Reed College and University of California, Berkeley
It is still too early to gauge the impact of the TCJA, but the experience of other countries that have lowered corporate tax rates in the hopes of boosting investment and wages isn't encouraging. For the U.S., the tax rate reduction is benefiting companies that already had excess profits, and is unlikely to significantly alter their investment decisions. And for companies looking to finance investment through debt, under the TCJA debt-financed investments are less favorably treated.
Many people think that discrimination is wrong, and the law reflects this. Moreover, discrimination is likely to create economic inefficiencies as qualified members of groups that suffer discrimination are not matched to jobs that make the most use of their abilities and talents. But to combat discrimination, we need to know the sources and the extent of the problems in order to design effective policies. Well-intentioned policies can have unforeseen adverse consequences. For example, "Ban the Box", a popular policy that prevents employers from asking about someone’s criminal record until late in the job application process, had the unintended consequence of reducing employment opportunities for young, low-skill black men who did not have criminal convictions.
Stricter border enforcement over the past couple of decades has meant that undocumented immigrants are less likely to come and go, meaning that they are more likely to settle and more likely to have been in the U.S. for ten years or more.
The availability of subsidized flood insurance may have muted the effects of the increase in flood risk in the last decades on housing values. The appropriate policy response to the challenges arising from sea level rise will not be the same everywhere. Fortification and resiliency measures will be appropriate in some areas, but “graceful depopulation” will be the optimal response in other areas. In the latter cases, the NFIP is the most promising tool at the hands of the federal government to incentivize households and businesses to gradually relocate toward less flood-prone areas. The recent reforms to the NFIP go in the right direction. There is a lot at stake. Billions of dollars in damage from future flooding episodes, loss of life and unmeasurable human suffering.
Reducing the restrictions that scope-of-practice rules place on advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants is likely associated with sizable benefits for the public. Many restrictions that are not uniformly applied across the United States — including those limiting practitioner autonomy and the ability to write prescriptions — do not appear to be justified by better health care outcomes. Given that these limitations hinder access to care and impose costs on providers themselves and on the flexible operation of health-care labor markets, they generally do not seem to provide benefits that exceed their costs.