The Damage Done By Recessions and How To Respond

The Damage Done By Recessions and How To Respond. Brookings Institution. Heather Boushey et al.  May 16, 2019

From December 2007 to June 2009, the United States experienced the longest and most-severe recession since World War II. Although the Great Recession was particularly damaging, recessions occur frequently and are devastating to workers, families, and the overall economy. Historically, the United States has responded to these downturns with a combination of monetary and fiscal policies, the majority of which are discretionary. In this paper, we discuss some of the concerns about relying too much on discretionary policy, highlighting opportunities to make greater use of automatic fiscal stabilization. Automatic stabilizers are designed to expand during an economic downturn and contract during an expansion—providing timely and temporary fiscal stimulus. This paper assesses the various policy responses available to the federal government and argues that when well designed, automatic stabilizers can be an effective part of the policy tool kit for responding to recessions. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 38 pages].

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Americans See Advantages and Challenges in Country’s Growing Racial and Ethnic Diversity

Americans See Advantages and Challenges in Country’s Growing Racial and Ethnic Diversity. Pew Research Center. Juliana Menasce Horowitz. May 8, 2019

Most value workplace diversity, but few want employers to consider race or ethnicity in hiring and promotion decisions

As the United States becomes more racially and ethnically diverse, and as companies from Wall Street to Silicon Valley grapple with how to build workforces that reflect these changing demographics, Americans have a complicated, even contradictory, set of views about the impact of diversity and the best way to achieve it. Most say it’s a good thing that the country has a diverse population, but many also say this introduces its own set of challenges. And while a majority values workplace diversity, few endorse the idea of taking race or ethnicity into consideration in hiring and promotions, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 20 pages].

Presidential Terms and Tenure: Perspectives and Proposals for Change

Presidential Terms and Tenure: Perspectives and Proposals for Change. Congressional Research Service. Thomas H. Neale. Updated April 15, 2019

The President and Vice President’s terms of office are prescribed by the Constitution and four of its amendments. Additional amendment proposals to change the conditions of presidential terms and tenure were regularly introduced during the second half of the 20th century, but much less frequently to date in the 21st. Two categories of amendment predominated during this period: one variant proposed repeal of the Twenty-Second Amendment, thus permitting Presidents to be elected an unlimited number of times. Another category of proposed amendment would have extended the presidential and vice-presidential terms to six years, often in combination with a requirement limiting Presidents to one term.  No measure to repeal the Twenty-Second Amendment or otherwise change the presidential term of office has been introduced to date in the 116th Congress. This report will be updated if events warrant.

[PDF format, 35 pages].

The Higher Road: Forging a U.S. Strategy for the Global Infrastructure Challenge

The Higher Road: Forging a U.S. Strategy for the Global Infrastructure Challenge. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Matthew P. Goodman et al. April 23, 2019

Over the next 15 years, more hard infrastructure is projected to be built around the world than currently exists. This global build-out is already underway, and the changes it brings will only accelerate. Infrastructure projects, especially in the transport, energy, information and communications technology (ICT), and water sectors, have long been recognized as the backbone of modern economies. Going forward, emerging digital infrastructure, including fifth-generation (5G) networks, remote sensing, and other advanced technologies, will be especially critical. As our infrastructure is transformed, so will be the economies it fuels, the regions it connects, and the global commons it underpins. These trends are too powerful and potentially beneficial for the United States to stop, and too consequential to ignore. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 61 pages].

Evaluation of North Carolina’s Pathways from Prison to Postsecondary Education Program

Evaluation of North Carolina’s Pathways from Prison to Postsecondary Education Program. RAND Corporation. Lois M. Davis, Michelle C. Tolbert. May 22, 2019

RAND researchers focus on North Carolina’s implementation of the Pathways from Prison to Postsecondary Education Project. They examine the in-prison and community components of the program and the experiences of Pathways students and staff. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 112 pages].

Virtual Currencies and Money Laundering: Legal Background, Enforcement Actions, and Legislative Proposals

Virtual Currencies and Money Laundering: Legal Background, Enforcement Actions, and Legislative Proposals. Congressional Research Service.  Jay B. Sykes, Nicole Vanatko. April 3, 2019

Law enforcement officials have described money laundering—the process of making illegally obtained proceeds appear legitimate—as the “lifeblood” of organized crime. Recently, money launderers have increasingly turned to a new technology to conceal the origins of illegally obtained proceeds: virtual currency. Virtual currencies like Bitcoin, Ether, and Ripple are digital representations of value that, like ordinary currency, function as media of exchange, units of account, and stores of value. However, unlike ordinary currencies, virtual currencies are not legal tender, meaning they cannot be used to pay taxes and creditors need not accept them as payments for debt. While virtual currency enthusiasts tout their technological promise, a number of commentators have contended that the anonymity offered by these new financial instruments makes them an attractive vehicle for money laundering. Law enforcement officials, regulators, and courts have accordingly grappled with how virtual currencies fit into a federal anti-money laundering (AML) regime designed principally for traditional financial institutions.

[PDF format, 17 pages].

Analyse Widely, Act Deeply: Forest and Farm Producer Organisations and the Goal of Climate Resilient Landscapes

Analyse Widely, Act Deeply: Forest and Farm Producer Organisations and the Goal of Climate Resilient Landscapes. International Institute for Environment and Development. James Mayers. April 2019.

Local organisations, thriving among smallholders dependent on adjacent forests or trees growing on their farms, constitute perhaps the world’s biggest and most effective force for improved rural livelihoods and sustainability. They face fast-changing pressures. Many are likely to find it useful to have an organisational goal of contributing to climate resilient landscapes. Various international programmes can help in understanding and supporting such contributions – especially through practical actions for climate adaptation and mitigation, and forest restoration. ‘Landscape approaches’ are helpful for analysing the various connected issues, while context-specific politically-savvy planning is needed for effective action. This paper explores the possible motivations and actions for climate resilient landscapes amongst four different sorts of forest and farm producer organisations (FFPOs): indigenous peoples’ organisations, community forest organisations, forest and farm producer groups, and processing groups in urban and peri-urban contexts. The Forest and Farm Facility (FFF) aims to help FFPOs to further develop and pursue such practical actions over the next five years. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 28 pages].