Foreign Aid: An Introduction to U.S. Programs and Policy

Foreign Aid: An Introduction to U.S. Programs and Policy. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Curt Tarnoff and Marian L. Lawson. June 17, 2016.

Foreign assistance is a fundamental component of the international affairs budget and is viewed by many as an essential instrument of U.S. foreign policy. On the basis of national security, commercial, and humanitarian rationales, U.S. assistance flows through many federal agencies and supports myriad objectives, including promoting economic growth, reducing poverty, improving governance, expanding access to health care and education, promoting stability in conflictive regions, countering terrorism, promoting human rights, strengthening allies, and curbing illicit drug production and trafficking. Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, foreign aid has increasingly been associated with national security policy. At the same time, foreign aid is seen by many Americans, and Members of Congress, as an expense that the United States cannot afford given current budget deficits.

[PDF format, 38 pages, 1.1 MB].

The Islamic State and U.S. Policy

The Islamic State and U.S. Policy. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Christopher M. Blanchard and Carla E. Humud. June 14, 2016.

The Islamic State (IS, aka the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL/ISIS, or the Arabic acronym Da’esh) is a transnational Sunni Islamist insurgent and terrorist group that controls large areas of Iraq and Syria, has affiliates in several other countries, has attracted a network of global supporters, and disrupts international security with its campaigns of violence and terrorism. The U.S.-led coalition military campaign against the Islamic State organization in Iraq and Syria has adapted since 2014, as Administration officials and coalition partners have implemented changes in strategy and tactics that have reduced the area controlled by the group and eliminated thousands of its personnel. While the Islamic State has suffered losses on the ground in Iraq, Syria, and Libya, a series of terrorist attacks attributed to the group or to individuals it has inspired have claimed hundreds of lives on four continents since November 2015, including in the United States. These incidents are creating a more global sense of urgency about further weakening the group and preventing future attacks.

[PDF format, 33 pages, 1.21 MB].

Improving Education for Migrant-Background Students: A Transatlantic Comparison of School Funding

Improving Education for Migrant-Background Students: A Transatlantic Comparison of School Funding. Migration Policy Institute. Julie Sugarman et al. June 2016.

The report focuses on four countries, Canada, France, Germany, and the United States, shedding light on supplementary funding mechanisms targeted to migrant-background students, and some of the key challenges and strategies decisionmakers are wrestling with as they attempt to ensure that additional resources are used effectively. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[HTML format with a link to the full text PDF file].

Suing and Spewing

Suing and Spewing. Center for American Progress. Erin Auel. June 24, 2016.

According to the report, the power producers affiliated with the lawsuits against the EPA’s Clean Power Plan are responsible for 1.2 billion tons of carbon pollution each year. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 24 pages, 218.29 KB].

Partisanship and Political Animosity in 2016

Partisanship and Political Animosity in 2016. Pew Research Center. June 22, 2016.

The 2016 campaign is unfolding against a backdrop of intense partisan division and animosity. Partisans’ views of the opposing party are now more negative than at any point in nearly a quarter of a century. For the first time in surveys dating to 1992, majorities in both parties express not just unfavorable but very unfavorable views of the other party. And today, sizable shares of both Democrats and Republicans say the other party stirs feelings of not just frustration, but fear and anger. More than half of Democrats (55%) say the Republican Party makes them “afraid,” while 49% of Republicans say the same about the Democratic Party. Among those highly engaged in politics – those who say they vote regularly and either volunteer for or donate to campaigns – fully 70% of Democrats and 62% of Republicans say they are afraid of the other party. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 105 pages, 2.05 MB].

Social Media and the Workplace

Social Media and the Workplace. Pew Research Center. Kenneth Olmstead et al. June 22, 2016.

Social media influences and permeates many aspects of daily life for Americans today, and the workforce is no exception. These digital platforms offer the potential to enhance worker productivity by fostering connections with colleagues and resources around the globe. At the same time, employers might worry that employees are using these tools for non-work purposes while on the job or engaging in speech in public venues that might reflect poorly on their organization. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 15 pages, 611.92 KB].

Back to the Future of Global Health Security

Back to the Future of Global Health Security. Council on Foreign Relations. Thomas J. Bollyky and Steve Davis. May 31, 2016.

To contain infectious disease outbreaks like Zika and Ebola, global health authorities must learn from past efforts to motivate the private and nonprofit sectors around problems of the poor, according to the authors. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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The Greek Public Debt Problem

The Greek Public Debt Problem. Levy Econmics Institute of Bard College. Michalis Nikiforos et al. May 2016.

The paper examines the issue of the Greek public debt from different perspectives. It provides a historical discussion of the accumulation of Greece’s public debt since the 1960s and the role of public debt in the recent crisis. A solution to the Greek public debt problem is a necessary but not sufficient condition for the solution of the Greek and wider European crisis. A broader agenda that deals with the malaises of the Greek economy and the structural imbalances of the eurozone is of vital importance. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 31 pages, 522.1 KB].

For First Time in Modern Era, Living With Parents Edges Out Other Living Arrangements for 18- to 34-Year-Olds

For First Time in Modern Era, Living With Parents Edges Out Other Living Arrangements for 18- to 34-Year-Olds. Pew Research Center. Richard Fry. May 24, 2016.

Broad demographic shifts in marital status, educational attainment and employment have transformed the way young adults in the U.S. are living, and the analysis of census data highlights the implications of these changes for the most basic element of their lives – where they call home. In 2014, for the first time in more than 130 years, adults ages 18 to 34 were slightly more likely to be living in their parents’ home than they were to be living with a spouse or partner in their own household. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 27 pages, 693.33 KB].

Shared, Collaborative and On Demand: The New Digital Economy

Shared, Collaborative and On Demand: The New Digital Economy. Pew Research Center. Aaron Smith. May 19, 2016.

A number of new commercial online services have emerged in recent years, each promising to reshape some aspect of the way Americans go about their lives. Some of these services offer on-demand access to goods or services with the click of a mouse or swipe of a smartphone app. Others promote the commercialized sharing of products or expertise, while still others seek to connect communities of interest and solve problems using open, collaborative platforms. These services have sparked a wide-ranging cultural and political debate on issues such as how they should be regulated, their impact on the changing nature of jobs and their overall influence on users’ day-to-day lives. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 85 pages, 2.51 MB].