New America Policy Papers: 2005

Papers and other formal publications from our policy programs are available below. To jump to another year in the archives, please use the links at right.

Nonpartisan Social Security Reform Plan

  • By
  • Maya MacGuineas,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Jeffrey Liebman, Andrew Samwick
December 14, 2005

The three of us -- former aides to President Clinton, Senator McCain, and President Bush -- did an experiment to see if we could develop a reform plan that we could all support. The Liebman-MacGuineas-Samwick (LMS) plan demonstrates the types of compromises that can help policy makers from across the political spectrum agree on a Social Security reform plan. The plan achieves sustainable solvency through progressive changes to taxes and benefits, introduces mandatory personal accounts, and specifies important details that are often left unaddressed in other reform plans.

Building a 21st Century Economy

  • By
  • Shelley Waters Boots,
  • New America Foundation
December 13, 2005

Never before has the connection between our economic growth and our education system been so critical. In the antiquated industrial economy of the past, a country that could efficiently manufacture and produce material goods succeeded. In today’s new knowledge-based economy, a nation’s success is contingent on its citizens’ human capital. As the Council on Competitiveness predicts, “where once we optimized our organizations for efficiency and quality, now we must optimize our entire society for innovation.”

New America's Tax Reform Plan

  • By
  • Maya MacGuineas,
  • New America Foundation
December 5, 2005

The tax code is backwards in many ways. It discourages saving, job creation, and economic growth while encouraging consumption, energy dependence, and environmental degradation. It has become less progressive at a time when income inequality is growing and it bestows the largest targeted tax breaks on those who need them least. It has failed to keep up with changes in the global economic environment, harming U.S. competitiveness. It is highly complex, non-transparent, and it does not raise enough money to pay for government spending.

Public Assistance Savings Exclusions (PASE)

  • By
  • Anne Stuhldreher,
  • New America Foundation
December 1, 2005

To qualify for major public assistance programs like CalWorks, Food Stamps, and Medicaid, families must be both low-income and asset-poor. “Asset limits” make sense at first glance. The public pocketbook is not limitless and public aid should be directed to those who are truly desperate. However, asset limits can also put low-income families in a precarious position, causing them to deplete – and keep depleted – the part of a family’s financial portfolio that is critical for promoting independence and keeping recipients from returning to public aid.

Yes, Poor People Do Save

  • By
  • Anne Stuhldreher,
  • New America Foundation
December 1, 2005

One of the most common myths in economic and poverty policy is that low and moderate-income people can’t or won’t develop financial assets. However, evidence from a wide variety of successful pilot projects from around the U.S. shows that, like wealthy families, low-income families can and do save when appropriate incentives and savings products are in place.

Building the Financial Bridge to College

  • By
  • Anne Stuhldreher,
  • New America Foundation
December 1, 2005

California has the opportunity to make 529 accounts more attractive to low- and moderate-income families by providing a match for savings they put towards a college education.

Ensuring Health Coverage for California's Immigrant Children

  • By
  • Cindy Zeldin,
  • Len Nichols,
  • Peter Harbage,
  • New America Foundation
November 10, 2005

The New America Foundation is committed to achieving universal health insurance coverage for all people in America. The most promising route to universal coverage is a system that relies on shared responsibility among individuals, employers, and the government. To that end, the New America Foundation has released a series of three papers outlining how to cover all children in California as a first step towards universal coverage. This paper is a component of that series.

For the complete document, please see the attached PDF version. 

Shared Responsibility to Cover California's Children

  • By
  • Cindy Zeldin,
  • Len Nichols,
  • Peter Harbage,
  • New America Foundation
November 10, 2005

Health insurance is the gateway to health and to our health care system, yet over five million Californians are uninsured, about 800,000 of whom are children. Having health insurance facilitates access to affordable care from a network of health care providers and shields families from financial ruin in the case of a catastrophic medical emergency.

Ensuring Seamless Insurance Coverage for California's Children

  • By
  • Cindy Zeldin,
  • Len Nichols,
  • Peter Harbage,
  • New America Foundation
November 10, 2005

Recent national research has shown that 85 million people lacked health insurance at some point over a four-year period.1 While some Americans are consistently uninsured, substantial numbers have intermittent coverage. Consider, for example, a family that is currently covered through a parent’s employment-based health insurance. A subsequent job loss could leave that family uninsured until another job with health insurance is secured, the family purchases a non-group health insurance policy, or the family is determined to be eligible for and enrolls in public coverage.

Ten New Ideas for Education Policy

  • By
  • Michael Dannenberg,
  • New America Foundation
November 2, 2005

Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education

Programs:

Bank on California

  • By
  • Anne Stuhldreher,
  • New America Foundation
November 1, 2005

In California, 28 percent of adults don’t have a checking or savings account, according to the US Census. Nationally, the estimate is that 10 percent of all households don’t have accounts. In San Francisco, the Brookings Institution estimates that one in five San Francisco adults---and half of its Blacks and Latinos—don’t have accounts. The un-banked are most likely to be people of color, less educated, and have lower incomes. For example, a Harvard poll of Hurricane Katrina evacuees in the Superdome found that seven out of ten evacuees did not have checking or savings accounts.

Policy Options to Promote Inclusive Asset Building Through Account-Based Systems

  • By
  • Reid Cramer,
  • New America Foundation
November 1, 2005

Through an array of policies and programs, the public sector plays a significant role in the expansion of wealth and its distribution. Yet federal policy has historically discouraged asset building among households with fewer resources. The unintended consequence of this approach is that it creates a disincentive to engage in the types of activities which can help a family move up and out of poverty, namely savings and asset building.

TANF and Asset Building

  • By
  • Leslie Parrish,
  • New America Foundation
November 1, 2005

The 1996 welfare reform law which created the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program gave states far more flexibility in determining the best ways to move their neediest families from dependence on cash assistance towards economic self-sufficiency. Policymakers have issued a series of short-term extensions to TANF in recent years while attempting to build a consensus on how it should be reauthorized. Therefore, an opportunity exists to build upon existing -- and incorporate new -- asset building strategies into the eventual reauthorization of TANF.

Federal Revenue and Family Income Shifts Due to Major Proposed Changes in Student Loan Policy

  • By
  • Michael Dannenberg,
  • New America Foundation
November 1, 2005

This week and next, federal lawmakers will consider a comprehensive overhaul of the terms and conditions associated with over $68 billion in new federally guaranteed student loans distributed each year to more than 10 million students and their families attending over 6,800 institutions of higher education. Changes of this magnitude in federal student loan law were last made over seven years ago and are not scheduled to be considered again until 2012.

Programs:

Policy Options to Support Entrepreneurship Among Low-Income Americans

  • By
  • Lisa J. Servon,
  • New America Foundation
November 1, 2005

Starting a business is a principal way for a select but significant number of low-income people to accumulate assets that give them a stake in society. On an individual level, self-employment can help people exit poverty and build wealth. On a community level, small businesses help to anchor communities and provide diverse goods and services that respond to local needs. However, low-income entrepreneurs are not well-served by either mainstream financial institutions or government programs.

Health Policy Program Vision Statement

  • By
  • Len Nichols,
  • New America Foundation
October 28, 2005
Please see the attached PDF version of this document.

Reclaiming the Vast Wasteland: The Engineering Case

  • By Michael Marcus, Director, FCC Office of Engineering and Technology; Paul Kolodzy, former Director, FCC Spectrum Policy Task Force; and Andrew Lippman, founding Associate Director, MIT Media Lab
October 18, 2005

On May 13, 2004, the Federal Communications Commission approved a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing to allow a new generation of wireless devices to utilize vacant television channel frequencies in each market. This so-called TV band “white space” consists of frequencies that are allocated for television broadcasting but are not actually in use in a given area. The FCC’s proposed rulemaking is pending but currently inactive.

Splitting Refunds

  • By
  • Reid Cramer,
  • New America Foundation
October 1, 2005

Given the size and scope of tax refunds issued by the federal government each year, the tax filing process is a logical place to support and encourage savings behavior. In fact, the forms that IRS prepares for taxpayers are a nexus where individual behavior and institutional structures coincides.

A Post-Hurricane Policy Response to Poverty in America

  • By
  • Anne Stuhldreher,
  • Ray Boshara,
  • Reid Cramer,
  • New America Foundation
October 1, 2005

The recent hurricanes wrought havoc on families and communities across the Gulf Coast and poignantly revealed how the debilitating effects of poverty persist across the country. The President has wisely proposed asset-based ideas as the core of his policy response—a urban homesteading act to encourage the ownership of land and homes, a Gulf opportunity zone to foster business ownership, and worker recovery savings accounts for job training and education. While insufficient in their scope, these proposals identify a promising path for federal policy efforts.

California Asset Building Policy Options

  • By
  • Anne Stuhldreher,
  • New America Foundation
October 1, 2005

What are asset-building policies?

Budget Update -- Katrina's Cost

  • By
  • Maya MacGuineas,
  • New America Foundation
September 6, 2005

It will be some time before officials will be able to fully assess the amount of disaster relief funding that will be necessary in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, but it is already becoming clear that the costs of responding to Katrina will vastly exceed any previous natural disaster in the U.S. Though the specifics of any one disaster cannot be anticipated, they are an unfortunate, costly, and regular reality. Budgeting for disasters is part of being prepared for these recurring tragedies.

Shoring Up HUD's Self-Sufficiency Program

  • By
  • Reid Cramer,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Jeff Lubell
September 1, 2005

While consuming only a tiny fraction of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) budget, the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program is one of the nation’s largest programs designed to help working poor families increase their savings and build assets. The program has three primary components -- stable, affordable housing, asset-building escrow accounts and work-promoting case management -- that function together to help families build assets and increase their earnings.

Budget Update -- August 2005

  • By
  • Maya MacGuineas,
  • New America Foundation
August 4, 2005

The Congressional budget resolution increased the deficit relative to the CBO baseline by $200 billion from FY 2005 through FY 2010. Since passing the budget resolution, Congress has approved several bills that would increase spending above the limits in the resolution. Making matters worse, Congress is poised to take actions this fall that would result in further increases to the deficit beyond those already assumed in the budget resolution.

Relative Care Creates Powerful Bonds for Children

  • By
  • Mary Bissell,
  • New America Foundation
August 1, 2005
So boy, don't you turn back.
Don't you set down on the steps
‘Cause you finds it's kinder hard.
Don't you fall now --
For I'se still goin', honey,
I'se still climbin',
And life for me ain't been no crystal stair.

How Health Insurance Stability Impacts the Quality of Healthcare

  • By Gerry Fairbrother, Arfana Haldery
July 15, 2005

Health insurance in the United States is provided through a fragmented system of employer-sponsored coverage for most citizens and government-sponsored coverage for the low-income and elderly population. A large and growing number of Americans, however, have neither employer-sponsored nor government-sponsored health insurance, and either remain uninsured or purchase individual policies on the private market. This fragmented system leads to gaps in health care coverage as individuals cycle in and out of coverage and between various forms of coverage.

Budget Update -- July 2005

  • By
  • Maya MacGuineas,
  • New America Foundation
July 12, 2005

Being a budget watchdog generally involves a healthy degree of pessimism and the last few weeks have provided plenty of reminders why. It was encouraging to see the appropriations process moving forward within the tight spending limits set by the budget resolution. That is, until a political firestorm over veterans benefits erupted, leading to pressure for increased spending.

Running Faster to Stay in Place

  • By
  • Karen Kornbluh,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Jared Bernstein, Senior Economist, Economic Policy Institute
June 30, 2005

Trying to make sense of the steady stream of economic news can be frustrating. Is the economy getting better or worse? The news seems to change weekly and, depending on what is measured, can seem bleak or sunny. Wages are stagnant but productivity is up. The unemployment rate declines but so does labor force participation.

We can't even begin to understand how America is faring economically unless we first establish how its families are doing -- how much they're earning and how many hours they must work to earn this income.

Win-Win Flexibility -- A Policy Proposal

  • By
  • Karen Kornbluh,
  • New America Foundation
June 30, 2005

Today fully 70 percent of families with children are headed by two working parents or by an unmarried working parent. The "traditional family" of the breadwinner and homemaker has been replaced by the "juggler family," in which no one is home fulltime. Two-parent families are working 10 more hours a week than in 1979.

To be decent parents, caregivers, and members of their communities, workers now need greater flexibility than they once did. Yet good part-time or flex-time jobs remain rare....

For the complete document, please see the attached PDF version.

 

To Save, or Not to Save?

  • By
  • Leslie Parrish,
  • New America Foundation
May 31, 2005

Millions of low-income Americans are hearing two conflicting messages from their government: Save, and don’t save. Over the last decade a consensus has been emerging among researchers, policymakers, and practitioners around the importance of enabling low-income persons to save and build wealth, and state and federal programs have emerged to do just that. Yet, with limited exceptions, the rules of our nation’s public assistance programs aimed at such persons – Food Stamps, Medicaid, and TANF, for example – send the exact opposite message: Don’t save.

Speeding the DTV Transition

  • By
  • J.H. Snider,
  • Michael Calabrese,
  • Naveen Lakshmipathy,
  • New America Foundation
May 25, 2005

For the complete document, please see the attached PDF version below.

Should DTV Must-Carry be Expanded, Sunset or Preserved As-Is?

  • By
  • J.H. Snider,
  • New America Foundation
May 19, 2005

In an age of telecommunications convergence and Internet TV, DTV must-carry is a historical relic that nevertheless is likely to be preserved and expanded. Given that political reality, this paper makes two recommendations: 1) in the long-term, must-carry should be sunset and transformed into a blanket network neutrality rule for the Internet TV era, and 2) in the short-term, broadcasters should be held to quantifiable and enforceable public interest standards in exchange for any expansion of must-carry.

For the complete document, please see the attached PDF version below.

Budget Update -- May 2005

  • By
  • Maya MacGuineas,
  • New America Foundation
May 3, 2005

At the beginning of this year there were some indications that the era of "deficits don't matter" rhetoric was being replaced by a renewed concern about deficits, at least rhetorically. Unfortunately, the actions since then have shown no indication that policymakers have the stomach to match that rhetoric with actions.

The Family Self-Sufficiency Program

  • By
  • Reid Cramer,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Jeff Lubell, Project Director, FSS Partnerships
March 31, 2005

At a time when policymakers are increasingly looking around for inexpensive ways to encourage savings, there is one promising program that is already on the books. The Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program is largely responsible for helping thousands of lower-income families make a successful transition from welfare assistance to independence. Despite its relatively small size, FSS is one of the largest asset building programs available to assist the working poor and has made an important contribution to the country’s asset-building efforts. Its success to date is worth building upon.

Individual Development Accounts

  • By
  • Ray Boshara,
  • New America Foundation
March 31, 2005

Individual Development Accounts (IDAs)—matched savings accounts for low-income households—are a relatively new means of improving the lives of the poor. Advocates of IDAs argue that those with assets are more economically secure, have more options in life, and can pass on status and opportunities to future generations. They further argue that assets have positive social, psychological, and civic effects that are independent of the effects of income.

2005 Federal Assets Policy Report and Outlook

  • By
  • Ray Boshara,
  • Reid Cramer,
  • New America Foundation
March 31, 2005

The purpose of this annual report is to summarize and take stock of the current state of federal policy through an asset-building lens, especially as it affects the asset base of the poor.

In his Second Inaugural Address, President Bush reaffirmed his commitment to promoting an “Ownership Society” and unambiguously connected asset building policy to the most cherished ideals of the nation. He proclaimed:

Budget Update -- March 2005

  • By
  • Maya MacGuineas,
  • New America Foundation
March 16, 2005

The President’s budget projects a gradually reduced deficit over the next five years, from the $412 billion deficit in fiscal year 2004 (3.6% of GDP) to $207 billion in 2010 (1.3% of GDP). This decline mirrors the decline in the deficit projected under current law as the near-term budget outlook improves modestly. In fact, the President’s policies would actually increase the deficit over the five-year window. Furthermore, the budget relies on unrealistic assumptions and gimmicks to limit the size of the proposed deficit.

Section 529 Savings Plans, Access to Post-Secondary Education, and Universal Asset Building

  • By
  • Reid Cramer,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Margaret Clancy, Project Director, Center for Social Development
February 23, 2005

This paper explores the opportunities and current limitations of using 529 savings plans to ensure that the greatest number of Americans are able to pursue a post-secondary education. Particular attention is given to considering the potential for 529 savings plans to serve as a basis for universal asset building. As these plans are still relatively new, this assessment builds on what has been learned to date.

The Digital Opportunity Investment Trust and America's Global Leadership

  • By Eamon Kelly, President Emeritus, Tulane University
February 18, 2005

The digital age has drastically reshaped the world that we live in—making communication faster, information more accessible, and our knowledge more expansive than ever before. With even more information at our fingertips, it has become increasingly difficult to keep up with the pace of information output. Knowledge is now the principal source of wealth creation and new jobs in the United States.

The Cost to the Nation of Underinvestment in Educational R&D

  • By Dr. Thomas Stratmann, Professor of Economics, George Mason University
February 18, 2005

Over the past thirty years, by many measures, U.S. student educational performance has not improved. Some measures of educational achievement have actually decreased. This development is coupled with a dramatic decline in the productivity of educational spending: As a nation, we spend more and more to obtain the same level of educational achievement. Other industrialized countries do much better than the U.S. when comparing educational performance and the productivity of educational spending. With respect to educational achievement, the position of the U.S.

Savings Caucus Prospectus

  • By
  • Ray Boshara,
  • New America Foundation
February 17, 2005

Attachments

Programs:

Policy Options for Achieving an Ownership Society for All Americans

  • By
  • Ray Boshara,
  • Reid Cramer,
  • New America Foundation
February 8, 2005

This menu of policy options is presented with federal policymakers in mind. It reflects our latest and best thinking, and draws heavily on the work of many experts focusing on various facets of savings and asset-building policy. The menu includes calls for new structures and policies as well as small changes to existing financial products and government programs. As there are many policy routes to broadening savings and asset ownership, there is necessarily some overlap among the ideas presented.

Breaking the Savings Barrier

  • By
  • Anne Stuhldreher,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Jennifer Tescher, Director, Center for Financial Services Innovation
February 5, 2005

This issue brief provides recommendations for federal policymakers to engage with the financial services industry to bring millions of un- and underbanked consumers into the financial mainstream. While as many as 22 million American families are “unbanked,” meaning they lack basic checking or savings accounts, millions more are “underbanked,” meaning they may own accounts but still rely on alternative financial service providers, such as check-cashing outlets.

The Role of Medicaid in the Context of a Restructured Health System

  • By Cindy Mann, J.D., Research Professor, Georgetown University; and Jeanne Lambrew, Ph.D., Associate Professor, George Washington University, and Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress.
February 1, 2005

Concern over rising health care costs and the growing number of uninsured Americans has brought the issue of health care reform back onto the front burner. These issues garnered significant attention during the 2004 Presidential campaign, with recent polls showing that the public consistently identifies health care costs and coverage among the most important issues facing this country. While Americans seem to agree that change is desperately needed, no single approach has emerged as the preferred avenue for accomplishing reform.

January 2005 CBO Baseline

  • By
  • Maya MacGuineas,
  • New America Foundation
January 25, 2005
Please see the attached PDF version of this document.
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