Fiscal Effects of COVID-19

Fiscal Effects of COVID-19. Brookings Institution.  Alan J. Auerbach et al. September 24, 2020 

The COVID-19 pandemic and the associated policy responses have had a significant impact on government budgets. Federal spending has skyrocketed. State and local governments, almost all of which face some form of annual balanced budget rule, confront fiscal shocks on both the revenue and spending sides that threaten to make the recession deeper and slow the recovery. This paper examines the impact of COVID on the fiscal status of the federal government and the states. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 98 pages].

Identifying TV Political and Issue Ad Sponsors in the Digital Age

Identifying TV Political and Issue Ad Sponsors in the Digital Age. Congressional Research Service. Dana A. Scherer. September 9, 2020

Since the 1930s, both Congress and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have imposed specific requirements on the transmission of political and issue advertising by broadcasters. These rules, which now apply to broadcast radio and television stations, cable and satellite television distributors, and satellite radio services, mandate that the sponsors of political and issue ads be clearly identified within each announcement and that media organizations maintain files of political advertisers’ requests for advertising time and make those files available for public inspection.

[PDF format, 34 pages].

Has the Paycheck Protection Program Succeeded?

Has the Paycheck Protection Program Succeeded? Brookings Institution.  Glenn Hubbard and Michael R. Strain.  September 23, 2020

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) substantially increased the employment, financial health, and survival of small businesses during the COVID-19 lockdowns of April and May and as the economy began reopening in June, finds a paper to be discussed at the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity (BPEA) conference on September 24.

But the authors—Glenn Hubbard of the Columbia Business School and Michael R. Strain of the American Enterprise Institute—caution that it is too early to issue a conclusive judgment on its success. And they suggest that future support for small businesses, as the economy evolves to meet post-lockdown needs, should be less focused on maintaining pre-lockdown employment relationships. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 69 pages].

2021: The Crucial Year for Social Order-Global Order Transformational Changes

2021: The Crucial Year for Social Order-Global Order Transformational Changes. Brookings Institution. Colin I. Bradford. October 12, 2020

The underlying political driver of the current tensions in the global order is the actual or potential failure of economies to deliver social outcomes that are politically sustainable. This is not just a phenomenon that brought about Brexit and Boris Johnson in the U.K. or Trump in the U.S. This has been and is the drama of developing economies for decades, the source of social unrest in Eastern Europe, the fear of the Communist Party of China, and the discontent of Europeans with the strictures of the EU. It is global and deep seated; sweeping and systemic.

 Populist nationalism is on the rise and authoritarianism is increasing as a result. The easy road for politicians to take today is to appeal to national strength and rally their publics around the flag. The hard road to take is to seize on this moment of hyper-interconnectivity revealed by the COVID-19 crisis and realize that strong multilateral cooperation and coordination are essential for global health and economic recovery in the short run and systemic transformation in the medium and long run.

The urgent necessity is for governments, societies, and firms to realize that there is no going back to normal, that systemic crises require systemic change and that social priorities and people-centered policies are vital to restoring confidence in markets and governance. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 25 pages].

An Assessment of State Voting Processes: Preparing for Elections During a Pandemic

An Assessment of State Voting Processes: Preparing for Elections During a Pandemic. RAND Corporation.  Jennifer Kavanagh et al. August 5,2020.

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has presented a severe threat to state election plans in 2020 for primaries and for the general election. To conduct an election during the COVID-19 pandemic, states need registration and voting options that minimize direct personal contact and that reduce crowds and common access to high-touch surfaces. Another way to think about preparedness for conducting elections during a pandemic is to consider the flexibility that state election processes afford in terms of where, when, and how voters can get registered and cast votes. Particularly valuable to flexibility in the pandemic context are options that allow for the registration and voting processes to happen remotely or in ways that reduce person-to-person contact. In this report, the authors summarize state election laws on early voting, remote voting, and voter registration and discuss the potential implications of these laws for the execution of the November 2020 general election under conditions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. This report is part of RAND’s Countering Truth Decay initiative, which is focused on restoring the role of facts, data, and analysis in U.S. political and civil discourse and the policymaking process. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 82 pages].

Attitudes on Voting in 2020: Preparing for Elections During a Pandemic

Attitudes on Voting in 2020: Preparing for Elections During a Pandemic. RAND Corporation.  Jennifer Kavanagh, C. Ben Gibson, Quentin E. Hodgson. August 27, 2020.

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has presented a severe threat to state election plans in 2020 for primaries and for the general election. To conduct an election during a potentially continuing threat from COVID-19, states need to consider how to conduct voter registration and provide voting options. How voters perceive and respond to these measures could affect turnout. RAND authors analyzed responses from 2,389 survey respondents about their expectations for public safety, election integrity, and the preparedness of local officials to manage the November 2020 election in the pandemic context. Responses indicate that both demographic characteristics and political partisanship influence respondent attitudes toward election safety, integrity, and preparedness. Although most voters say they believe that voting will be safe and that their vote will be counted despite the pandemic, those who question election safety and some who question election integrity appear less likely to vote. This report is part of RAND’s Countering Truth Decay initiative, which is focused on restoring the role of facts, data, and analysis in U.S. political and civil discourse and the policymaking process. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 96 pages].

Disinformation as a Wicked Problem: Why We Need Co-Regulatory Frameworks

Disinformation as a Wicked Problem: Why We Need Co-Regulatory Frameworks. Brookings Institution. Molly Montgomery. August 2020

As the harmful effects of disinformation and other online problems on individuals and societies become increasingly apparent, governments are under pressure to act. Initial attempts at self-regulation via mechanisms such as voluntary codes of conduct have not yielded the desired results, leading policymakers to turn increasingly to top-down regulation. This approach is destined to fail.

Disinformation and other online problems are not conventional problems that can be solved individually with traditional regulation. Instead, they are a web of interrelated “wicked” problems — problems that are highly complex, interdependent, and unstable — and can only be mitigated, managed, or minimized, not solved. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 14 pages].

From Industrial Policy to Innovation Strategy: Lessons from Japan, Europe, and the United States

From Industrial Policy to Innovation Strategy: Lessons from Japan, Europe, and the United States. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Dylan Gerstel, Matthew P. Goodman. September 1, 2020

In response to today’s economic challenges—particularly managing the Covid-19 pandemic and the rise of China—prominent U.S. policymakers and political figures on both sides of the aisle, as well as business leaders, have called for more active government efforts to boost domestic production and innovation. However, there is significant disagreement about how to do so.

This report focuses on the role of government in supporting innovation in critical technologies, although there are other challenges—notably Covid-19—where greater federal intervention could be appropriate. To help further the discussion, we reviewed historical approaches to industrial policy in three advanced democracies: Japan, Western Europe, and the United States. Reflecting on those experiences, we present in this report a set of ten “first principles” intended to guide a more active U.S. innovation strategy to reaffirm the country’s leadership in critical technologies. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 41 pages].

Americans’ Views of Government: Low Trust, but Some Positive Performance Ratings

Americans’ Views of Government: Low Trust, but Some Positive Performance Ratings. Pew Research Center.  September 14, 2020

Majorities in both parties say federal government should play a major role on public health, economy, many other areas

For years, public trust in the federal government has hovered at near-record lows. That remains the case today, as the United States struggles with a pandemic and economic recession. Just 20% of U.S. adults say they trust the government in Washington to “do the right thing” just about always or most of the time.

Today, these differences are even wider among voters who support Trump and those who back Joe Biden. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 38 pages].

After Disruption: Historical Perspectives on the Future of International Order

After Disruption: Historical Perspectives on the Future of International Order. Center for Strategic & International Studies. September 2, 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has intensified the debate about whether world order is undergoing a fundamental change. Cornerstones of the post-1945 system—economic globalization, democratic governance, and U.S. leadership—face headwinds. At home, some Americans question whether international institutions and the order they underpin still serve the national interest.

In this critical moment, the Project on History and Strategy asked seven leading international historians to offer their insights about the relationship between disorder and order. How is order remade after pandemics, wars, and revolutions? How do different visions of order get resolved? Who contributes to the making of new orders? Can a faltering order be rehabilitated? Does “might” always make order, or can smaller actors shape the game? Does order emerge from ad hoc responses to specific problems, or can a master blueprint become reality? Collectively the historians produced insightful essays spanning four centuries of upheaval. They recapture the interplay of personality, power, and the forgotten contingency at the core of order-building efforts. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 70 pages].