Niskanen Center Profile picture
A moderate, nonpartisan think tank that works to promote an open society and change public policy through direct engagement in the policymaking process.
Leonard Balsera Profile picture 1 added to My Authors
Mar 24 16 tweets 8 min read
NEW PAPER AND THREAD: Why are climate economists' favorite tools (carbon pricing/emissions trading) so despised?

@dolanecon shows where economists have missed the mark or failed to make themselves understood - and how they can do better. niskanencenter.org/are-economists… Are economists are wrong when they advocate carbon taxes/emissions trading as central elements of climate policy? Plenty of dedicated climate activists (some of whom are economists themselves) say "yes."
Mar 21 8 tweets 7 min read
The U Visa backlog is out of control.

The bigger it gets, the more danger immigrant crime victims are in. And the worse U.S. public safety gets.

Congress must increase the cap & clear the backlog.

NEW COMMENTARY: niskanencenter.org/a-broken-syste… The #Uvisa backlog as of the end of FY 2021 stands over 170,000. It grew by an average of 16,000+ applications annually between FY 2011 - FY 2021.

Using these numbers, if NO NEW U visa petitions were filed, it would take over 17 years to completely clear the backlog.

17 years. Image
Mar 7 13 tweets 6 min read
THREAD: NYC's framing of/response to violent crime as a recent problem is driven by politics and emotion.

It completely ignores neighborhoods that - due to lack of investment - never experienced safety in the first place. 1/ niskanencenter.org/as-nyc-mourns-… We're going to take a look at the history of crime prevention in the 32nd Precinct of Harlem and compare it to more privileged neighborhoods that got more attention. The discrepancies we see could provide essential clues for improving policy today.
2/
Feb 3 4 tweets 2 min read
NEW from @Robert_t_Orr: Renewing the expanded #ChildTaxCredit for ALL ages is the best way forward.

But a child allowance for children ages 6 and younger is the next best option.

Why? Because young kids are the most likely to face poverty.

MORE: niskanencenter.org/why-young-fami… Workers only hit their peak earnings years between 35 and 54. So young parents tend to have fewer financial resources to invest in their child’s needs.
Feb 2 5 tweets 2 min read
THREAD: #Ukrainians already in the U.S. should have a way to stay in the U.S. as tensions continue to rise. The Biden admin should prepare to protect them using two tools:

1. Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
2. Special Student Relief (SSR).
1/
nytimes.com/live/2022/02/0… DHS can designate a country for TPS due to ongoing armed conflict, environmental disaster, or other circumstances, like threat of invasion, etc. TPS would allow eligible Ukrainians in the U.S. to remain here until they could return home safely. 2/ uscis.gov/humanitarian/t…
Jan 27 9 tweets 3 min read
NEW from @AaronChalfin: In 1990, NYC experienced 2,220+ homicides. By 2011, it only had 515.

Then, against everyone's wildest expectations, homicides fell again.

What went right? Gang takedowns may be part of the answer.

THREAD: niskanencenter.org/how-a-focused-… After NYC's first major homicide decline in the '90s, NYPD continued to make a concerted effort to combat violent crimes, relying on sustained surveillance of communities. This policy was best known for brief detainments called "stop-question-frisk." Image
Sep 9, 2021 17 tweets 7 min read
NEW REPORT+THREAD: The price tags of essential services like education, child care, etc., are out of control.

The progressive approach? Socialize the costs.

But cutting regulations that limit the supply of these services is the ONLY way to address the root of the problem. The problem with the progressive approach of guaranteeing affordability via subsidies is:

(1) Public debts/deficits can’t grow without limit
(2) Subsidies will cover up the bloat and waste and drive costs up further (we’ll throw out a few examples).
Aug 26, 2021 12 tweets 3 min read
NEW REPORT + THREAD: Most middle-class people don’t realize it, but the eventual need for long-term care (LTC) will force many of them to drain their savings and face impoverishment.

This is arguably the biggest hole in the American social safety net. niskanencenter.org/how-to-fix-lon… Medicare doesn’t cover long term care expenses, forcing people to pay out of pocket unless they are poor enough to qualify for Medicaid or are among the few with private LTC insurance

A huge swath of the middle-class will be forced to burn through their savings in short order.
Aug 24, 2021 10 tweets 4 min read
NEW REPORT w/ @cleanaircatf: To manage climate change, the U.S. must double or triple the size of its electric transmission system - and the current piecemeal approach isn’t going to cut it.

We’ve got 2 proposals to scale transmission rapidly: niskanencenter.org/report-how-are… To make progress, the U.S. must address the tension between private and public interest. It will also need to find inclusive ways to plan and develop transmission in the national interest that gets buy-in by ensuring broad enough benefits as well as compensation for burdens.
Jun 23, 2021 17 tweets 8 min read
NEW PAPER and THREAD: The waiting list for green cards has grown well into the millions.

The wait times = decades.

Cost to the U.S. economy = billions.

Recapturing these green cards is possible and will add billions to the U.S. GDP.
niskanencenter.org/stop-the-incin… Administrative errors and #COVID19 have left hundreds of thousands of green card slots unused.

(Want more on how GCs work and why we have the slots that we have? See this from @chooseboundless).
boundless.com/immigration-re…
Jun 22, 2021 7 tweets 3 min read
THREAD: @POTUS’s announcement that the U.S. will donate 500 million #COVID19 vaccine doses in the next year will save lives.

It will protect people abroad and make Americans safer too.

BUT we must do even more. 1/
Fighting the spread of dangerous variants means that the U.S. won't have to consider reimposing or extending travel restrictions to protect public health.

The faster the world is vaccinated, the sooner our lives and economy can return to normal. 2/
May 28, 2021 4 tweets 3 min read
We applaud Sens. @amyklobuchar / @SenatorCollins for re-introducing bipartisan legislation to address physician shortages in the U.S.

The bill would allow international doctors trained in the U.S. to remain here if they practiced in underserved areas.
klobuchar.senate.gov/public/index.c… As @SpeakSamuel wrote in 2018 the U.S. "is facing a growing doctor shortage—which could reach 121,300 by the year 2030." (That was before the pandemic stretched our HC system and professionals to a near-breaking point!).

niskanencenter.org/foreign-doctor…
May 26, 2021 4 tweets 2 min read
THREAD: @jenniferdoleac and @annalilharvey share the results of the latest @CJExpertPanel poll:

niskanencenter.org/policing-and-p… Statement 1: Increasing police budgets will improve public safety.

Respondents generally agreed, but noted that what the budget was used, and the type policing mattered. Image
May 18, 2021 9 tweets 3 min read
THREAD: Expanding the police force can actually help fix racial disparities in public safety (deterring and protecting against major crimes).

It’s the overzealous policing of MINOR crimes that tends to harm communities of color. 1/ niskanencenter.org/when-cities-ad… The Defund movement tends to focus on the SIZE of the police force, but the end goal is better policing that improves public safety for everyone, as @ProfFortner has demonstrated. The type of policing matters. 2/
Mar 16, 2021 10 tweets 3 min read
NEW PAPER via @Alon_Levy: Why is American infrastructure so expensive?

We have urgent infrastructure needs. Meeting those needs would create jobs.

But not until we stop making critical mistakes. So let’s look at what other countries are doing right. 1/
niskanencenter.org/report-so-you-… Infrastructure creates more long-term productive potential for the economy and society. It improves productivity and living standards. But most countries spend a fraction of what the U.S. does, with better results. 2/
Nov 19, 2020 27 tweets 10 min read
THREAD: In the absence of Congressional action on immigration reform, administrations have taken charge. The result? Unpredictable policies that disrupt businesses and families.

It’s time for Congress to step in. Here are 15 reforms to prioritize. niskanencenter.org/redefining-imm… This is not a comprehensive plan for immigration reform; it’s a shortlist of the ideas that will most obviously benefit Americans.

Nativist sentiment permeates American politics right now. It's important to demonstrate how immigration reform can serve the national interest.
Oct 5, 2020 36 tweets 11 min read
MASSIVE NEW PAPER: Last year, we released our policy vision that rejected the false dichotomy of “pro-market” and “pro-government."

We've transformed this into a concrete agenda, our blueprint for the "free-market welfare state" THREAD 1/
niskanencenter.org/faster_fairer/… The focus of our efforts is not to provide a complete program to save America. In this agenda, we’re addressing the problem of restoring inclusive prosperity — revitalizing lagging economic dynamism while ensuring that the rewards of such dynamism are broadly shared. 2/
Oct 1, 2020 25 tweets 7 min read
NEW PAPER and THREAD: “Defunding the police” does not enjoy broad public support in Black communities.

Most voters prefer reform (community groups, a larger social safety net, and limits on police violence) over abolishment. 1/ niskanencenter.org/reconstructing… First, some history. It’s been common to portray African Americans as passive victims of policies. This downplays the intentionality and purpose behind Black leaders’ long struggle for public safety in their communities in the ‘80s and ‘90s. 2/
Sep 24, 2020 12 tweets 7 min read
THREAD: A @CIS_org report claims that refugees cost the govt more than they contribute. But the report inflates costs and reaches overconfident conclusions.

Left plot: CIS estimates. Right plot: w/ descendant effects and w/o educational downgrading niskanencenter.org/the-weak-case-… .@CIS_org's method of calculating avg refugee cost: 1) start with estimates of the lifetime fiscal impact of immigrants by age+edu from @theNASEM report 2) add costs for refugee resettlement/welfare, 3) apply estimates to refugees based on their age+education in the 2016 (ASR).
Sep 24, 2020 10 tweets 5 min read
STARTING NOW: Hear from @Blitterman, @RepRooney, Matt Sonnesyn, @CFTCbehnam, and @khilldavis as they discuss implications of climate change risk to the U.S. financial system.

We'll also be live-tweeting the event in this thread. us02web.zoom.us/webinar/regist… "From a political and from a 'what's right' point of view, climate change is a central issue. Republicans have left the discussion entirely, but Florida is ground zero. People are starting to realize that." - @RepRooney Image
Sep 22, 2020 16 tweets 7 min read
THREAD: For the first time since the passage of the 1980 Refugee Act, the U.S. is no longer the world’s leader in refugee resettlement.

A NEW PAPER by @IdeanSalehyan and Larry Yungk lays out 5 measures we must take if we are to save this program. 1/ niskanencenter.org/restoring-the-… Historically, there has been broad, bipartisan support for the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP).

The Trump administration has politicized the idea of refugee assistance and has slashed refugee admissions across the board. 2/ niskanencenter.org/how-trump-poli…