Inflation Reduction Act? Not Likely

After multiple rounds of negotiations, the United States Senate recently passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) by a strictly partisan margin of 51-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the deciding vote in favor of the bill.  As the name implies, the purported aim of this effort, which the House of Representatives will soon consider, is to slow down the historic levels of inflation America is experiencing.  Only in Washington, D.C. could someone refer to a $750 billion bill as “anti-inflationary” with a straight face.

Talkin’ ARPA

Washington D.C. gave local governments across the country trillions of dollars through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).  To understand how that money was spent, ITR Foundation focused on a selection of cities and counties across Iowa, asking each: How much money did you get? How much have you already spent? How much is left? What did you spend ARPA […]

A History Lesson for President Joe Biden

A nation emerging from a significant pandemic and an economic downturn awaited President Joe Biden in early 2021. President Warren G. Harding inherited a similar situation after winning the 1920 election in a landslide. But Harding overcame it by getting government out of the way. The economy recovered quickly—whereas Biden enacted bad progressive policies that have resulted in a double-dip recession with 40-year high inflation.

July Revenue Figures Show Strength In Times of Uncertainty

The first month of Iowa’s new fiscal year is now behind us. While looking at a single month is just one small slice of the pie, it might be hinting at some economic trends we are seeing nationwide.  Record low unemployment could be resulting in higher than expected income tax payments, while fast growing inflation and a looming recession might be causing people to spend less of their money.

Make the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Permanent

No one knows the future direction of the American economy, but several danger signs are ahead. One is continued inflation at 40-year highs or worse — a cruel hidden tax that eats away wages and savings, with more suffering for families struggling to afford groceries and gasoline. Another is a recession triggered by high interest rates designed to fight inflation. This means job losses, lower incomes, smaller nest eggs as stock markets contract, and even tougher times for businesses reeling from supply-chain shortages.

Herbert Hoover, America’s forgotten conservative

President Herbert Hoover led a remarkable life that was based upon public service, humanitarianism, and a belief that America is an exceptional nation. Nevertheless, many conservatives today are often critical of Hoover. Some have even described President Joe Biden as the next “Herbert Hoover” because of the current state of the economy. President Hoover’s policies during the Great Depression can be debated, and they deserve more consideration, more than just the standard knee-jerk reaction often provided by many conservative and libertarian commentators. Nevertheless, Hoover deserves better from conservatives. Herbert Hoover is a forgotten conservative statesman, whose philosophy and ideas can still serve as a guide for conservatives. In reflecting on Hoover’s conservatism, Richard Norton Smith, a Hoover biographer and presidential historian, wrote that “none has more relevance to our own time than Hoover’s role as a philosopher of modern conservative thought.”

Reviving Civic Education in Iowa

If anything good has come out of the COVID-19 pandemic it is the growing awareness by parents across the nation about what is being taught in schools. This is especially true concerning civic education. For decades a crisis has existed over the decline of civic education. Numerous surveys and studies have shown that at all grade levels, including higher education, students do not have an adequate understanding of American history, American government, or Western civilization. Reform is needed to strengthen civic education in Iowa schools and the National Association of Scholars has issued social studies standards—a guide for curriculum in each classroom—that will help improve civic education in Iowa. American Birthright: The Civic Alliances Model K-12 Social Studies Standards is guide to help improve standards in civic education.

Where Did Iowa’s Local COVID Relief Funds Go?

In March 2021, the United States was in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to previous large-scale stimulus measures, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) on a party-line vote. Relief for state and local governments was among the most thoroughly debated provisions of the legislation, ultimately sending $130.2 billion to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments. Iowa cities and counties collectively received $1.162 billion. The state’s largest eleven metropolitan cities received nearly $335 million, while counties took in $612 million and smaller governments received $216 million in payments.

The Impact of the National Recession on Iowa

Politicians, policy makers, and members of the media are scrambling to redefine the term “recession” for the American public.  Sometimes these explanations are counter to the traditional economic classification of a recession which is two consecutive quarters of negative growth, as measured by the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). For anyone keeping track at home, though, the economy declined by 1.6 percent during the first […]

The Impact of the National Recession on Iowa

Politicians, policy makers, and members of the media are scrambling to redefine the term “recession” for the American public. Sometimes these explanations are counter to the traditional economic classification of a recession which is two consecutive quarters of negative growth, as measured by the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). For anyone keeping track at home, though, the economy declined by 1.6 percent during the first quarter of 2022, and the first estimate of second quarter activity is scheduled to be released on Thursday, July 28; the next announcement of GDP data could signal the arrival of a recession. That GDP release will likely follow another interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve as the FOMC tries to turn back inflation that’s at a 40-year high.

The Fight to Restore Fiscal Sanity to Congress

The record high inflation that is plaguing Americans is being fueled by out-of-control federal spending. The federal government has spent over $6 trillion on COVID-19 related pandemic stimulus measures. The most recent, American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was not even needed as most states are experiencing large surpluses. The national debt is over $30 trillion and rising, which translates to an estimated $97,500 per citizen.

Guaranteed Income Veers Away From Role of Local Government

This week’s episode of ITR Live included a discussion of the city of Des Moines’s decision to participate in a pilot program that aims to provide guaranteed income to low-income residents of central Iowa.  While this calls to mind Andrew Yang’s universal basic income proposal from 2020’s Democratic presidential primaries, one significant difference appears to be that this program is being driven by mayors across the country, rather than by the federal government.   In a city that already has a heavy property tax burden, the Des Moines City Council has committed $500,000 to a program that doesn’t fit within the traditional role of local government.

Iowa Voters High on Gov. Reynolds and Conservative Policies, while Biden Slide Continues

The most recent Iowans for Tax Relief Foundation Poll, conducted by Cygnal, shows Governor Kim Reynolds remains popular, President Joe Biden is growing more unpopular, and Iowans strongly support an amendment to the Iowa Constitution that recognizes the right to bear arms.   Additionally, a majority of Iowans support the federal government reducing taxes and spending to combat record-high inflation. Governor Reynolds […]

State Government Employment Trends

One topic that comes up frequently when we sit down with taxpayers across Iowa is the number of people our state government employs.  Iowans intuitively understand that there are very real and significant costs shouldered by the state for each member of its workforce.  For instance, the Legislative Services Agency reports in their most recent Factbook that Iowa spent over $1.5 billion in total compensation just three years ago, accounting for roughly 20% of that year’s state budget.  And that doesn’t even count employees at the three regents universities*!

Fostering a Competitive and Friendly Tax Climate

Earlier this year, Governor Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Legislature passed the largest tax relief measure in the state’s history. The historic tax reform will replace the progressive income tax with a flat 3.90 percent rate by 2026. Iowa’s corporate tax rate will also gradually phase down until it reaches a flat 5.50 percent. Starting next year, the reform will repeal all state taxes on retirement income.

The Latest Assault on our Constitution and the States

Once again it appears that policymakers in Washington, D.C. are trying to further centralize power and squeeze the sovereignty of the states. Federalism, which refers to the division of power between the federal government and the states, is a pillar of American constitutionalism.  The United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee has a bill before them that would set a dangerous precedent regarding tax policy if enacted.  It’s called the STAMP Act which stands for ‘Stop Taxes Against Menstrual Products Act of 2022’. It would tell states and local governments that they cannot levy a sales tax on the retail sale of menstrual products.

Biden’s Way or the Iowa Way

As Americans try to deal with the impact of rising inflation, President Biden had a tweet this weekend with his plan to lower gas prices. Biden’s solution is issue a command that gas stations simply lower the price. Brilliant. Chris Hagenow, Chris Ingstad and Sarah Curry get together to discuss this stunning ignorance of free market economics and the audacity to believe that the President holds the power to dictate terms to private citizens.

Unemployment Rate Continues to Fall: Biden Recession Ahead?

Iowa’s economy is in strong condition. Problems remain, such as the need for more workers to fill the thousands of open jobs throughout Iowa. Nevertheless, thanks to sound conservative fiscal policies from Governor Kim Reynolds and the legislature, the state is on a solid foundation. Conservative budgeting and pro-growth tax reforms are creating a stronger economy. However, national economic headwinds are creating problems and it appears more likely that an economic recession is imminent.