Identity Theft: Trends and Issues

Identity Theft: Trends and Issues. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Kristin Finklea. January 16, 2014.

Policymakers continue to be concerned with securing the economic health of the United States, including combating those crimes that threaten to undermine the nation’s financial stability. Identity theft, for one, poses both security and economic risks. An increase in globalization and a lack of cyber borders provide an environment ripe for identity thieves to operate from within the nation’s borders, as well as from beyond. Federal law enforcement is thus challenged with investigating criminals who may or may not be operating within U.S. borders; may have numerous identities, actual, stolen, or cyber; and may be acting alone or as part of a sophisticated criminal enterprise. In addition, identity theft is often interconnected with various other criminal activities. The report first provides a brief federal legislative history of identity theft laws. It analyzes selected trends in identity theft, including prevalent identity theft-related crimes, the federal agencies involved in combating identity theft, and the trends in identity theft complaints and prosecutions. The report also discusses the relationship between data breaches and identity theft as well as possible effects of the FTC’s Identity Theft Red Flags Rule. It also examines possible issues for Congress to consider.

[PDF format, 31 pages, 512.50 KB].

5 Growing Threats to America’s Cities: Federal Investments in Resiliency Needed in the Face of Extreme Weather

5 Growing Threats to America’s Cities: Federal Investments in Resiliency Needed in the Face of Extreme Weather. Center for American Progress. Matt Kasper and Daniel J. Weiss. January 23, 2014.

Weather events have been dominating the news recently thanks to the “polar vortex” that caused record cold temperatures across the nation. But just a few months ago, the news was filled with other events: record rain and flooding in Colorado; destructive tornadoes in Oklahoma; widespread drought in the Southwest; and the sluggish recovery from Superstorm Sandy in New Jersey. Unlike the record cold, however, these extreme weather events are becoming more commonplace. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 10 pages, 141.59 KB].

Deficit Reduction Declines as Policy Priority

Deficit Reduction Declines as Policy Priority. Pew Research Center. January 27, 2014.

For the first time since Barack Obama took office in 2009, deficit reduction has slipped as a policy priority among the public. Overall, 63% say reducing the budget deficit should be a top priority for Congress and the president this year, down from 72% a year ago. Most of the decline has come among Democrats: Only about half of Democrats – 49% – view deficit reduction as a top priority, down 18 points since last January. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 39 pages, 686.75 KB].

Is the United States Still a Land of Opportunity? Recent Trends in Intergenerational Mobility

Is the United States Still a Land of Opportunity? Recent Trends in Intergenerational Mobility. National Bureau of Economic Research. Raj Chetty et al. January 27, 2014.

The report presents new evidence on trends in intergenerational mobility in the U.S. using administrative earnings records. It finds that percentile rank-based measures of intergenerational mobility have remained extremely stable for the 1971-1993 birth cohorts. For children born between 1971 and 1986, the report measures intergenerational mobility based on the correlation between parent and child income percentile ranks. Based on research, it finds that children entering the labor market today have the same chances of moving up in the income distribution, relative to their parents, as children born in the 1970s. However, because inequality has risen, the consequences of the “birth lottery” – the parents to whom a child is born – are larger today than in the past. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 33 pages, 964 KB].

New Realities: Energy Security in the 2010s and Implications for the U.S. Military – Executive Summaries

New Realities: Energy Security in the 2010s and Implications for the U.S. Military – Executive Summaries. Strategic Studies Institute. John R. Deni, Ed. January 8, 2014.

The rapidly changing global energy supply situation, coupled with a host of social, political, and economic challenges facing consumer states, has significant implications for the United States generally and for the U.S. military specifically. The U.S. Army War College gathered experts from the policymaking community, academia, think tanks, the private sector, and the military services at the Reserve Officers Association in Washington, DC on 19-20 November 2013 to address first the major ‘new realities’ both geographically and technologically and then the specific military implications. This compendium of executive summaries is based on the presentations delivered at that conference, which was funded through the generous support of the U.S. Army War College Foundation. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[HTML format with a link to the full text PDF file, 47 pages, 2.28 MB].

Most See Inequality Growing, but Partisans Differ over Solutions

Most See Inequality Growing, but Partisans Differ over Solutions. Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. January 23, 2014.

There is broad public agreement that economic inequality has grown over the past decade. But as President Obama prepares for Tuesday’s State of the Union, where he is expected to unveil proposals for dealing with inequality and poverty, there are wide partisan differences over how much the government should – and can – do to address these issues. The survey, conducted Jan. 15-19 among 1,504 adults, finds that 65% believe the gap between the rich and everyone else has increased in the last 10 years. This view is shared by majorities across nearly all groups in the public, including 68% of Democrats and 61% of Republicans. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 19 pages, 589.14 KB].

Worries About the World Economy for 2014

Worries About the World Economy for 2014. YaleGobal. David Dapice. December 20, 2013.

Uncertainty and uneasy interdependence characterize a 2014 forecast on global economic growth. High rates of unemployment persist in developed economies while emerging economies rely on those nations for exports and jobs for their own citizens. The International Monetary Fund forecasts 3.5 percent growth for 2014 – or less – and economist David Dapice analyzes factors that could hamper that growth: The US Federal Reserve is pulling back from monthly bond purchases pouring massive liquidity into global markets; congressional priorities remain skewed. Europe and Japan post low growth amid many policy challenges. China’s growth is higher, but it must maintain jobs while reducing pollution. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[HTML format, various paging].

Europe’s Societal Challenges: An analysis of global societal trends to 2030 and their impact on the EU

Europe’s Societal Challenges: An analysis of global societal trends to 2030 and their impact on the EU. RAND Corporation. Stijn Hoorens et al. December 18, 2013.

Investing in citizens, preparing for a new growth paradigm and reinventing government are the tasks that lie ahead for the incoming European Commission and newly elected MEPs in 2014, to ensure Europe is resilient in the face of global societal trends in the next two decades, according to the report . “We observe a trend of rising inequality between citizens in the EU, which is at odds with one of the Union’s core values,” said Stijn Hoorens, lead author of the study and project leader at RAND Europe in Brussels. “The EU is expected to enter an era of long-term slow economic growth. Therefore, it cannot rely on productivity growth as the engine for well-being in the coming decades.” [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 160 pages, 15.03 MB].

Raising the Federal Minimum Wage to $10.10 Would Lift Wages for Millions and Provide a Modest Economic Boost

Raising the Federal Minimum Wage to $10.10 Would Lift Wages for Millions and Provide a Modest Economic Boost. Economic Policy Institute. David Cooper. December 19, 2013.

This paper provides an analysis that reflects higher state minimum wages and the changes in economic conditions over the past year. It begins by providing some context for the current minimum wage and the Harkin-Miller proposal, describing how today’s minimum and the proposed new minimum compare with historical benchmarks. It then provides a demographic overview of the workers who would be affected (both directly and indirectly) by raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10. Finally, it details the GDP and job creation effects that would occur as a result of such an increase. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 22 pages, 421.33 KB].

Information Resellers: Consumer Privacy Framework Needs to Reflect Changes in Technology and the Marketplace

Information Resellers: Consumer Privacy Framework Needs to Reflect Changes in Technology and the Marketplace. U.S. Government Accountability Office. December 18, 2013.

Members of Congress and others have raised privacy concerns about information resellers (data brokers) and consumer information. In part, their concerns stem from consumers not always knowing the nature and extent of the information collected and how it is used. Growing use of the Internet, social media, and mobile applications has intensified privacy concerns because these media greatly facilitate gathering of personal information, tracking of online behavior, and monitoring of individuals’ locations and activities. This statement for the record discusses (1) existing federal laws and regulations on the privacy of consumer information held by information resellers, (2) any gaps that may exist in this legal framework, and (3) views on approaches for improving consumer data privacy.

http://gao.gov/assets/660/659770.pdf Highlights [PDF format, 1 page, 83.61 KB].

http://gao.gov/assets/660/659769.pdf [PDF format, 22 pages, 908.26 KB].