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Daily Archives: June 16, 2014

The Highway Trust Fund and the Treatment of Surface Transportation Programs in the Federal Budget

June 2014 – CBO Report – “The federal government spends more than $50 billion per year on surface transportation programs, mostly in the form of grants to state and local governments. Much of this spending is for highways and mass transit programs financed through the Highway Trust Fund. Those programs have an unusual treatment in the federal budget, and the way they are classified in the budget facilitates the spending of more money from the trust fund than there are dedicated revenues to support such spending. Those revenues come from excise taxes on the sale of motor fuels, trucks and trailers, and truck tires, and from taxes on the use of certain kinds of vehicles. This CBO report describes the status of the Highway Trust Fund and options that the Congress might consider to address the imbalance between revenues and spending from the fund. Part of the discussion concerns the transportation programs’ unique budgetary classification and how that treatment limits the effectiveness of the standard mechanisms for budgetary control. In the past 10 years, outlays from the Highway Trust Fund have exceeded revenues by more than $52 billion, and outlays will exceed revenues by an estimated $167 billion over the 2015–2024 period if obligations from the fund continue at the 2014 rate (with adjustments for future inflation) and the expiring taxes on fuels and heavy vehicles are extended at their current rates.”

Regulatory Consistency Assessment Programme Assessment of Basel III regulations

“The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision has today published a report assessing Canada’s implementation of the Basel capital framework. Overall, Canada’s implementation was found to be “compliant” with the standards prescribed under the Basel framework. Thirteen of the 14 components assessed were graded as “compliant”, while one component – the definition of capital – was assessed as being… Continue Reading

2012 ZIP Code Business Patterns

“Provides data on the number of business establishments by employment-size class for detailed industries. Statistics are provided for about 40,000 ZIP codes nationwide.” County Business Patterns (CBP) is an annual series that provides subnational economic data by industry. This series includes the number of establishments, employment during the week of March 12, first quarter payroll,… Continue Reading

Mobility Progress Report: Are Federal Agencies Passing the Test?

Download the survey here via the Mobile Work Exchange: “It’s been two years since OMB’s Digital Government Strategy and nearly four years since the passage of the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010. Is the Federal government making the grade in mobility and telework or is it barely passing? So where are we? Mobile Work Exchange interviewed 154… Continue Reading

On Privacy, New Survey Places US Attitudes Among EU Countries

EPIC – “One of the most comprehensive surveys of privacy ever undertaken finds US attitudes toward privacy remarkably similar to those of Europeans. The survey of 15 countries on privacy, and tradeoffs consumers are prepared to make, placed the US squarely in the middle of European countries, roughly between France and Italy on one side and Germany and… Continue Reading

Inventor tests theories – Vermeer’s paintings might be 350 year-old color photographs

Via boing boing – “Tim Jenison, a Texas-based inventor, attempts to solve one of the greatest mysteries in the art world: 
How did Dutch master Johannes Vermeer manage to paint so photo-realistically 150 years before the invention of photography? Here’s how he conducted his experiment…Looking at Vermeer’s paintings, it seemed to me that he must… Continue Reading

Ars tests Internet surveillance – by spying on a willing NPR reporter

Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica [snipped] “On a bright April morning in Menlo Park, California, I became an Internet spy. This was easier than it sounds because I had a willing target. I had partnered with National Public Radio (NPR) tech correspondent Steve Henn for an experiment in Internet surveillance. For one week, while Henn researched a story, he… Continue Reading

New GAO Reports – Coast Guard, Pesticide Safety, Retirement Security, School Meals Programs, Defense Health Care, Corporate Tax Noncompliance

COAST GUARD: Resources Provided for Drug Interdiction Operations in the Transit Zone, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, GAO-14-527: Published: Jun 16, 2014. Publicly Released: Jun 16, 2014. PESTICIDE SAFETY: Improvements Needed in EPA’s Good Laboratory Practices Inspection Program, GAO-14-289: Published: May 15, 2014. Publicly Released: Jun 16, 2014. RETIREMENT SECURITY: Oversight of the National Railroad Retirement Investment Trust, GAO-14-312:  Published: May… Continue Reading

Emerging Markets Face Tough Climb Back to Past Growth Levels

IMF – “As the global environment turns less supportive and productivity gains of the last decade fade, growth in emerging markets will have to come from new engines, supported by a new wave of structural reforms, a new IMF study says. Emerging Markets in Transition: Growth Prospects and Challenges sheds light on the factors behind last decade’s… Continue Reading

International Banking Research Network

“The International Banking Research Network (IBRN) brings together central bank researchers from around the world to analyze issues pertaining to global banks. It was established in 2012 by Austrian, German, U.S., and U.K. researchers who saw a need for joint analysis of key questions, such as the role of cross-border banking in the transmission of… Continue Reading