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Category Archives: Economy

New GAO Reports – Budget Issues, Combatting Nuclear Smuggling, Federal Real Property, 401(K) Plans, Medicaid Financing, Flood Insurance, USDA Farm Programs

  • BUDGET ISSUES: Opportunities to Reduce Federal Fiscal Exposures Through Greater Resilience to Climate Change and Extreme Weather, GAO-14-504T: Published: Jul 29, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 29, 2014.
  • COMBATING NUCLEAR SMUGGLING: Past Work and Preliminary Observations on Research and Development at the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, GAO-14-783T: Published: Jul 29, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 29, 2014.
  • FEDERAL REAL PROPERTY: Better Guidance and More Reliable Data Needed to Improve Management, GAO-14-757T: Published: Jul 29, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 29, 2014.
  • 401(K) PLANS: Improvements Can Be Made to Better Protect Participants in Managed Accounts, GAO-14-310: Published: Jun 25, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 29, 2014.
  • MEDICAID: Completed and Preliminary Work Indicate that Transparency around State Financing Methods and Payments to Providers Is Still Needed for Oversight, GAO-14-817T: Published: Jul 29, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 29, 2014.
  • MEDICAID FINANCING: States’ Increased Reliance on Funds from Health Care Providers and Local Governments Warrants Improved CMS Data Collection, GAO-14-627: Published: Jul 29, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 29, 2014.
  • NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM: Additional Guidance on Building Requirements to Mitigate Agricultural Structures’ Damage in High-Risk Areas Is Needed, GAO-14-583: Published: Jun 30, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 29, 2014.
  • SCREENING PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM: TSA Has Improved Application Guidance and Monitoring of Screener Performance, and Continues to Improve Cost Comparison Methods, GAO-14-787T: Published: Jul 29, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 29, 2014.
  • TOBACCO TAXES: Disparities in Rates for Similar Smoking Products Continue to Drive Market Shifts to Lower-Taxed Options, GAO-14-811T: Published: Jul 29, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 29, 2014.
  • USDA FARM PROGRAMS: Farmers Have Been Eligible for Multiple Programs and Further Efforts Could Help Prevent Duplicative Payments, GAO-14-428: Published: Jul 8, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 29, 2014

The July 2014 Fiscal Confidence Index, Modeled after the Consumer Confidence Index, is 41 (100 is Neutral)

News release: “The Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s July Fiscal Confidence Index, a monthly measure of public attitudes about the nation’s long-term debt and the efforts elected leaders are making to address America’s fiscal challenges, shows that Americans remain highly concerned about the nation’s fiscal situation. The Fiscal Confidence Index, modeled after the Consumer Confidence Index,Continue Reading

Debt in America

Debt in America by Caroline Ratcliffe, Signe-Mary McKernan, Brett Theodos, Emma Kalish, Additional Authors. July 2014. “Debt can be constructive, allowing people to build equity in homes or finance education, but it can also burden families into the future. Total debt is driven by mortgage debt; both are highly concentrated in high-cost housing markets, mostly along the coasts. Among AmericansContinue Reading

The New Face of Hunger in America

National Geographic: “Millions of working Americans don’t know where their next meal is coming from. We sent three photographers to explore hunger in three very different parts of the United States, each giving different faces to the same statistic: One-sixth of Americans don’t have enough food to eat…In the United States more than half of hungry householdsContinue Reading

The Surge of Unaccompanied Children from Central America

The Surge of Unaccompanied Children from Central America - Root Causes and Policy Solutions, by Dan Restrepo and Ann Garcia | July 24, 2014 “Over the past few years, and in particular over the past few months, the number of children and families leaving the Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras and arriving in neighboring countries and atContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – CFPB, Drinking Water, Media Ownership, Railroad Retirement, Security Clearances

CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU: Opportunity Exists to Improve Transparency of Civil Penalty Fund Activities, GAO-14-551: Published: Jun 26, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 28, 2014. DRINKING WATER: EPA Program to Protect Underground Sources from Injection of Fluids Associated with Oil and Gas Production Needs Improvement, GAO-14-555: Published: Jun 27, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 28, 2014. MEDIA OWNERSHIP: FCC Should Review the Effects ofContinue Reading

Social Security Board of Trustees: No Change in Projected Year of Trust Fund Reserve Depletion

“The Social Security Board of Trustees today released its annual report on the long-term financial status of the Social Security Trust Funds. The combined asset reserves of the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) Trust Funds are projected to become depleted in 2033, unchanged from last year, with 77 percent of benefits still payableContinue Reading

The Governance of Regulators – OECD

“This series brings together OECD work related to the 2012 Recommendation of Council on Regulatory Policy and Governance. It offers information about the policies, practices and institutions needed to improve regulatory policy and to support better regulatory governance.” The Governance of Regulators, OECD Best Practice Principles for Regulatory Policy, OECD Publishing. doi: 10.1787/9789264209015-en

Capital Inflows, Exchange Rate Flexibility and Credit Booms

Magud, Nicolas E. and Reinhart, Carmen M. and Vesperoni, Esteban, Capital Inflows, Exchange Rate Flexibility and Credit Booms (August 2014). Review of Development Economics, Vol. 18, Issue 3, pp. 415-430, 2014. Available at SSRN: or “Historically, capital flow bonanzas have often fueled sharp credit expansions in advanced and emerging market economies alike. Focusing primarily on emergingContinue Reading

The Precise Form of Financial Integration: Empirical Evidence for Selected Asian Countries

Gan, Pei-Tha, The Precise Form of Financial Integration: Empirical Evidence for Selected Asian Countries (2014). Economic Modelling, Vol. 42, 2014. Available for download at SSRN: “A noteworthy attribute of the empirical studies on financial integration is that many published papers rely on the approximate form of financial integration by studying the degree of regional financialContinue Reading

Wealth Levels, Wealth Inequality, and the Great Recession

“In a new Recession Brief for the Recession Trends initiative, Fabian T. Pfeffer (University of Michigan), RSF president Sheldon Danziger, and Robert F. Schoeni (University of Michigan) explore the extent to which the Great Recession altered the level and distribution of American families’ wealth, looking at the period between 2007 and 2013. While the Recession had aContinue Reading

Why “Can’t Make Ends Meet” Trumps “Poverty”

Moyers & company: “This week, the Center for Community Change (CCC) released new research that details the way low-income Americans think and talk about living on the edge. It found that the language being used by policymakers and others to describe them is turning off the very people it is supposed to help. The project surveyed over 1,700Continue Reading