Developing Future Social Protection Systems: Retirement Income

Developing Future Social Protection Systems: Retirement Income. World Economic Forum. February 27, 2013.

Developed countries and emerging markets alike are facing substantial challenges as a result of changing demographics, fiscal constraints, economic instability and volatile financial markets. It is apparent that there is a need not only to address the long-term problems associated with these challenges but also to take short-term action. The report assesses, on the basis of economic indicators, the fiscal sustainability of various retirement income pillars of 36 countries. Moreover, it evaluates the inherent risks, challenges and opportunities of current retirement income schemes in general and for each individual pillar. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 36 pages, 2.2 MB].

Natural Disasters as Threats to Peace

Natural Disasters as Threats to Peace. U.S. Institute of Peace. Frederick S. Tipson. February 2013.

As natural disasters and extreme environmental events increase in severity, it is time to consider how vulnerabilities brought on by population growth, urbanization, economic fragility, and climate change could lead to deadly conflict. The report argues that policymakers should look beyond the familiar, more imminent threats and make plans to deal with the natural security implications of less likely but higher impact scenarios. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 17 pages, 871.74 KB].

Millennium Challenge Corporation

Millennium Challenge Corporation. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Curt Tarnoff. February 13, 2013.

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) provides economic assistance through a competitive selection process to developing nations that demonstrate positive performance in three areas: ruling justly, investing in people, and fostering economic freedom. Established in 2004, the MCC differs in several respects from past and current U.S. aid practices.

[PDF format, 47 pages, 478.84 KB].

Middle Childhood Success and Economic Mobility

Middle Childhood Success and Economic Mobility. Center on Children and Families at Brookings. J. Lawrence Aber. February 15, 2013.

The study uses data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999 (ECLS-K) to analyze competencies that children need to master by the end of elementary school, the extent to which they are doing so, what might be done to improve their performance, and how this might affect their ultimate ability to earn a living and their chances of being middle class by middle age. Both academic skills and socio-emotional skills contribute to core competency. It measures core competence at age eleven using five outcomes: math skills, reading skills, self-regulation, behavior problems, and physical health. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 24 pages, 532 KB].

From Free-Fall to Stagnation: Five Years After the Start of the Great Recession, Extraordinary Policy Measures are Still Needed, but Are not Forthcoming

From Free-Fall to Stagnation: Five Years After the Start of the Great Recession, Extraordinary Policy Measures are Still Needed, but Are not Forthcoming. Economic Policy Institute. Josh Bivens et al. February 14, 2013.

What we now call the Great Recession officially began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009, but damage wrought by its severity continues. While the U.S. economy has avoided another recession, growth since mid-2009 has been too sluggish to move the economy out of its depressed state and restore it to full health. Employment fell in the overall economy as well as in the private sector for eight straight months after the recession’s official end in June 2009. Even as of December 2012, five years since the beginning of the recession, the unemployment rate stood at 7.8 percent the last year before the Great Recession hit. Further, this 7.8 percent unemployment rate rivals or exceeds the peak unemployment rates reached in the wake of recessions in the early 1990s and early 2000s. The paper provides an overview of the state of the U.S. economy five years after the onset of the Great Recession. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 29 pages, 1.09 MB].

Cars, Trucks, and Climate: EPA Regulation of Greenhouse Gases from Mobile Sources

Cars, Trucks, and Climate: EPA Regulation of Greenhouse Gases from Mobile Sources. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. James E. McCarthy and Brent D. Yacobucci. February 14, 2013.

On October 15, 2012, the Obama Administration took a major step toward reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from motor vehicles when it promulgated GHG emission standards for model year 2017-2025 light duty vehicles. Under the standards, GHG emissions from new cars and light trucks will be reduced about 50% by 2025 compared to 2010, and average fuel economy standards will rise to nearly 50 miles per gallon. EPA had previously set GHG emission standards for MY2012-2016 vehicles as well as for 2014-2018 model year medium- and heavy-duty trucks.These steps have been taken as the Congress (particularly the House) and the Administration have reached an impasse over climate issues. The Administration has made clear that its preference would be for Congress to address the climate issue through new legislation. Nevertheless, in the wake of a 2007 Supreme Court decision, it has moved forward on several fronts to define how theClean Air Act will be used and to promulgate regulations. The key to using the CAA’s authority to control greenhouse gases was for the EPA Administrator to find that GHG emissions are air pollutants that endanger public health or welfare.

[PDF format, 22 pages, 383.85 KB].

The US Focuses on Its Homefront: Americans Worry about Terrorist Threat, but Want President Obama to Tackle Economy First

The US Focuses on Its Homefront: Americans Worry about Terrorist Threat, but Want President Obama to Tackle Economy First. YaleGlobal. Bruce Stokes. February 6, 2013.

So far, President Barack Obama is signaling that he’ll focus most attention on improving the economy during his last four years in office. That’s in line with priorities listed in a Pew Research Center survey: More than 80 percent list the economy as a “top priority”; more than 70 percent list jobs, the budget deficit, education, Social Security protection each as a “top priority.” The survey was conducted in mid-January among more than 1,500 adults. Except for defending the country against future terrorist attacks, international concerns like trade or even climate change were not ranked as top priorities by a majority of the respondents. Respondents were not keen on intervention in Syria or strengthening the U.S. military; 94 percent are opposed to Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. Of course, attitudes shift as new crises emerge. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Small Business Administration Microloan Programs

Small Business Administration Microloan Programs. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Robert J. Dilger. February 12, 2013.

The Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) Microloan program provides direct loans to qualified non-profit intermediary Microloan lenders who, in turn, provide “microloans” of up to $50,000 to small business owners, entrepreneurs, and non-profit child care centers. It also provides marketing, management, and technical assistance to Microloan borrowers and potential borrowers. The program was authorized in 1991 as a five-year demonstration project and became operational in 1992. It was made permanent, subject to reauthorization, in 1997. The SBA’s Microloan program is designed to assist women, low-income, veteran, and minority entrepreneurs and small business owners and other individuals possessing the capability to operate successful business concerns by providing them small-scale loans for working capital or the acquisition of materials, supplies, or equipment. In FY2012, Microloan intermediaries provided 3,973 Microloans amounting to $44.7 million. The average Microloan was $11,254 and had a 8.18% interest rate.

[PDF format, 21 pages, 308.14 KB].

Carbon Taxes and Corporate Tax Reform

Carbon Taxes and Corporate Tax Reform. Urban Institute. Donald Marron and Eric Toder. February 11, 2013.

The revenues from a carbon tax could help finance lower corporate tax rates, extending business tax preferences, or other corporate tax reforms. Such a tax swap would reduce the environmental risks of carbon emissions and improve the efficiency of America’s corporate tax system. But it would also pose a significant distributional challenge. A carbon tax would fall disproportionately on low-income families, while corporate tax cuts would disproportionately benefit those with high incomes. Policymakers may want to use some revenue to offset those impacts. They may also want to use some carbon revenues for deficit reduction, notes authors. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 18 pages, 677.2 KB].

Is the US Ready To Be Number Two?

Is the US Ready To Be Number Two? YaleGlobal. Kishore Mahbubani. February 11, 2013.

In 1980, the U.S. economy was more than 10 times larger than China’s, yet by 2017, China with its rapid growth could have the largest share of global GDP, more than 18 percent, according to International Monetary Fund projections. U.S. leaders have not prepared their citizens for this “great convergence,” suggests Mahbubani. Still, much of the world has pivoted toward U.S. values and standards. Education, science and technology have united the world around some best practices. Cooperation is still needed on global challenges like climate change, Mahbubani argues, and a system of global governance, would be useful. Principles of democracy, recognition of power balances and the rule of law should guide any systems of global governance, he writes. This era of convergence may be best suited for adjusting old systems or building new ones. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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