Measuring the Health of the Liberal International Order

Measuring the Health of the Liberal International Order. RAND Corporation. Michael J. Mazarr et al. September 5, 2017.

As part of a larger study on the future of the post-World War II liberal international order, RAND researchers analyze the health of the existing order and offer implications for future U.S. policy. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 229 pages, 1.41 MB].

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Care and Connections: Bridging Relational Gaps for Foster Youths

Care and Connections: Bridging Relational Gaps for Foster Youths. Brookings Institution. Ramona Denby-Brinson, Efren Gomez, and Richard V. Reeves. September 14, 2017

In the United States, more than 20,000 youths “age out” of foster care each year. But leaving foster care presents its own challenges. Only 55 percent of former foster youths report having a high school diploma or GED by the time they’re 19, compared with 87 percent of their peers in the population sample.

Significant efforts are made by policymakers at all levels to improve educational, social and economic outcomes for this at-risk group, with mixed results.

One way to help improve the outcomes of foster youths may be to focus on relationship-building skills. Research suggests that healthy and supportive relationships improve life chances for foster youth. But so far there have been relatively few attempts to build insights into these programs and practice.

In “Care and connections: Bridging relational gaps for foster youths” (PDF), Ramona Denby-Brinson, Efren Gomez, and Richard V. Reeves explore the steep challenges of implementing and evaluating relationship-based interventions in child welfare. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 23 pages, 741.48 KB].

Trends in European Terrorism: 1970-2016

Trends in European Terrorism: 1970-2016. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Anthony Cordesman. August 18, 2017

This report provides summary statistical data on the trends in Western and Eastern Europe. It focuses on START and IHS Jane’s data, but also includes data from other sources – including the one useful current official source on terrorism in the world that presents declassified official data. This is the annual report on terrorism which is issued by Europol and the EU.

If one looks at the START data on the total for Western and Eastern Europe, which includes Russia, the impact of terrorism peaks in the 1970s. It rises again in 1991, driven by terrorist attacks in the Balkans, Palestinian violence, and terrorism in the FSU and Russia. It then peaks for a third time in 2014-2015, driven by both violent Islamist extremism and terrorist activity in the Ukraine. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 57 pages, 2.66 MB].

Social Security: What Would Happen If the Trust Funds Ran Out?

Social Security: What Would Happen If the Trust Funds Ran Out? Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. William R. Morton, Wayne Liou. September 12, 2017

Social Security’s income and outlays are accounted for through two federal trust funds: the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund and the Federal Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund. Under their intermediate assumptions and under current law, the Social Security trustees project that the DI Trust Fund will become depleted in 2028 and the OASI Trust Fund will become depleted in 2035. Although the two funds are legally separate, they are often considered in combination. The trustees project that the combined Social Security trust funds will become depleted in 2034. At that point, revenue would be sufficient to pay only about 77% of scheduled benefits.

[PDF format, 21 pages, 890.68 KB].

Social Security: The Trust Funds

Social Security: The Trust Funds. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. William R. Morton, Wayne Liou. September 12, 2017

The Social Security program pays monthly cash benefits to retired or disabled workers and their family members and to the family members of deceased workers. Program income and outgo are accounted for in two separate trust funds authorized under Title II of the Social Security Act: the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund and the Federal Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund. Projections show that the OASI fund will remain solvent until 2035, whereas the DI fund will remain solvent until 2028, meaning that each trust fund can pay benefits scheduled under current law in full and on time up to that point. Following the depletion of trust fund reserves (2028 for DI and 2035 for OASI), continuing income to each fund is projected to cover 93% of DI scheduled benefits and 75% of OASI scheduled benefits. The two trust funds are legally distinct and do not have authority to borrow from each other. However, Congress has authorized the shifting of funds between OASI and DI in the past to address shortfalls in a particular fund. Therefore, this CRS report discusses the operations of the OASI and DI trust funds on a combined basis, referring to them collectively as the Social Security trust funds. On a combined basis, the trust funds are projected to remain solvent until 2034. Following depletion of combined trust fund reserves at that point, continuing income is projected to cover 77% of scheduled benefits.

[PDF format, 21 pages, 863.81 KB].

Ending Family Homelessness: An Opportunity for Pay-for-Success Financing

Ending Family Homelessness: An Opportunity for Pay-for-Success Financing. Urban Institute. Maya Brennan et al. August 15, 2017.

In the United States, approximately 150,000 families with 330,000 children stay in a homeless shelter each year. Millions more are housing insecure and at risk of homelessness. The family homelessness problem in the United States is large but solvable, and solutions are known to have broader benefits for children’s well-being, quality of life, and long-term life outcomes. Solutions to family homelessness may even yield net cost savings to governments. Yet the problem persists for two main reasons: political will and artificial budget divisions. State and local governments can use the pay-for-success model to finance public services to help overcome these hurdles. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 21 pages, 286.75 KB].

Chasing Disaster: The Risks of Fast, Furious or Fake News

Chasing Disaster: The Risks of Fast, Furious or Fake News. YaleGlobal. Humphrey Hawksley. September 19, 2017

Disasters no longer seem like rare events with the internet and smartphones delivering instant, compelling stories for a global audience that is curious, observant and active on social media. Experiencing disaster, then being in the public eye, can be traumatic, and so Britain’s National Health Service has issued warnings about the risks of using social media after terrorist attacks or giving personal accounts to journalists. Most odious are false reports drafted to misdirect responsibility and create an atmosphere of mistrust. Both social media and journalism have been lifelines during the recent hurricanes and earthquake in the Americas, flooding in South Asia and the flight of thousands of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar after years of mistreatment. News reports are linked with increased aid and lessons in preparation, and Humphrey Hawksley urges fellow journalists and the public to keep three factors in mind when assessing disasters: sourcing, the reporter’s role and impact of disaster coverage. “News coverage of natural disasters and war have long been pivotal at tugging heart strings and forcing changes to government policy,” he concludes. “Journalism has always been laced with vested interests and advocacy. The danger today is the immediacy in which inaccuracy speeds around the world, fueling emotions and decisions. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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