Social Security: What Would Happen If the Trust Funds Ran Out?

Social Security: What Would Happen If the Trust Funds Ran Out? Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. William R. Morton, Wayne Liou. September 12, 2017

Social Security’s income and outlays are accounted for through two federal trust funds: the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund and the Federal Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund. Under their intermediate assumptions and under current law, the Social Security trustees project that the DI Trust Fund will become depleted in 2028 and the OASI Trust Fund will become depleted in 2035. Although the two funds are legally separate, they are often considered in combination. The trustees project that the combined Social Security trust funds will become depleted in 2034. At that point, revenue would be sufficient to pay only about 77% of scheduled benefits.

[PDF format, 21 pages, 890.68 KB].

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Middle Class: Winners or Losers in a Globalized World?

Middle Class: Winners or Losers in a Globalized World? Center for Global Development. Nancy Birdsall. August 3, 2017.

Globalization is under attack in the West. The debate among pundits is no longer about whether globalization is to blame or not. It is about why globalization is now the bugaboo it has become.

Is the resistance to globalization grounded in economic losses for the once-secure middle class citizens of the Western-style democracies, and the fear of future losses for them and their children? Has anti-globalization grown because the growth of trade has brought economic competition from China, reducing high-wage manufacturing jobs, and more immigrants taking once steady working class “trades” and construction and other service jobs? Or is the anti-globalization movement (Trump’s America First) a by-product of what we call, in the United States, the “culture wars?” Is the rise of protectionism and anti-immigrant, nationalist xenophobia fundamentally about inchoate resentment of a new “cosmopolitan” elite: the corporate “Davos men,” bankers, lawyers, “experts,” even academics, whose globalist attitudes and networks are unmooring Western societies from allegiances to traditional nationalist, ethnic, and religious customs and values? [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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How Americans Perceive the Workplace: Results from the American Working Conditions Survey

How Americans Perceive the Workplace: Results from the American Working Conditions Survey. RAND Corporation. Nicole Maestas et al. August 14, 2017.

For many Americans, the workplace is hectic, hazardous, and physically demanding — yet many retirees would still consider rejoining the workforce if the right opportunity came along.
Those are just a few of the results from the American Working Conditions Survey — one of the most in-depth surveys ever undertaken about the American workplace. This brief presents highlights from the survey, conducted by investigators from Harvard University, the RAND Corporation, and the University of California, Los Angeles.
(Half of American workers say that they work in their free time to meet workplace demands, 63 percent feel that they are doing useful work, and 46 percent of retirees age 50 and older say that they would return to work if conditions were right.) [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 8 pages, 1.52 MB].

Globally, People Point to ISIS and Climate Change as Leading Security Threats: Concern About Cyberattacks, World Economy Also Widespread

Globally, People Point to ISIS and Climate Change as Leading Security Threats: Concern About Cyberattacks, World Economy Also Widespread. Pew Research Center. Jacob Poushter and Dorothy Manevich. August 1, 2017.

People around the globe identify ISIS and climate change as the leading threats to national security, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. The survey asked about eight possible threats. While the level and focus of concern varies by region and country, ISIS and climate change clearly emerge as the most frequently cited security risks across the 38 countries polled. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 32 pages, 1.29 MB].

Is Europe An Optimal Political Area?

Is Europe An Optimal Political Area? Brookings Institution. Alberto Alesina, Guido Tabellini, and Francesco Trebbi. March 23, 2017

In “Is Europe an optimal political area?” Harvard University’s Alberto Alesina, Bocconi University’s Guido Tabellini and University of British Columbia’s Francesco Trebbi examine 15 EU countries and Norway from 1980-2009 to determine if the so-called European political project was “too ambitious.”
The authors examine cultural differences among European citizens along fundamental dimensions such as trust, obedience, and religiosity, finding that European cultural differences are widening in spite of an increasingly more economically integrated Europe from the 1980-2009. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 58 pages, 1.49 MB].

The State of Languages in the U.S.: A Statistical Portrait

The State of Languages in the U.S.: A Statistical Portrait. American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 2016

While English continues to be the lingua franca for world trade and diplomacy, there is an emerging consensus among leaders in business and politics, teachers, scientists, and community members that proficiency in English is not sufficient to meet the nation’s needs in a shrinking world.

This report summarizes the nation’s current language capacity, focusing on the U.S. education system. The disparity between our goals—most notably the preparation of citizens who can thrive in the twenty-first century—and the nation’s current capacity in languages will be the subject of a forthcoming report from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Commission on Language Learning. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 28 pages, 1.39 MB].

What It Takes to Truly Be ‘One of Us’

What It Takes to Truly Be ‘One of Us’. Pew Research Center. Bruce Stokes. February 1, 2017.

The tide of people moving across the world, be they immigrants or refugees, has sparked concern in Australia, Europe and the United States. In particular, the ethnic, linguistic and cultural background of migrants has triggered intense debates over the benefits and the costs of growing diversity and the risk of open borders to national identity. Unease over the cultural, economic and security ramifications of immigration helped to fuel the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, encourage the idea of a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border and broaden support for right-wing populist parties in France, Germany and the Netherlands.

Debates over what it means to be a “true” American, Australian, German or other nationality have often highlighted the importance of a person being born in a particular country. But contrary to such rhetoric, a Pew Research Center survey finds that people generally place a relatively low premium on a person’s birthplace. Only 13% of Australians, 21% of Canadians, 32% of Americans and a median of 33% of Europeans believe that it is very important for a person to be born in their country in order to be considered a true national. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 34 pages, 1.06 MB].