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Daily Archives: June 19, 2013

The Financial Legacy of Iraq and Afghanistan: How Wartime Spending Decisions Will Constrain Future National Security Budgets

The Financial Legacy of Iraq and Afghanistan: How Wartime Spending Decisions Will Constrain Future National Security Budgets – Linda Bilmes Harvard University – Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) March 26, 2013

“The Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, taken together, will be the most expensive wars in US history – totaling somewhere between $4 to $6 trillion. This includes long-term medical care and disability compensation for service members, veterans and families, military replenishment and social and economic costs. The largest portion of that bill is yet to be paid. Since 2001, the US has expanded the quality, quantity, availability and eligibility of benefits for military personnel and veterans. This has led to unprecedented growth in the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense budgets. These benefits will increase further over the next 40 years. Additional funds are committed to replacing large quantities of basic equipment used in the wars and to support ongoing diplomatic presence and military assistance in the Iraq and Afghanistan region. The large sums borrowed to finance operations in Iraq and Afghanistan will also impose substantial long-term debt servicing costs. As a consequence of these wartime spending choices, the United States will face constraints in funding investments in personnel and diplomacy, research and development and new military initiatives. The legacy of decisions taken during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will dominate future federal budgets for decades to come.”

Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement

Federal Reserve Board and Federal Open Market Committee release economic projections from the June 18-19 FOMC meeting: “Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in May suggests that economic activity has been expanding at a moderate pace. Labor market conditions have shown further improvement in recent months, on balance, but the unemployment rateContinue Reading

New GAO Reports: Airline Mergers, Defense Contractors, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, CMS, Rail Safety, Transporation Worker ID Safety

Airline Mergers - Issues Raised by the Proposed Merger of American Airlines and US Airways, GAO-13-403T, Jun 19, 2013 Defense Contractors – Information on the Impact of Reducing the Cap on Employee Compensation Costs, GAO-13-566, Jun 19, 2013 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter -Restructuring Has Improved the Program, but Affordability Challenges and Other Risks Remain, GAO-13-690T, Jun 19, 2013 PatientContinue Reading

CBO – Effects of a Carbon Tax on the Economy and the Environment

Effects of a Carbon Tax on the Economy and the Environment: “Lawmakers could increase federal revenues and encourage reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) by establishing a carbon tax, which would either tax those emissions directly or tax fuels that release CO2 when they are burned (fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, and naturalContinue Reading

World Bank 2013. From double-dip recession to fragile recovery.

From double-dip recession to fragile recovery: “After the double-dip recession, as a group the six South East European countries (SEE6)- Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia-are now making a fragile recovery. Last year the recession in the Eurozone had adverse impact on external demand and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in SEE6Continue Reading

NPR Series on Big Data

What Big Data Means For Big Cities, by Adam Frank: “Cities are created human environments. They are ecosystems of energy and matter imagined into existence through human effort. Because cities are essentially ideas transformed into action, they are creatures of information and a Big Data problem. By breathing in the torrents of data cities generateContinue Reading

NASA – Green: Vegetation on Our Planet

“Although 75% of the planet is a relatively unchanging ocean of blue, the remaining 25% of Earth’s surface is a dynamic green. Data from the NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP satellite is able to detect these subtle differences in greenness. The resources on this page highlight our ever-changing planet, using highly detailed vegetation index data from theContinue Reading

Council on Foreign Relations Backgrounder – U.S. Domestic Surveillance

“Two NSA surveillance programs have been exposed in press reports in June 2013. First, a Guardian report disclosed a classified FISC court order instructing Verizon, one of the largest U.S. telecommunications firms, to hand over phone records of millions of Americans to the NSA. Amid criticism from civil rights groups, the Obama administration defended theContinue Reading

Conference on financial stability, macroprudential policy and exchange rates

4th BIS Consultative Council for the Americas conference on Financial stability, macroprudential policy and exchange rates” (papers and presentations).  A Scientific Committee, led by Stephen G Cecchetti, and comprising CCA central bank heads of research, selected papers on the following topics: Issues in financial stability; Macroprudential and related policies; Exchange rates and monetary policy…Conference agendaContinue Reading

CBO Releases Two Analyses of the Senate’s Immigration Legislation

“The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744) would revise laws governing immigration and the enforcement of those laws, allowing for a significant increase in the number of noncitizens who could lawfully enter the United States on both a permanent and temporary basis. Additionally, the bill would create a process for manyContinue Reading