Reforming The Government’s Housing Finance System Without Fixing It

By Ike Brannon and Mark Calabria On Tuesday the Senate Banking Committee will be voting on legislation to reform our current system of government-sponsored enterprises (or GSEs) in the housing market and their role in helping to finance home mortgages, with the full Senate possibly voting as well later this year. And not a moment […]

Rule of Law For Me, Not For Thee

This article originally appeared at the Weekly Standard. Click here to read the full article. By Ike Brannon Should the government give different protections to different classes of property owners based on a politician’s ability to demonize them? The Senate Banking Committee may weigh in on this matter when it considers a proposal to reform[…..]

The Meaninglessness of the SEC Pay Disclosure Rule

This article originally appeared in Regulation. Click here to read the full article. By Ike Brannon and Sam Batkins A Lawyer in Illinois recently billed a client for working 180 hours in a week. The client paid the bill, even though a week is only 168 hours long. The client wasn’t being foolish—he knew how[…..]

Income Inequality and the NBA

This article originally appeared in Regulation. Click here to read the full article. By Ike Brannon If income inequality in the United States is growing, how much effort should we put into reversing it? The answer to that question depends on the answers to two further questions: how much would dampening inequality also dampen economic[…..]

The Paths to Mortgage Finance Reform and Their Budgetary Implications

This article originally appeared at Cato. Click here to read the full paper. By Ike Brannon and Mark Calabria The passage of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act in July of 2008 expanded the federal government’s authority to place Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into conservatorship. As exercised, under the conservatorship the government secured the[…..]

I’ve Saved Thousands of Dollars Waiting to Get on ObamaCare

This article originally appeared in the Weekly Standard. Click here to read the full article. By Ike Brannon My wife woke up Saturday with a badly swollen knee. We had no idea what could have caused it—her hot yoga class puts her in poses that put stress on the knee but she didn’t remember the knee hurting[…..]

The Food Truck Farce

 This article originally appeared at the Weekly Standard. Click here to read the full story. By Ike Brannon About a year ago, the government of Washington, D.C., introduced a lottery system to allocate lunch hour parking spots for the city’s booming food truck industry. The one-year retrospectives have been almost uniformly positive, with the government,[…..]

Innovation and Productivity Go Hand in Hand

This article originally appeared in the George W. Bush Institute. Click here to read the full article. By Ike Brannon The end of Christmas has always struck me as a melancholy time.  Fortunately, my spirit is always buoyed by two of my favorite events which occur shortly thereafter: (1) the Pekin (Illinois) Insurance Holiday Basketball[…..]

How to Fix the Pro Bowl

This article originally appeared in The Weekly Standard. Click here to read the full article. By Ike Brannon Unlike you, I will be watching the Pro Bowl this weekend, albeit grudgingly. I’m not going to pretend it’s good football. I will watch because it’s the closest thing on television to pro football this weekend, and staring at[…..]

How the Obama Administration Stole Fannie and Freddie

This article originally appeared at National Review’s The Corner. Click here to read the full article. By Ike Brannon Last month, the federal government fully extricated itself from its investment in General Motors, selling its remaining shares on the stock market. The government injected almost $50 billion into the company to save it from a[…..]

Praise for French Policy Reforms

This article originally appeared in the George W. Bush Institute. Click here to read the full article. By Ike Brannon It’s hard not to feel a little sorry for French President François Hollande. After all, few have ascended to such power while looking so impotent. For starters, there is the perception that the nomination more[…..]

Immigration and the Texas Boom

This article originally appeared in the George W. Bush Institute. Click here to read the full article. By Ike Brannon While I write for the George W. Bush Institute, which is based on the SMU campus in Dallas, I live and work in Washington DC, a few thousand miles away as the crow flies and light-years removed[…..]

Copyright Law Reform? Elementary.

This article originally appeared in the Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada. Click here to read the full article. By Logan Albright Good news for all you aspiring fan fiction writers out there! At long last, 125 years after Arthur Conan Doyle first set pen to paper to craft “A Study in Scarlet,” the beloved[…..]

The Tax Reform Chasm Widens

This article originally appeared in the George W. Bush Institute. Click here to read the full article. By Ike Brannon If the cliché is true that D.C. is simply high school writ large, then the annual dinner of the Tax Foundation is its party for nerds who can’t get dates to the prom. Every November[…..]

After a Month of Trying, I Still Can’t Sign Up for Obamacare

This article originally appeared in the Weekly Standard. Click here to read the full article. By Ike Brannon After a month of trying, I still can’t complete an application to join the D.C. Health Exchange. For a week, the Obamacare marketplace asked me to prove my citizenship, my daughter’s existence, and my fixed address in the[…..]

White House Skirts the Law in Expanding Davis-Bacon

This article originally appeared in Regulation. Click here to read the full article. By Ike Brannon and Sam Batkins The Obama administration did a small favor for unions last spring by declaring that land surveyors are henceforth covered by the Davis-Bacon Act, which requires that workers be paid the “prevailing” union wage when employed by[…..]

The Fruits of Gridlock

This article originally appeared in Regulation. Click here to read the full article. By Ike Brannon Innovations spread through an economy in complicated ways, especially when we look beyond the private sector. For instance, economists have noted that the surprisingly slow adoption of leading-edge medical practices across the United States mirrors the glacially slow propagation[…..]

The Fruits of a Failed Dissertation: Ed Clarke, 1939-2013

This article originally appeared in Regulation. Click here to read the full article. By Ike Brannon IN MEMORIAM With the recent announcement of the 2013 winners of the Nobel Prize for economics came the sad news of the passing of Ed Clarke, who likely was on the award’s short-list. While Clarke is virtually unknown to[…..]

Tax Reform: Break-Up Edition

This article originally appeared at the George W. Bush Institute. Click here for the original article. By Ike Brannon As I was finishing graduate school I began dating a comely woman who happened to be in her last year of school as well. A couple of months into what I thought was a pretty good[…..]

Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac Exemplify The Horrors Of Crony Capitalism

This article originally appeared in Forbes. Click here to read the full article. By Ike Brannon Nothing exemplifies the cost of crony capitalism like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. For years these fiefdoms were run as little more than as piggy banks for connected politicians, who could count on substantial financial support for re-election, and[…..]

Could Dan Snyder End Publicly Financed Stadiums?

This article originally appeared in Regulation. Click here to read the full article. By Ike Brannon Back around the turn of the century I was a newly minted economics professor living in Oshkosh, Wisc., a picturesque city 40 miles southwest of Green Bay and deep in the heart of Packerland. I was also (and remain[…..]

A Better Way to Measure Growth

This article originally appeared in the George W. Bush Institute. Click here to read the full article. By Ike Brannon One of the ostensible reasons the Fed gave for its recent decision to hold off on the taper is that the economic data haven’t been that great. Chairman Ben Bernanke specifically pointed to the moribund[…..]

Warning Pollution

This article originally appeared in The American. Click here to read the full article. By Ike Brannon There was a small craft weather advisory for the Greater Washington D.C. area recently, which I know because my weather app duly notifies me of all weather alerts in the region. There was also one the day before,[…..]

The Case for a Carbon Tax

This article originally appeared at the George W. Bush Institute. Click here to read the full article. By Ike Brannon In his scintillating new book about the American revolution, “The Men Who Lost America,” the historian Andrew O’Shaughnessy reports that upon receiving word that the British Army had surrendered at Yorktown, King George III sent[…..]

Economic Sanctions On Russia Would Be Worse Than Futile

By Ike Brannon President Obama is naturally distressed about Russia’s reprehensible behavior in Ukraine, and would like to punish Russia and nudge President Vladimir Putin to de-escalate the situation. Most of Congress shares his distress. But there is little the United States — despite its economic hegemony — can do by itself that would meaningfully[…..]

How a Fight with Rick Santorum made an IRS Commissioner

This article originally appeared in Salon. Click here to read the full story. By Ike Brannon While President Obama fired IRS commissioner Steven Miller this week for failing to stop the enhanced scrutiny the IRS gave 501c4 applications with conservative missions, most of the activity happened under a man who was never supposed to get[…..]

Why You Just May Come to Like a Carbon Tax

This article originally appeared in Real Clear Markets. Click here to read the full article. By Ike Brannon Tax reform may involve simplifying the tax code, but actually achieving such a thing promises to be a terrifyingly complicated process. The battle over how (and by how much) to reduce the various tax deductions, credits and[…..]

Is America’s Workforce Disabled or Just Discouraged?

This article originally appeared in RedState. Click here to read the full article. By Logan Albright Over the past forty years, the number of Americans receiving disability benefits from the federal government has increased more than six-fold. This is an alarming statistic any way one looks at it, but the implications of it are far[…..]

Time for a Carbon Tax?

This article originally appeared at The George W. Bush Institute. Click here to read the full article. By Ike Brannon The New York Times reports that the E.U. Parliament has elected to not remove carbon tax credits from the market, despite the price plunging from a peak of nearly €30 per ton to below €3[…..]

Solving the Parking Problem in DuPont Circle

By Ike Brannon One of our neighbors bought a genuine London Cab a couple of years ago. Importing such a vehicle is very challenging: the new cabs off the assembly line do not meet US emissions laws and those that qualify as antiques—and thus are exempt from such standards—are usually rusted through and unusable. The[…..]