Did Technology Kill the Truth?

Did Technology Kill the Truth? Brookings Institution. Tom Wheeler. November 14, 2017

We carry in our pockets and purses the greatest democratizing tool ever developed. Never before has civilization possessed such an instrument of free expression.

Yet, that unparalleled technology has also become a tool to undermine truth and trust. The glue that holds institutions and governments together has been thinned and weakened by the unrestrained capabilities of technology exploited for commercial gain. The result has been to de-democratize the internet. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[HTML format, various paging].


Clearing the Air on the Debt Limit

Clearing the Air on the Debt Limit. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. D. Andrew Austin, Kenneth R. Thomas. November 2, 2017

The statutory debt limit, currently suspended through December 8, 2017, provides Congress a means of controlling federal borrowing. As the date when that suspension will lapse approaches, discussions about the role of the debt limit among the media, researchers, and Members of Congress promise to become more frequent. In recent discussions, misleading or less than fully accurate claims have, at times, surfaced. This report provides clarifications on five common debt limit contentions.

Some of those points in need of clarification relate to the congressional power of the purse, which stems from three closely related constitutional provisions that charge Congress with deciding how the federal government spends, taxes, and borrows.

[PDF format, 15 pages, 576.01 KB].

U.S. Natural Gas in the Global Economy

U.S. Natural Gas in the Global Economy. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Sarah Ladislaw et al. November 1, 2017

This report summarizes a one-day CSIS-International Energy Agency (IEA) workshop held in May 2017, with government, industry, and policy experts exploring the outlook for natural gas markets in the global energy landscape. The workshop addressed key issues concerning the role of natural gas in North America, as well as the evolving strategic role of U.S. natural gas exports and liquefied natural gas markets (LNG) in the global energy system. The workshop was the third in a three-part workshop series, with the first workshop examining key issues concerning the role of U.S. tight oil production in the global economy and the second workshop focusing on the societal and environmental risks associated with U.S. onshore oil and gas development. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 29 pages, 377.34 MB].

Digitalization and the American Workforce

Digitalization and the American Workforce. Brookings Institution. Mark Muro et al. November 2017

In recent decades, the diffusion of digital technology into nearly every business and workplace, also known as “digitalization,” has been remaking the U.S. economy and the world of work. The “digitalization of everything” has at once increased the potential of individuals, firms, and society while also contributing to a series of troublesome impacts and inequalities, such as worker pay disparities across many demographics, and the divergence of metropolitan economic outcomes.

In light of that, this report presents a detailed analysis of changes in the digital content of 545 occupations covering 90 percent of the U.S. workforce in all industries since 2001. The analysis categorizes U.S. occupations into jobs that require high, medium or low digital skills and tracks the impacts of rapid change.
The full report concludes with implications of the key findings and suggests ways communities can work with firms and workers to spread the benefits of digitalization while mitigating its potentially harmful effects. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 60 pages, 2.98 MB].

Kids’ Share 2017: Report on Federal Expenditures on Children through 2016 and Future Projections

Kids’ Share 2017: Report on Federal Expenditures on Children through 2016 and Future Projections. Urban Institute. Julia B. Isaacs. October 31, 2017.

Public spending on children by federal, state, and local governments is an investment in the nation’s future because it supports children’s healthy development, helping them fulfill their potential.
To help interested stakeholders assess the government’s investment in children, this 11th edition of the annual Kids’ Share report provides an updated analysis of federal expenditures on children from 1960 through 2016. It also projects federal expenditures on children through 2027 to give a sense of how budget priorities may unfold absent changes to current law. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 60 pages, 7.56 MB].

The Global Gender Gap Report 2017

The Global Gender Gap Report 2017. World Economic Forum. November 2, 2017.

Gender parity is fundamental to whether and how economies and societies thrive. Ensuring the full development and appropriate deployment of half of the world’s total talent pool has a vast bearing on the growth, competitiveness and future-readiness of economies and businesses worldwide. The Global Gender Gap Report benchmarks 144 countries on their progress towards gender parity across four thematic dimensions: Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment. In addition, this year’s edition also analyses the dynamics of gender gaps across industry talent pools and occupations. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 361 pages, 10.90 MB].

Electoral College Reform: Contemporary Issues for Congress

Electoral College Reform: Contemporary Issues for Congress. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Thomas H. Neale. October 6, 2017

The electoral college method of electing the President and Vice President was established in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution and revised by the Twelfth Amendment. It provides for election of the President and Vice President by electors, commonly referred to as the electoral college. A majority of 270 of the 538 electoral votes is necessary to win.

The electoral college has been the subject of criticism and proposals for reform since before 1800. Constitutional and structural criticisms have centered on several of its features: (1) although today all electors are chosen by the voters in the presidential election, it is claimed to be not fully democratic, since it provides indirect election of the President; (2) it can lead to the election of candidates who win the electoral college but fewer popular votes than their opponents, or to contingent election in Congress if no candidate wins an electoral college majority; (3) it results in electoral vote under- and over-representation for some states between censuses; and (4) “faithless” electors can vote for candidates other than those they were elected to support.

Legislative and political criticisms include (1) the general ticket system, currently used in all states except Maine and Nebraska, which is alleged to disenfranchise voters who prefer the losing candidates in the states; (2) various asserted “biases” that are alleged to favor different states and groups; and (3) the electoral college “lock,” which has been claimed to provide an electoral college advantage to both major parties at different times.

[PDF format, 31 pages, 801.16 KB].