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Daily Archives: March 20, 2014

Federal Reserve releases summary results of bank stress tests

“According to the summary results of bank stress tests announced by the Federal Reserve on Thursday, the largest banking institutions in the United States are collectively better positioned to continue to lend to households and businesses and to meet their financial commitments in an extremely severe economic downturn than they were five years ago.  This result reflects continued broad improvement in their capital positions since the financial crisis. Reflecting the severity of the most extreme stress scenario–which features a deep recession with a sharp rise in the unemployment rate, a drop in equity prices of nearly 50 percent, and a decline in house prices to levels last seen in 2001–projected loan losses at the 30 bank holding companies in the latest stress tests would total $366 billion during the nine quarters of the hypothetical stress scenario. The aggregate tier 1 common capital ratio, which compares high-quality capital to risk-weighted assets, would fall from an actual 11.5 percent in the third quarter of 2013 to the minimum level of 7.6 percent in the hypothetical stress scenario. That minimum post-stress number is significantly higher than the 30 firms’ actual tier 1 common ratio of 5.5 percent measured in the beginning of 2009. Capital is important to banking organizations, the financial system, and the economy broadly because it acts as a cushion to absorb losses and helps to ensure that losses are borne by shareholders, not taxpayers. The Federal Reserve’s stress scenario estimates are the outcome of deliberately stringent and conservative assessments under hypothetical economic and financial market conditions and the results are not forecasts or expected outcomes.”

CRS – Cars, Trucks, and Climate

Cars, Trucks, and Climate: EPA Regulation of Greenhouse Gases from Mobile Sources. James E. McCarthy, Specialist in Environmental Policy; Brent D. Yacobucci, Section Research Manager. March 13, 2014. “By issuing endangerment findings similar to the one it issued for motor vehicles, EPA could move forward to control GHG emissions from other categories of mobile sources and/or their fuels. On the other hand,… Continue Reading

Pew – Emerging and Developing Nations Want Freedom on the Internet

“There is widespread opposition to internet censorship in emerging and developing nations. Majorities in 22 of 24 countries surveyed say it is important that people have access to the internet without government censorship. In 12 nations, at least seven-in-ten hold this view. Support for internet freedom is especially strong in countries where a large percentage of… Continue Reading

Climate Change Briefer – What We Know

“The overwhelming evidence of human-caused climate change documents both current impacts with significant costs and extraordinary future risks to society and natural systems. The scientific community has convened conferences, published reports, spoken out at forums and proclaimed, through statements by virtually every national scientific academy and relevant major scientific organization — including the American Association… Continue Reading

Bank of England launches strategic plan

“The Bank of England today launched its Strategic Plan, following a six month exercise led by the Executive Committee of the Bank. The Plan, to be implemented over the next three years, provides an ambitious agenda to transform the institution to take full advantage of the Bank’s expanded policy responsibilities. It will create a single, unified institution – One… Continue Reading

Rankings, Institutional Behavior, and College and University Choice

“A new ACE issue brief finds that college rankings often have detrimental effects on institutions and that students—particularly low-income students—do not use them when choosing among their higher education options. The ACE Center for Policy, Research & Strategy’s Rankings, Institutional Behavior, and College and University Choice is intended to add research-based context to the Obama administration’s plan to… Continue Reading

Research – Plastic shopping bags make a fine diesel fuel

Brajendra K. Sharma, Bryan R. Moser, Karl E. Vermillion, Kenneth M. Doll, Nandakishore Rajagopalan. Production, characterization and fuel properties of alternative diesel fuel from pyrolysis of waste plastic grocery bags. Fuel Processing Technology, 2014; 122: 79 DOI: 10.1016/j.fuproc.2014.01.019: “Plastic shopping bags, an abundant source of litter on land and at sea, can be converted into diesel, natural gas… Continue Reading

Private Health Insurance Market Reforms in the Affordable Care Act

CRS – Private Health Insurance Market Reforms in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Annie L. Mach, Analyst in Health Care Financing; Bernadette Fernandez, Specialist in Health Care Financing. March 13, 2014 “The Affordable Care Act (ACA, P.L. 111-148, as amended) includes reforms of the health insurance market that impose requirements on private health insurance plans. Such reforms relate to… Continue Reading

GSA Should Clarify Its Reporting on Executives’ Use of Aircraft for Nonmission Purposes

GAO-14-151: “Published: Feb 28, 2014. Publicly Released: Mar 20, 2014. “The exemption in General Services Administration (GSA) regulations that allows intelligence agencies not to report unclassified data on senior federal official travel for nonmission purposes is not consistent with executive branch requirements, and GSA has not provided a basis for deviating from these requirements. Specifically, executive… Continue Reading

Latest Comprehensive Information About Federal Tax Enforcement

“Recent and very extensive information from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) about tax returns, audits and its own criminal enforcement actions are now available on the public web site of the Transactional Records Access Records (TRAC). See TRAC’s IRS Data Tools and Applications page. TRAC’s tools let you explore newly released data from the IRS about… Continue Reading