Tom Hebert

Coronavirus Pandemic Shows Fatal Flaws of Socialized Medicine

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Posted by Tom Hebert on Monday, March 30th, 2020, 11:20 AM PERMALINK

In recent weeks, radical leftist politicians have exploited the Coronavirus pandemic to push their vision of government-run healthcare. 

Democrat Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) recently tweeted that the Coronavirus crisis would be a “great time” for implementing the Medicare for All government takeover of healthcare. 

Not to be outdone, avowed socialist and 2020 Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said that his main takeaway from the pandemic is that it has “never been more important…[to pass] Medicare for All.” 

The left has the situation completely backwards – we would be no better off with socialized healthcare.

Countries with government-run healthcare have been unable to contain the pandemic. If anything, the response of single-payer countries to this crisis shows the fatal flaws of the Medicare for All model. 

Sanders claims that countries with socialized medicine are uniquely equipped to effectively contain a Coronavirus-style pandemic. 

This would be news to people in countries with government-run healthcare.

In normal times, single-payer systems have insufficient resources, understaffed and overstuffed hospitals, and long waiting lines for patients seeking treatment. At a time when demand sharply increases in response to a pandemic like COVID-19, all of these problems are exacerbated.

In Great Britain, just 8 out of 1,600 doctors surveyed said that Great Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) was up to the task of dealing with the pandemic. 

The problems plaguing Britain’s healthcare system predate the Coronavirus. In late 2019, the NHS was short 10,000 doctors and 43,000 nurses, with 9 in 10 NHS bosses saying that staffing issues presented a danger to patients. Britain also has over 4.5 million Britons currently waiting for hospitalization, a number that will only increase as the Coronavirus continues to spread. 

Canada’s single-payer model has also been unable to contain the pandemic. As cases rise, experts at the University of Toronto project that 35 to 70 percent of Canadians could be infected by COVID-19, and hospitals are already operating at capacity. Canada’s healthcare problems predate the pandemic – in 2017, Canadians had to wait a record 21.2 weeks to receive treatment from a specialist after being referred by their general practitioner. These long waiting lines have a debilitating effect on the health of Canadians patients, especially those with complex medical needs and disabilities.   

Sanders has also argued that a government-run system would make it easier to have people tested and treated for the Coronavirus. Predictably, Sanders is ignoring how America’s free market healthcare system is engaging with the private sector to curb this crisis. 

Two of the largest private labs in the country, Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp, will soon be able to produce 300,000 COVID-19 tests per week. 

Pharmaceutical companies are also stepping up to the plate to contain the crisis. Usually, it takes years of rigorous trials and testing to develop a vaccine, but time is drastically limited in the midst of a global pandemic. Manufacturers and scientists are working at a record pace to get a Coronavirus cure out the door and in the hands of patients. 

All health insurers will cover the cost of lab tests and visits to providers for Coronavirus screening. American patients will not have to pay a penny out of pocket to get a test. 

In response to an N95 mask shortage, American companies are stepping up to fill the void. Merck & Company recently delivered 500,000 masks to New York City Emergency Management. Harbor Freight is donating its entire supply of N95 masks and other critical equipment to hospitals in the communities where they have stores. 

Nationally, companies are retrofitting facilities to produce critical medical supplies. Hanes, a clothing company, is retrofitting large portions of their plants to produce masks. Apple is donating millions of masks globally to help contain the crisis, and GM and Ford are modifying facilities to produce medical equipment and ventilators. Anheuser Busch is also beginning to use its network to mass-produce hand sanitizer. 

Countries with single-payer healthcare systems struggled to treat patients before the pandemic – these problems are only exacerbated by a large influx of patients. Government-run healthcare systems do nothing to help contain public health crises like the Coronavirus. In fact, problems like understaffing and supply shortages may make the crisis worse. 

Photo Credit: katie chao and ben muessig


CARES Act Repeals Obamacare Medicine Cabinet Tax

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Posted by Tom Hebert on Thursday, March 26th, 2020, 4:54 PM PERMALINK

Another Obamacare tax on the middle class bites the dust

In a win for over 26 million Americans with a Health Savings Account (HSA) and the 35 million with a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act repeals Obamacare’s onerous Medicine Cabinet Tax. 

The Obamacare Medicine Cabinet Tax prohibits Americans from using HSAs or FSAs to purchase thousands of over the counter medicines like cold and flu drugs, allergy medication, children’s fever relievers, and menstrual cramp relief medication. Under the tax, only prescription medicines qualified as an HSA/FSA expense.

The CARES Act strikes the last sentence of sub-paragraph A of Sec. 223(d)(2) in the tax code to remove this restriction. 

Upon President Trump’s signature, Americans will be able to purchase thousands of over the counter medical products using pre-tax dollars, a big help for cash-strapped households.

The bill also allows Americans to use pre-tax dollars for the purchase of menstrual products, defined as a “tampon, pad, liner, cup, sponge, or similar product used by individuals with respect to menstruation or other genital-tract secretions.”

HSAs are tax-advantaged savings accounts that individuals can use to pay for qualified medical expenses. Since they were created in 2004, HSAs have become a popular and successful vehicle for individuals to spend and save their own money for a wide array of healthcare needs.

FSAs are employer-sponsored accounts that individuals can use to pay for medical expenses. 

The Medicine Cabinet Tax was one of the many Obamacare tax increases on the middle class and a violation of the Obama-Biden pledge not to raise any tax on any American making less than $250,000 per year.

By forcing Americans with FSAs and HSAs to use post-tax dollars to purchase these necessary items, Obamacare raised taxes on these households by $8.5 billion over a ten year period.

By repealing Obamacare’s costly and onerous Medicine Cabinet Tax, the CARES Act provides important flexibility and tax relief for middle-class Americans that use HSAs or FSAs to pay for medical expenses. 

Photo Credit: Ben Schumin


Trump Admin Announces That Medicare Will Cover Telehealth During Coronavirus Pandemic

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Posted by Tom Hebert on Tuesday, March 17th, 2020, 5:04 PM PERMALINK

The Trump administration is using its executive authority to temporarily cover telehealth services for Medicare beneficiaries in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. This change will allow patients to interact with their doctors via phone or video conferencing at no additional cost, covering commonly used services like Facetime and Skype. 

As the Coronavirus spreads across the United States, Trump rightly recognizes that telemedicine is a natural solution for patients to connect to their doctors during this public health crisis.

On March 13th 2020, Trump declared the Coronavirus pandemic a national emergency, allowing the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to act quickly to provide maximum flexibility for patients and providers. 

Prior to this declaration, Medicare was only allowed to pay for telemedicine in certain circumstances, such as for rural patients that lacked easy access to their doctors. In these situations, the patient would have to travel to a medical facility and teleconference with their doctors, and beneficiaries could not generally receive care in their homes. 

The Trump Administration has previously expanded telemedicine in Medicare. Over the past two years, beneficiaries have been able to briefly check in with their doctors via phone, videoconferencing, or online patient portals. 

The telemedicine expansion for Coronavirus allows a wide range of providers (doctors, nurse practitioners, clinical psychologists, and licensed social workers) to offer telehealth services to Medicare beneficiaries. Beneficiaries can receive telecare at any healthcare facility, like nursing homes or physician’s offices, or from the comfort of their own homes. 

In order to allow patients to more easily communicate with their providers, the Administration loosened the HIPAA requirements surrounding telemedicine. This important change allows doctors to see patients via commonly used apps like Facetime and Skype that were previously non-HIPAA compliant. 

Beneficiaries will be able to receive a wide range of services under this expansion, including routine check-ins, mental health counseling, and preventative health screenings. 

Seniors are at the highest risk of harm from the Coronavirus. Allowing Medicare beneficiaries to receive a wide range of services via telemedicine reduces their risk of exposure to the disease and allows providers to focus on the most critical patients during this health crisis. 

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore


Trump Admin Expands Patient Freedoms With New Portability Rules

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Posted by Tom Hebert on Tuesday, March 17th, 2020, 12:07 PM PERMALINK

The Trump Administration recently issued two new healthcare rules that will allow patients to have complete access and control over their medical data. These rules will give patients portability over their data across medical providers while ensuring that this sensitive patient data is protected.

Under the current system, patients lack the ability to easily control their own health records and securely share them with doctors and hospitals. Since 2009, taxpayers have spent over $36 billion on electronic health records (EHRs), but the problem still hasn’t resolved itself. Compatibility across systems is shoddy, patients still have issues accessing their records, and buggy EHR software is ripe for fraud and abuse.

President Trump has consistently focused on improving and modernizing the healthcare system to the benefit of American patients. To that end, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) launched the “MyHealthEd” initiative in 2018 to give patients better access and portability of their healthcare data.  

This initiative led to new healthcare rules from two federal agencies: CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). Both rules streamline pathways for patients to access their health data via secure mobile applications. The rules allow patients to build a cumulative healthcare record that they access wherever they go. This will empower patients to more easily and securely access and release their data to providers of their choice. In turn, this increased flexibility and modernization will improve care coordination and lead to more efficient treatment. 

While any proposal to improve transparency should be welcomed, it is important that proposals protect consumer data and privacy, gives consumers information they can readily use, and do not result in unintended consequences that increase prices or make the healthcare system more complex. Policies that expand the size and scope of government should be rejected in favor of proposals that increase choice and access. 

These new portability rules build on the Trump Administration’s record of reforming healthcare so that patients have more options. 

  • Last year the administration finalized a rule allowing employers to offer health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) to their employees to purchase insurance as an alternative to employer provided care. Rather than offering a health plan, an HRA allows an employer to offer employees funds to purchase care they wish. HRA funds are tax free to both the employer and employee and roll over year to year. 
     
  • Trump also expanded access to short-term, limited duration health insurance plans, allowing families and individuals to purchase these health plans for 12 months with a total of 36 months of renewability. These plans are exempt from Obamacare’s costly mandates and regulations, meaning more Americans will have access to affordable and flexible healthcare. As a result, these plans are expected to be 50 to 80 percent cheaper and will offer millions of Americans flexible care after several years of increasing premiums and narrowing choices in the Obamacare marketplace.
     
  • The Administration has also proposed allowing small businesses to band together and form association health plans (AHP). Like short-term plans, AHPs are exempt from many Obamacare regulations and give workers and employers increased flexibility to offer care. Democrats are currently holding this rule up in court, and the government is waiting for a ruling on its appeal. 
     

Going forward, the Trump Administration should continue working with the private sector to lower costs, increase efficiency, and open up the healthcare system for patients.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore


Trump Economy Adds 273K Jobs In February

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Posted by Tom Hebert on Friday, March 6th, 2020, 11:15 AM PERMALINK

President Donald Trump’s economy added 273,000 jobs in February, smashing industry expectations amid the looming threat of the coronavirus. 

January and December jobs numbers were also revised upwards by 85,000, making the total job gains from this report alone roughly 350,000. This jobs report proves that the fundamentals of the economy are strong notwithstanding the coronavirus outbreak, and that the tax and deregulatory policies of the Trump administration have worked.

Wage growth for American workers has been at or above 3 percent for the past 19 months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report. This 19-month streak is the only time average hourly wages have grown at 3 percent in the past decade. The report noted “notable job gains” in healthcare and social assistance, food services, construction, professional and technical services. Workers are also experiencing higher wage growth than managers.

In 35 of the past 39 months since Trump was elected, businesses have added more than 100,000 jobs a month. Blue collar workers are thriving in the Trump economy –– businesses have created more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs and over 825,000 construction jobs since the 2016 election.

The unemployment rate dipped back down to 3.5 percent, matching its lowest level in 50 years. The labor force participation rate remained a robust 63.4 percent in February, matching the highest level in 7 years. 

February’s impressive job growth outpaced expectations by Dow Jones economists, who predicted that the economy would add 175,000 jobs last month.

The unemployment rate for women fell to 3.4 percent in February, its lowest in 66 years. In the Trump economy, unemployment for African-Americans, Asians, Hispanics, and other key demographics remain at or near record lows.

The main takeaway from this jobs report is clear — Trump’s economic agenda is working for American workers and the Republican Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is continuing to grow the economy two years later. While many are predicting that the coronavirus epidemic will harm growth, the fundamentals of the economy remain strong due to Trump’s pro-growth economic agenda.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore


ATR Supports the “Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act”

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Posted by Tom Hebert on Tuesday, February 18th, 2020, 2:45 PM PERMALINK

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has introduced the “Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act, “ legislation that would help equip American workers and families with the skills they need to thrive in a 21st century economy. 

Americans for Tax Reform urges all members of Congress to support this legislation. 

President Donald Trump has made expanding access to education a priority of his administration. The Cruz bill builds on this success by providing a federal tax credit to individuals that donate to nonprofit scholarship funds, which will generate new education opportunities for students of all ages and backgrounds. These new opportunities would allow men and women to seek the technical training and apprenticeships necessary to thrive in the skilled labor force.

Similar legislation has been introduced in the House by Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.), which allows for $5 billion a year in tax credits as opposed to the $10 billion provided for in the Cruz version. The Cruz legislation is cosponsored by Sens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), and Rick Scott (R-Fla.). 

18 states have already implemented similar tax credit programs to expand vocational opportunities for their residents. Cruz has worked with President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on how to best implement a federal version of this initiative. 

Key provisions of the Cruz bill include: 

  • States have the flexibility to create the programs that best work for them. States decide eligibility criteria for students, what constitutes education expenses, and more. 
  • Encourages workplace training education. In addition to the new federal tax credit, the Cruz bill will encourage scholarships for career and technical education, apprenticeships, certifications, and other forms of workforce training.
  • Prohibits federal control of education, and makes state participation optional. This bill completely closes the door on more federal control over state and local education priorities. 
  • Helps the most vulnerable students. The tax credit will give students in need vital scholarships and important opportunities to prepare them for gainful employment in the future. 
     

The “Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act” builds on the Trump administration’s success in expanding education opportunities for all Americans. If implemented, this bill would equip students of all backgrounds with the tools they need to succeed in a 21st century economy. 

ATR supports this legislation and urges its swift passage. 

Photo Credit: US Department of Education


Dems Want To Reimpose Obamacare Individual Mandate Tax On Millions

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Posted by Alex Hendrie, Tom Hebert on Tuesday, February 18th, 2020, 12:30 PM PERMALINK

The Democrat effort to repeal the Trump tax cuts would re-impose the Obamacare individual mandate tax penalty on millions of households, hitting thousands of families in every state and Congressional district.

Americans for Tax Reform has broken down the most recent IRS data on the individual mandate tax penalty by Congressional district, which you can view here.

The individual mandate was one of the most regressive taxes in the code before it was repealed in 2017 by the Republican passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Every single Democrat in the House and Senate voted against the repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate tax. 

Prior to repeal, the mandate forced households to purchase government approved health insurance or pay a tax totaling almost $700 for an individual and $2,000 for a family.

Reinstatement of this tax will hit low and middle-income families hard.

In 2017, the tax hit 4,654,990 households according to IRS data. Nationwide, roughly 74 percent of those paying the mandate had annual income of less than $50,000 and roughly 32 percent had annual income of less than $25,000. 

Key swing states that President Trump won in 2016 would be hard-hit if the Democrats reimposed the individual mandate tax penalty. 

In Pennsylvania, the tax hit 153,140 households. 

  • 56,490 of those households, or 37 percent, had annual income of less than $25,000. 
  • 121,100 of those households, or 79 percent, had annual income of less than $50,000.


In Wisconsin, the tax hit 80,240 households. 

  • 24,550 of those households, or 31 percent, had annual income of less than $25,000. 
  • 62,440 of those households, or 78 percent, had annual income of less than $50,000. 


In Michigan, the tax hit 132,750 households. 

  • 50,920 of those households, or 38 percent, had annual income of less than $25,000. 
  • 106,910 of those households, or 81 percent, had annual income of less than $50,000. 
     

Here is the breakdown from some notable House members: 

In Ways and Means Ranking Member Rep. Kevin Brady's district (R-Texas), 13,880 households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax penalty in 2017.

  • 3,270 of those households, or 24 percent, had annual income of less than $25,000.
  • 8,900 of those households, or 64 percent, had annual income of less than $50,000. 
     

In Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Richard Neal’s district (D-Mass.), 10,140 households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax penalty in 2017.

  • 3,390 of those households, or 33 percent, had annual income of less than $25,000.
  • 8,060 of those households, or 79 percent, had annual income of less than $50,000. 
     

In House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s district (D-Calif.), 9,700 households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax penalty in 2017.

  • 2,280 of those households, or 24 percent, had annual income of less than $25,000.
  • 6,050 of those households, or 62 percent, had annual income of less than $50,000. 
     

In House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s district (R-Calif.), 8,000 households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax penalty in 2017.

  • 2,530 of those households, or 32 percent, had annual income of less than $25,000.
  • 5,870 of those households, or 73 percent, had annual income of less than $25,000. 
     

[View ATR's breakdown of the most recent IRS individual mandate tax penalty data by Congressional district

Photo Credit: Nancy Pelosi - Flickr


Rep. Harris Leads Letter Against Price Controls

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Posted by Alex Hendrie, Tom Hebert on Tuesday, February 18th, 2020, 10:15 AM PERMALINK

Congressman Andy Harris (R-Md.) recently led a letter opposed to price controls as a solution to surprise medical billing.

The letter was signed by 38 other members including House Freedom Caucus Chairman Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Republican Study Committee Chairman Mike Johnson (R-La.), and House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Mark Meadows (R-N.C.).

Rep. Harris and all signers should be commended for standing against price controls.

ATR has long opposed policies that directly or indirectly impose price controls on the US healthcare system. Price controls are bad policy because they utilize government power to forcefully lower costs in a way that distorts the economically efficient behavior and natural incentives created by the free market.

In the context of surprise billing, some lawmakers have proposed using rate-setting for any payments made to out-of-network providers. Under this system, the government would set a benchmark rate to resolve out-of-network payment disputes between insurers and providers. Benchmark rate-setting would replace private negotiations between insurers and providers with government-set prices, a blatant price control on the healthcare system. 

The signers explained the numerous problems with using rate-setting to address surprise billing, noting: 

“...we oppose price controls as a solution to the issue as a solution to the issue of surprise medical billing. By design, placing such price controls on purely private transactions, would reduce access to care, increase the power of the federal government, and result in negative unintended consequences.” 

Signers also acknowledged that while Congress should act on surprise billing, any legislation that includes price controls would be a nonstarter. As the letter states: 

“Congress should act on surprise medical billing, but it should avoid top-down price controls that would simply be trading one problem for another.” 

Conservative lawmakers have consistently expressed significant opposition to price fixing mechanisms within healthcare. For instance, 192 Republicans opposed H.R. 3, legislation that would impose price controls on pharmaceutical innovation under threat of a 95 percent excise tax.

Lawmakers need to take a serious, deliberative approach in addressing surprise billing instead of rushing to pass a flawed proposal that imposes price controls on our healthcare system. 

Thankfully, conservative lawmakers are standing firm in advocating against surprise billing proposals that rely on distortionary price fixing mechanisms. 

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore


RSC GEAR Report Gives 100+ Powerful Solutions For Smaller Government

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Posted by Tom Hebert on Friday, February 14th, 2020, 11:00 AM PERMALINK

The Republican Study Committee’s (RSC) Government, Efficiency, Accountability, and Reform (GEAR) Task Force recently released a report highlighting more than one hundred commonsense solutions to move the federal government in a smaller, smarter direction. 

RSC Chairman Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) and GEAR Task Force Chairman Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.) should be commended for their efforts in creating this extensive plan of action. 

The report identifies three central problems that plague federal bureaucracy, the first being power. Runaway federal bureaucrats have seized power from Congress, and that has opened the floodgates for abuse of power in agencies like the IRS.

The GEAR report calls for a restoration of the proper balance of power between Congress and the Executive Branch. Notably, the report recommends (among many proposals): 

  • Enacting the REINS Act, which would require Congress to pass a joint resolution for any major rule within 70 days of promulgation before the rule takes effect. This legislation would fundamentally change the rule-making process and save taxpayers money by expanding Congressional oversight on major rules. 
     
  • Expanding use of the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which allows Congress to roll back recently promulgated regulations under an expedited parliamentary process. Expanding CRA use will allow Congress to use its rightful constitutional power to prevent the implementation of harmful, costly regulations. 
     
  • Codifying that CRAs apply to “regulatory dark matter,” which would encompass so-called “guidance documents” that function as de-facto regulations. The RSC plan gives Congress an expedited avenue to strike down initiatives that do not follow the CRA process.
     
  • Enact the Article I Restoration Act, which would require federal regulations to expire every three years if not specifically authorized. 
     

Of course, restoring the proper balance of power is only the first step in constraining runaway bureaucrats. Step two is reforming government practices with a special focus on eliminating waste. The report has many suggestions large and small for eliminating waste, including: 

  • Improving metrics for regulatory decision-making. In the private sector, managers do not make strategic decisions without evidence. The RSC plan would hold bureaucracy to the same standard and encourage Congress to modernize the government’s collection of metrics to ensure policymakers are informed by the best data available. 
     
  • Utilize excess federal office space. As of 2016, federal agencies own 3,120 vacant buildings and 7,859 underutilized buildings. The GEAR Task Force recommends that agencies sell unused buildings and lease office space (when appropriate) to like-minded organizations instead of letting the buildings waste taxpayer dollars for absolutely no reason. Citizens Against Government Waste projects that these reforms would save taxpayers $15 billion over the next five years. 
     
  • Stop paying dead people. In 2016, the Social Security Administration (SSA) paid out $37.7 million in benefits to 746 dead veterans. In 2015, the SSA Inspector General identified 6.5 million individuals listed as being 112 years of age or older without any recorded death information. Embarrassingly enough, the SSA has failed to curb these improper payments to deceased individuals. GEAR Task Force Chairman Rep. Greg Gianforte (Mont. – At Large) has introduced legislation that would provide a framework for SSA to partner with state and local agencies to collect and disseminate death data. 

 

Finally, the GEAR Task Force recommends that the federal government realign its personnel policies with those of the private sector. Namely, the report proposes: 

  • Modernizing the hiring process so that hiring managers can efficiently and effectively recruit highly qualified candidates to fill jobs. On average, it takes federal agencies three times longer than the private sector to hire employees. The RSC plan recommends that Congress focus on two goals in streamlining the hiring process –– empowering hiring managers to recruit outside of OPM recommendations, and automating human resource functions to more efficiently utilize taxpayer funds. 
     
  • Enact the MERIT Act so that managers can more easily remove toxic federal employees. Currently, it takes over 300 days to remove a bad employee due to the myriad red tape associated with the process. The MERIT Act offers a framework to realign firing procedures on the federal level with the efficient practices of the private sector. Additionally, the MERIT Act also limits retirement compensation and allows managers to recoup bonuses from employees who were later found to commit workplace violations. 
     
  • Provide mandatory removal of federal employees who commit crimes. In 2016, the VA demoted (but kept on staff) an individual who was convicted of assisting an armed robbery. This plan would fully empower agencies to terminate serious criminals. 
     
  • Ban taxpayer-funded union work. Under current law, federal employees are paid for engaging in union activity while on the job. The RSC plan would eliminate this and make it a fireable offense. 
     
  • Enact merit-based pay in federal agencies, which would allow managers to reward employees based on performance. Under current law, there is barely a merit-based component to the existing compensation system, and federal workers are paid based on seniority and demonstrating an “acceptable level of competence.” The RSC plan recommends moving towards a merit-based pay system that rewards exception and highly-skilled employees with appropriate compensation. 
     

The RSC GEAR Task Force report on commonsense government reform is a powerful plan of action for when Republicans take back the House majority in November. The plan is chock-full of reforms that will rein in runaway bureaucracy and leave the American people with a smaller, better, more efficient government. 

 

Photo Credit: Joe deSousa


Trump Economy Adds 225K Jobs In January

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Posted by Tom Hebert on Friday, February 7th, 2020, 11:00 AM PERMALINK

President Donald Trump’s economy added 225,000 jobs in January, smashing industry expectations and defying Democrats who said that tax cuts and deregulation were no longer spurring economic growth.

Wage growth for American workers has been at or above 3 percent for the past 18 months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report. BLS also highlighted “notable job gains” in industries like construction, transportation, and warehousing. Prior to this streak, wages had not reached 3 percent growth during the previous 10 years. Workers are also experiencing higher wage growth than managers.

In 35 of the past 38 months since Trump was elected, businesses have added more than 100,000 jobs a month. 

The unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 3.6 percent as Americans flooded the job market last month. The labor force participation rate increased to 63.4 percent, the highest level in seven years. 

January’s job growth wildly outpaced expectations by economists surveyed by Dow Jones, who predicted that January would only see 158,000 jobs added. Jobs numbers for November and December were also revised upwards. 

The main takeaway from this jobs report is clear — Trump’s economic agenda is working for American workers. The Republican Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is continuing to grow the economy over two years after Trump signed it into law. 

Businesses have responded to the tax cuts by giving employees higher wages and creating new employee benefit programs, while utility companies are passing tax savings onto consumers in the form of lower rates.

Families are also seeing direct tax reduction – a family of four with annual income of $73,000 (median family income) will see a tax cut of more than $2,058, a 58 percent reduction in federal taxes. 

The establishment press attributed this impressive job growth to the weather. This is nonsense. President Trump’s economic agenda delivered yet another month of strong jobs growth for workers all across the country.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore


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