caused global warming and which did not. Of those that did state an opinion, the researchers determined whether the reports supported, rejected or were uncertain about the cause of global warming.
  • Of the studies examined, 66.4 percent of the abstracts expressed no position whatsoever on human-caused global warming.
  • Of the abstracts that did express an opinion on human-caused warming, 97.1 percent endorsed the notion that it was human-caused.

Stroup likens the 97 percent claim to a survey of 10,000 ice cream lovers. Imagine a survey that asked respondents what their preferred ice cream brand was, but more than half of those surveyed do not respond to the question. If 97 percent of those who did respond to the question report that their favorite ice cream is Haagen Dazs, asks Stroup, is that proof that all ice cream lovers support the consensus view that Haagen Dazs is the best ice cream?

Stroup cautions policymakers to engage in logical analysis when crafting environmental policies, not spin misleading statistics.

Source: Michael Stroup, "The Big Lie of the "Consensus View" on Global Warming," Energy and Environment: Clearing the Air Blog, National Center for Policy Analysis, July 30, 2014. 

For more on Environment Issues:

Charters Outperform Public Schools in Cost Effectiveness and Return on Investment
01 Aug 2014 07:00:57 CDT -

Researchers at the University of Arkansas' Department of Education Reform have produced a report on the productivity of public charter schools: Do people get more "bang for their buck" from charters than from traditional public schools, the study asks? The six researchers who conducted the study said yes: the average charter school outperforms the traditional public school both in terms of cost effectiveness and return on investment.

To calculate cost effectiveness, the researchers compared students' National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores per every $1,000 per pupil investment in 21 states and Washington, D.C. They found:

  • Charter schools had a 40 percent productivity advantage in math, providing students with 17 additional NAEP points for every $1,000 invested in math.
  • In reading, charters gave students an extra 16 NAEP points per $1,000 invested -- a 41 percent productivity advantage over traditional public schools.
  • The cost effectiveness of charters varied from state to state. In Hawaii, charters had just a 7 percent advantage over public schools in math, while Washington, D.C. charters had a 109 percent advantage.

Return on investment was calculated by determining the amount of learning that took place during charter school or public school years. With that, the researchers could estimate expected lifetime earnings and compare it to the cost of the education. According to the study:

  • Charter schools provided a larger ROI over public schools in all states.
  • The ROI of a charter school exceeds that of a public school by 3 percent with just one year of charter schooling.
  • 6.5 years of charter schooling produces a ROI that is 19 percent higher than public schools.

The authors suggest that charters are more disciplined in their use of education funds, and thus more productive, because they receive less of them than public schools do.

Source: Patrick J. Wolf et al., "The Productivity of Public Charter Schools," School Choice Demonstration Project, Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas, July 2014. 

For more on Education Issues:

Social Security Will Be Bankrupt in 2033
01 Aug 2014 07:00:56 CDT -

In a report for the American Action Forum, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Gordon Gray and Conor Ryan break down the details of the latest Medicare Trustees report. The Trustees report makes clear that the Social Security program (including its retirement and disability funds) will go entirely bankrupt in 2033.

The financial picture is bleak. Social Security collected $752.2 billion in non-interest income in 2013, yet it spent $822.9 billion. Since 2010, the program has run a cumulative deficit of $219.7 billion, and the program will owe almost $9 trillion more than it is estimated to bring in over the next 75 years. 

When funds are depleted in 2033, the American Action Forum report explains that the program will be able to fund just 77 percent of promised benefits -- a number that will continue to fall. Without some sort of reform overhaul, the payroll tax (which funds Social Security) would have to rise by 24 percent.

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program is also in poor financial straits:

  • The program spent $143.4 billion in 2013, despite taking in just $106.5 billion in non-interest income. Since 2005, SSDI has added more than $179.8 billion to the debt.
  • In two years, the SSDI trust fund will be exhausted.
  • The program's 75-year liability is $1.2 trillion.

Recently, Liqun Liu, Andrew Rettenmaier and Thomas Saving of the Private Enterprise Research Center authored a report for the National Center for Policy Analysis that analyzed possible Social Security reforms. The authors explained how a reformed Social Security program would benefit workers while reducing the size of the federal budget. 

Source: Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Gordon Gray and Conor Ryan, "The Future of America's Entitlements: What You Need to Know About the Medicare Trustees Report," American Action Forum, July 28, 2014. 

For more on Tax and Spending Issues:

Britain Will Have Driverless Cars Next Year
01 Aug 2014 07:00:55 CDT -

British lawmakers have announced plans to have driverless cars on British roads in 2015, reports the Telegraph.

To allow the computer-controlled automobiles to operate lawfully, the U.K. will have to change its Highway Code. Driverless vehicles will not be fully autonomous, and drivers will have the option of taking control of their vehicles. Still, many British motorists are wary of the driverless car, concerned about safety.

The United Nations Convention on Road Traffic recently made a change to reflect the likelihood that driverless cars will soon be a reality. While the U.N. rule used to say that "Every driver shall at all times be able to control his vehicle," an amendment now allows for automated driving, provided that the driver can override the system or switch it off.

According to the BBC, the U.K. is offering three cities the chance to host driverless car trials. The testing period will run from 18 to 36 months. It will be the first time that the vehicles will have been allowed to operate on public, rather than private, roads in the U.K.

In the United States, three states have already approved driverless car testing: California, Nevada and Florida. Google, which has developed its own driverless car model, has logged over 300,000 miles on California roads.

Source: Peter Dominiczak, "Driverless cars heading onto British roads in 2015," Telegraph, July 29, 2014; "UK to allow driverless cars on public roads in January,", July 30, 2014. 

For more on Government Issues:

Ohio Tries to Repeal Common Core
01 Aug 2014 07:00:54 CDT -

State legislator Matt Huffman has introduced a bill to repeal Common Core standards in Ohio, according to a report in the News-Messenger.

Huffman says that his bill has the support of House leadership in the state, and lawmakers hope to have a full vote on the measure when they return to the Statehouse in November. Parents and legislators are concerned that the standards are a prime example of government overreach and one that fails to consider the unique needs of states.

However, Ohio Governor John Kasich has been a supporter of Common Core, and he has veto power. Many have expressed skepticism that the governor would agree to a Common Core repeal. The Daily Caller, however, reports that while Kasich recently reiterated his support for the standards, he also said that he shares "the concern about loss of local control."

Ohio would be the fifth state to withdraw from Common Core. Already, Oklahoma, Indiana, South Carolina and North Carolina have left the program. Missouri is looking at revising the standards, while Governor Bobby Jindal is fighting to do away with Common Core in the state of Louisiana.

Source: Chrissie Thompson, "Ohio House leaders move to repeal Common Core," News-Messenger, July 28, 2014; Blake Neff, "Ohio Lawmakers Launch New Common Core Repeal Effort," Daily Caller, July 29, 2014.  

For more on Education Issues:

Senior Fellow Larry Kotlikoff Testifies on Social Security's Insolvency, Complexity
31 Jul 2014 07:00:53 CDT -

In testimony before the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security, Larry Kotlikoff, NCPA Senior Fellow and Director of the Tax Analysis Center, explained why the Social Security program is insolvent and in need of reform.

In order to pay full Social Security benefits on time, as promised, Kotlikoff explains that the payroll tax would need to rise by 32 percent immediately. If raising the payroll tax is not an option, Social Security would have to cut all benefit payments by 22 percent in order to keep the program afloat.

But putting aside these financial realities, Kotlikoff identifies another set of problems with the program: complexity. Even the formulas used to calculate benefits are confusing! For example, Kotlikoff writes out the perplexing formula used to calculate the benefits owed to a married spouse at a specific age: PIA(a)x(1-e(n))x(1 + d(n))xZ(a)+max((.5xPIA*(a)-PIA(a)x(1+d(n)))xE(a),0)x(1‐u(a,q,n,m))xD(a).

Determining when to collect benefits is important, but few people realize when they should do so. For example:

  • A 62-year-old couple that has contributed the maximum amount to the Social Security program would be eligible for benefits at age 62. If they take their benefits then, their lifetime benefits will be $1.2 million.
  • However, if they wait until age 70 to collect their benefits, lifetime benefits will total $1.6 million.

While the majority of households will see smaller benefits than this hypothetical couple, Kotlikoff explains that the benefit difference is still significant. There are a number of additional factors that retirees should consider when deciding when to collect benefits, he says, yet too few people are aware of them: spousal benefits, widower benefits, divorcee benefits, deeming, Delayed Retirement Credits, file and suspend options, start-stop-start strategies, and more.

A video of the hearing is available online. 

Source: Laurence Kotlikoff, Hearing on "What Workers Need to Know About Social Security as They Plan for Their Retirement," testimony before the Subcommittee on Social Security, Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives, July 29, 2014. 

For more on Tax and Spending Issues:

Health Policy Digest

Provided courtesy of: NCPA

Consumer Driven Health Care

Health Care Reform Tax Will Hurt Franchisees
04 Oct 2011 12:43:58 GMT - When the employer mandates go into effect in 2014, many franchised businesses will be motivated to reduce the number of locations and move workers from full-time to part-time status...


Saving Jobs from Health Reform's Harmful Regulations
04 Oct 2011 12:43:58 GMT - If the rate of health care cost growth had not exceeded general inflation, a typical family would have had $545 more per month in spendable income instead of $95 -- a difference of $5,400 per year...


Does Health Insurance and Seeing the Doctor Keep You Out of the Hospital?
04 Oct 2011 12:43:58 GMT - Gaining health insurance and using more primary care services leads to more hospitalizations as a result of physicians' discretionary decisions regarding aggressive and intensive treatment...


The Case for Competition in Medicare
04 Oct 2011 12:43:58 GMT - A well-functioning marketplace would set in motion the forces needed to transform American medical care into a model of efficient patient-centered care...


Potential Effect of Health Care Reform on Emergency Department Utilization Not Clear
04 Oct 2011 12:43:58 GMT - In 2010, 71 percent of emergency physicians said that they expected emergency department visits to increase due to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act...


Related Information:
NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis Web Site

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