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New America Policy Papers: 2010

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.

Creating a Fiscal Turnaround in the United States

  • By
  • Maya MacGuineas,
  • New America Foundation
December 13, 2010

The Unsustainable Debt Trajectory

For decades now, we have known that the United States faced serious long-term fiscal challenges. The aging of society and growing health care costs have led to projected unfunded liabilities in the double-digit trillions of dollars that were clearly unsustainable. Year after year, the long-term fiscal challenges were discussed, but the political hurdles needed to take action were just too high, and changes were delayed.

The Saver's Bonus

  • By
  • Reid Cramer,
  • New America Foundation
December 10, 2010

The Saver’s Bonus proposal creates an incentive for low- and moderate-income individuals and families to save at tax time. Research has demonstrated that savings outcomes increase when the savings process is made easier and supported by incentives, such as matching deposits. The dollar-for-dollar match of the Saver’s Bonus, available right on the tax form, can motivate individuals to both save and save more than they otherwise would.

The State Fiscal Stabilization Fund and Higher Education Spending in the States

  • By
  • Jennifer Cohen Kabaker,
  • New America Foundation
December 9, 2010

UPDATED TO REFLECT NEW INFORMATION ON IDAHO.

By late 2008, the United States was in the midst of its most severe economic recession since the 1930s, brought on by a collapse in real estate prices and exacerbated by the failure of many large banks and financial institutions. Heeding calls from economists, Congress and the Obama administration passed a historic law in early 2009 to stimulate the economy with $862 billion in new spending and tax cuts.

Youth Unemployment

  • By
  • Shayne Henry,
  • New America Foundation
December 8, 2010

During the last three years, youth employment has taken a large hit, absorbing a significant portion of job losses.  One in four unemployed persons is under the age of 25 and nearly one in five young workers is unemployed.1  The rate of joblessness among individuals aged 16-24 is at its highest level on record.2

The Recession

A New Deal: A Plan for Sustainable Afghan Stability

  • By Bijan R. Kian and Wayne Porter
December 6, 2010

America’s strategic interest in Afghanistan and South Asia extends beyond the immediate denial of a safe haven for al-Qaeda.  In a wider context, strategic opportunities converge in Afghanistan that could help to stabilize the region, expand a lucrative market for U.S. investors and exporters, help restore America’s credible influence in the Islamic world, reduce narcotics production, and maintain an environment nonconducive to extremism.

10 Themes Emerging from the New Debt Reduction Plans

November 23, 2010

It is gratifying to see the growing number of plans to address the federaldebt. The recent proposal from the Co-Chairs of the President’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (Fiscal Commission), the Debt Reduction Task Force plan, Esquire’s Commission to Balance the Federal Budget, Bill Galston and Maya MacGuineas’ proposal, Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) Roadmap, and the plan from Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) all dig deep into the budget to recommend ways to bring down future federal deficits and debt.

The Great Recession Strains the American Social Contract

  • By
  • Lauren Damme,
  • New America Foundation
November 23, 2010

The Great Recession has exposed numerous flaws in our social contract – weaknesses that existed prior to the economic downturn – highlighting the need for changes in our system. This series of policy briefs explores the stresses on our social contract, and the policy changes that must be made to mend it. The six-part series includes:

 

Overview: The Great Recession exposes flaws in the American Social Contract.

Savings and Assets Over the Life Course

  • By
  • Ray Boshara,
  • New America Foundation
November 16, 2010

This paper argues that public policies to promote savings and asset building should be conceptualized and advanced with a “life course” perspective. The paper demonstrates a growing consensus towards this approach and presents relevant data as well as “asset effects” research in support of this perspective. The paper also presents a series of principles and two policy frameworks—behavioral economics and institutional models—to guide policy design over the life course.

Getting Back in the Black

November 10, 2010

The Peterson-Pew Commission has just released its second report, Getting Back in the Black, offering recommendations for how to fix the broken federal budget process.

The Battle for Afghanistan

  • By Anand Gopal
November 9, 2010

As Afghanistan’s cultural and political heartland, Kandahar is a province of key strategic importance for foreign forces, the Afghan government, and the insurgency. A sizable chunk of the Taliban’s senior leadership hails from the province, and the cultural and political dynamics of rural Kandahar shape aspects of the movement’s character to this day.

This study attempts to understand the Taliban of Kandahar by looking at the factors that spurred their rise and the networks and structures through which they operate. The findings include:

Managing the Danger from Pakistan's Nuclear Stockpile

  • By
  • Jeffrey G. Lewis,
  • New America Foundation
November 8, 2010

Pakistan has a large and growing nuclear arsenal.  The United States has provided substantial assistance to improve the security of Pakistan’s arsenal, such that today it is largely safe and secure during peacetime. The greater danger, however, is Pakistan might place its nuclear forces on alert during a crisis with India.  Such a move would disrupt many carefully designed security procedures and expose Pakistan’s nuclear weapons to much greater risks of theft or unauthorized use.

Enhancing Tax Credits to Encourage Saving for Higher Education

  • By
  • Mark Huelsman,
  • New America Foundation
November 1, 2010

The federal tax system contains numerous credits, deductions, and incentives for individuals and families to build wealth and make goals like higher education more accessible and affordable. By May 2010, over 129 million American taxpayers filed federal income tax returns from the previous year, ninety-six million – or three-fourths – of which resulted in a federal refund. The average federal refund was $2,887 for all taxpayers, and low- and moderate-income (LMI) families in particular tend to receive larger tax refunds relative to annual income.

The Politics of Social Security

  • By Eric Laursen, Co-Author, Understanding the Crash
October 28, 2010

The Social Security debate is the longest-running domestic political tug-of-war in Washington. It began in 1981 when President Reagan floated a proposal to drastically cut old-age and survivors' benefits that met with immediate rejection from leaders of both parties in Congress.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

  • By
  • Tim Fernholz,
  • New America Foundation
October 27, 2010

The current financial reform process has been subject to inevitable comparisons with the sweeping overhaul of the 1930s, which created the bulk of America’s financial bureaucracy as we know it today. With much of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, commonly called the Dodd-Frank bill, building on the framework established by the Roosevelt administration, the new law has suffered accusations of a poverty of ambition.

The Case for Asset-Based Social Policy in the Wake of the Great Recession

  • By
  • Rachel Black,
  • New America Foundation
October 26, 2010

The Great Recession continues to spread hardship far and wide. Poverty rates are increasing, and once stable households are falling behind and increasingly vulnerable to economic uncertainty. The longer economic insecurity persists, the harder it will be for families to move forward in their lives. The breadth of households turning to existing safety net programs for assistance is exposing the limits of the prevailing policy framework designed to prevent families from falling deep into poverty, mitigating hardship, and providing a pathway toward financial stability.

In Search of Fiscal Responsibility: Ten Questions to Ask the Candidates

October 20, 2010
Fiscal responsibility is one of the major issues this campaign season, with a recent Bloomberg News poll indicating that voters rank the federal budget deficit as the second most important issue facing the country, falling right behind the economy/jobs. As Election Day approaches, more and more candidates will assume the mantle of fiscal responsibility, but often, they will not offer the specific policies to back up their rhetoric.

The Law Behind Health Reform

October 15, 2010

With legal challenges to the health care reform law moving forward, a brief from the New America Foundation's Health Policy Program, The Law Behind Health Reform, explores the legal and Constitutional dimensions of the legislation, with a focus on the individual mandate and penalty for not buying "minimum essential coverage." This brief clarifies the legal arguments and judicial history and concludes that the Obama administration has the law on its side.

Let's Get Specific: Tax Expenditures

October 14, 2010

The Let’s Get Specific series is intended to help focus the national discussion on specific policies that could help to reduce the deficit and create a better understanding of the types of policy changes that will be required. The policies recommended in this series are not necessarily endorsed by all the members of the Board of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Tax Expenditure Reform Framework

An International Comparison of Cell Phone Plans and Prices

  • By
  • Chiehyu Li,
  • Bincy Ninan-Moses,
  • New America Foundation
October 14, 2010

Cell phones are intertwined with our lives no matter where we are in the world. The New America Foundation's Open Technology Initiative (OTI) recently completed a survey on the costs and types of mobile cell phone packages available to consumers around the world. With recent policy debates over Bill Shock and Consumer Disclosure, this study provides useful insight into business models prevalent in several key countries. Plans in some countries provide different offerings and bundled services for students, professionals, family, corporate and special needs consumers.

A Recovery At Risk

  • By
  • Sherle R. Schwenninger,
  • Samuel Sherraden,
  • New America Foundation
October 11, 2010

Click here to download the slideshow, "A Recovery at Risk."

Let's Get Specific: Healthcare

September 30, 2010

The Let’s Get Specific series is intended to help focus the national discussion on specific policies that could help to reduce the deficit and create a better understanding of the types of policy changes that will be required. The policies recommended in this series are not necessarily endorsed by all the members of the Board of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Let's Get Specific: Social Security

September 30, 2010

The Let’s Get Specific series is intended to help focus the national discussion on specific policies that could help to reduce the deficit and create a better understanding of the types of policy changes that will be required. The policies recommended in this series are not necessarily endorsed by all the members of the Board of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Fig. 1: Summary of Recommendations

Many Missing Pieces

  • By
  • Laura Bornfreund,
  • Maggie Severns,
  • New America Foundation
September 30, 2010

A new issue brief from New America's Early Education Initiative sheds light on what's missing as states build data systems to analyze children's progress over time.

The Future Is Now: A Plan to Stabilize Public Debt and Promote Economic Growth

  • By
  • Maya MacGuineas,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Bill Galston
September 30, 2010

The Need for Change

Public Opinion in Pakistan’s Tribal Regions

  • By
  • Peter Bergen,
  • Patrick C. Doherty,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Ken Ballen, Terror Free Tomorrow
September 28, 2010

Executive Summary

The New America Foundation and Terror Free Tomorrow have conducted the first comprehensive public opinion survey covering sensitive political issues in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan.   

The American Social Contract

  • By
  • Sherle R. Schwenninger,
  • New America Foundation
September 28, 2010

The Great Recession has put enormous strain on the American social contract, exposing not only the many holes in our social safety net but also the weaknesses in its basic design and philosophy.

China’s Back-Door Yuan Strategy

  • By
  • Samuel Sherraden,
  • New America Foundation
September 24, 2010

It has been widely reported that China has dramatically reduced its purchases of US Treasuries over the past year.  But it would be wrong to conclude that China has stopped intervening in currency markets or even that it is dumping the dollar.

Scranton

  • By
  • Jessica Durkin,
  • Tom Glaisyer,
  • New America Foundation
September 23, 2010

In the past several years the Scranton, Pennsylvania, news media have steadily lost workers. In parallel, the space to publish quality journalism in the leading local paper has been reduced. In Northeast Pennsylvania residents and local governments have been slow to adapt to new online information practices despite high-speed Internet access in the area and readily available online publishing software. In addition, the Great Recession has battered local media, highlighting the limitations of the Scranton news and information ecosystem.

Seattle

  • By
  • Jessica Durkin,
  • Tom Glaisyer,
  • Kara Hadge,
  • New America Foundation
September 23, 2010

Seattle, Wash., could be considered a city singularly suited to develop a healthy democracy in the digital age. The city government, citizens and business have created a productive environment for the next generation of information-sharing and community engagement.

New Insurance Provisions & the Six Month Mark

  • By
  • Allison Levy,
  • New America Foundation
September 23, 2010

Sept. 23, 2010 marks the six-month anniversary of enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. A number of new insurance protections will be effective for all health insurance plans beginning on or after Sept. 23, 2010, marking the next phase of health care reform implementation.

Over time, all consumers will benefit from the provisions in the new health care reform law; however, depending on an individual’s specific employer, insurance plan, and existing state regulations, the benefits will be felt at different times and to a different extent.

Lessons from SEED

  • By Editors Michael Sherraden and Julia Stevens
September 21, 2010

In an April 2009 speech at Georgetown University, President Barack Obama said:

We cannot rebuild this economy on the same pile of sand. We must build our house upon a rock. We must lay a new foundation for growth and prosperity: a foundation that will move us from an era of borrow and spend to one where we save and invest.

The Assets Agenda 2011

  • By
  • Reid Cramer,
  • Alejandra Lopez-Fernandini,
  • Lindsay Guge,
  • Justin King,
  • Jamie M. Zimmerman,
  • New America Foundation
September 20, 2010

The purpose of this report is to outline a public policy agenda to broaden savings and asset ownership opportunities for people who have limited resources at their disposal. In developing our thinking on the subject, we have drawn on the research and expert analysis of many others in the field. The agenda we present here includes calls for new structures and policies at the federal level, as well as changes to existing tax systems, government programs, and financial products.

The Research Triangle, North Carolina

  • By
  • Fiona Morgan,
  • Allie Perez,
  • New America Foundation
September 16, 2010

The Triangle is a complex and varied metropolitan area of 1.6 million people, a place in which local identity and regional identity often exist in tension. Connected by highways and by the institutions that employ, educate and entertain, them, Triangle residents tend nevertheless to limit their civic interests to the local communities in which they live. This tension presents challenges to media outlets that cover the Triangle as a metropolitan area.

The Battle for Pakistan: Frontier Regions

  • By Khalid Khan Kheshgi
September 14, 2010

The Frontier Regions, or semi-tribal areas, of Pakistan act as buffer zones between the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the adjacent settled districts of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP).[1] However, the Pakistani Taliban have utilized some of these frontier regions as strongholds because of their proximity to important settled districts of the NWFP.

The Battle for Afghanistan: Zabul and Uruzgan

  • By Martine van Bijlert
September 14, 2010

Executive Summary

The Battle for Pakistan: Orakzai

  • By Raheel Khan
September 14, 2010

Orakzai is the only one of Pakistan’s seven tribal agencies that does not border Afghanistan.

The Next Priority for Health Care: Federalize Medicaid

  • By Greg Anrig, The Century Foundation
September 14, 2010

Medicaid has always been plagued by inequities and inefficiencies due to its dual federal-state character, which diffuses accountability, and because some state governments simply don’t care much about the poor.

The Battle for Pakistan: Dir

  • By Manzoor Ali
September 14, 2010

Spread over 2,040 square miles in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), Dir is fertile and picturesque, producing wheat, barley, and fruits and covered in fir, pine, and walnut trees. However, the terrain is craggy and inhospitable, and most of the population lives in the remote valleys and mountains that dot the district. Like neighboring Swat, Dir was a “princely state” until 1969, when the district was formally merged into the NWFP. Formerly a single district within the NWFP, Dir was divided into two districts -- Upper and Lower Dir -- in 1996.

The Battle for Afghanistan: Helmand

  • By Jean MacKenzie
September 14, 2010

Outside observers frequently portray the Taliban as a military front, existing apart from the local population, imposing their will through intimidation and violence. While many of the foot soldiers may be merely seeking employment rather than fighting out of conviction, the overall movement is thought to be more in the nature of an occupying force, with a reluctant population intimidated into active or passive support.

Public Purpose Finance

  • By
  • Michael Lind,
  • New America Foundation
September 9, 2010

Executive Summary

Rebuilding the American economy in the aftermath of the most severe global economic crisis since the Great Depression can be achieved in part with the aid of public economic development banks that can leverage private capital for public purposes that include investment in infrastructure, energy, R&D, manufacturing and skills development. 

Readying a Plan B for Economic Recovery

  • By Marshall Auerback, Senior Fellow, Roosevelt Institute
September 6, 2010

President Obama, his economics team, and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve continue to display a curiously detached view of the economy.  Just the other day, the president indicated that “it took nearly a decade to dig the hole that we’re in” as if that provided an excuse for the lassitude he continues to display in regard to the problem of unemployment.

Promoting Recovery through Cheap Credit for Small Businesses

  • By Robert Pollin, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
September 6, 2010

The single most important reason for the failure of the recovery to take hold thus far is that private credit markets are locked up, especially for small businesses.  Private business borrowing and lending is at a standstill, while private banks are holding an unprecedented $1.1 trillion in cash reserves in their Federal Reserve accounts.  In 2007, before the recession began, the banks held only $20 billion in reserves.  The 2007 figure was itself dangerously low.  But a nearly $1 trillion turnaround in bank reserve holdings is a new form of Wall Street excess.

The Case for a Multi-Year Infrastructure Investment Plan

  • By Laura Tyson, University of California, Berkeley
September 6, 2010

The US is suffering from the worst labor market crisis since the Great Depression.  After hitting a high of 10.1% in October of last year, the unemployment rate has stalled at 9.6%, more than double what it was in 2007 before the Great Recession gripped the economy. The primary culprit behind today’s high unemployment rate is inadequate demand.

Focusing on Innovation

  • By Michael Mandel, Visible Economy LLC
September 6, 2010

The first step in treating a severe illness is making the correct diagnosis.  Since passing the stimulus package in early 2009, President Obama and his economics team have groped for a good explanation of why the economy remains stuck in a long-term slump, and in particular, why job growth has remained so slow.  The answers have variously been high health care costs, fiscal profligacy by the Bush administration, recklessness on Wall Street, excess dependence on foreign oil,  and a poor education system.

Monetary Policy’s Role in America’s Economic Recovery

  • By Joseph Gagnon, Peterson Institute for International Economics
September 6, 2010

At this year’s Jackson Hole conference for central bankers, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke admitted that the economic recovery so far this year has been “somewhat less vigorous than we expected,” but he expressed hope that the economy would return to a more satisfactory growth rate next year.  Considering that the Fed was already projecting a markedly slower recovery than America experienced after previous deep recessions, the Fed’s economic objectives are far too modest.  Ideally, the US economy should be growing at a 5 percent rate in 2010 and 2011 to recover lost ground and get work

Thoughts on a Plan B

  • By James K. Galbraith, University of Texas at Austin
September 6, 2010

In July 2008, in a memorandum for the Obama campaign team and later published in Challenge,  I wrote as follows:

If the above analysis is correct, the political capital of the new presidency risks being depleted, quite quickly, in a series of short-term stimulus efforts that will do little more than buoy the economy for a few months each. Since they will not lead to a revival of private credit, every one of those efforts will ultimately be seen as “too little, too late” and therefore as ending in failure.

Plan B for Obama

  • By
  • Thomas Palley,
  • New America Foundation
September 6, 2010

Mr. President:

With hopes of a V- or U-shaped recovery fading, there is the increasing prospect of an L-shaped future of long stagnation, or even a W-shaped future in which W stands for something worse. The reason for this dismal outlook is economic policy is trapped by failed conventional thinking that can only deliver wage stagnation and prolonged mass unemployment.

Your administration’s current economic recovery program has been marked by four major failings:

Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota

  • By
  • Daniel Amzallag,
  • Amalia Deloney,
  • New America Foundation
September 2, 2010

Historically, a robust media ecosystem in Minneapolis-St. Paul has supported residents’ demand for large and diverse quantities of information on both political and quality-of-life issues. Today, the demand for quality journalism in the Twin Cities remains high, but many local media outlets struggle to deliver it sustainably. The digital age has presented significant challenges to a media landscape centered around a print format; however it also presents new opportunities.

The Vulnerable American Worker

  • By
  • Lauren Damme,
  • New America Foundation
August 27, 2010

Over 30 percent of American workers are engaged in ad-hoc, contract-based employment, known as contingent or precarious labor. In comparison to employees on payroll, these contingent workers take on more risk in terms of both their income and retirement security, and are not covered by basic federal labor protections, such as minimum wage, overtime, and health and safety standards. They are also unlikely to have access to traditional employer-based benefits meant to provide a safety net to American workers.

The CRFB Medium and Long-Term Baselines

August 26, 2010

Last week, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its updated Budget and Economic Outlook, which provides their latest baseline projections for the coming decade. Under current law, CBO estimates debt to rise from about 60 percent of GDP currently, to nearly 70 percent by 2020. However, this current law baseline assumes that a number of current policies scheduled to expire under current law will actually do so, a highly unlikely scenario. Absent policy change,  the debt is likely to grow far more quickly  

Selling Out Uncle Sam

  • By
  • Janine Wedel,
  • New America Foundation
August 18, 2010

It’s 2010. Do you know where your government is? The answer is that, increasingly, government power that should be in the hands of the American people is now in the hands of private companies. This year, we saw lives lost and habitats destroyed from what were widely seen as spectacular regulatory failures: the Upper Big Branch mine disaster and the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. But in both cases, the companies were not simply skirting regulation. Often, they were the de facto regulators, not the civil servants.

Secure Retirement for All Americans

  • By
  • Steven Hill,
  • New America Foundation
August 16, 2010

For more and more Americans, the dream of a secure retirement has become increasingly threatened. The Great Recession has taken its toll on a retirement system which has been in place in the United States since WWII. Retirement was conceived as a "three-legged stool," with the three legs being Social Security, pensions and personal savings centered around homeownership.

The 2010 Medicare Trustees Report

August 9, 2010

Last week, the Social Security and Medicare Trustees released their 2010 reports on the financial status of both programs. Last Friday, we offered an analysis of the Trustees’ Social Security projections. We also recently looked at CBO’s interpretation of the effect of health reform on the long-term. This paper will focus on the Trustees’ projections for Medicare.

Quick Credit

  • By David Stoesz, Virginia Commonwealth University and policyAmerica
August 9, 2010

Rapid growth of the “fringe economy”—check-cashers, payday lenders, buy-here-pay-here auto sales, refund anticipation loans, rent-to-own furniture and appliances, auto title loans, and pawnshops—has precipitated a volatile debate about whether such financial services represent an adaptive response to the credit needs of low- and moderate-income families or predatory exploitation of economically hard-pressed consumers.

Analysis of the 2010 Social Security Trustees Report

August 6, 2010

Yesterday, the Social Security and Medicare Trustees released their 2010 report on the financial status of both programs. Both programs remain on unsustainable paths.

An Information Community Case Study: Washington, D.C. - Broadband and Library Access

August 5, 2010

BROADBAND CONNECTIVITY & DIGITAL LITERACY

Several major Internet service providers (ISPs) offer wireline and wireless access in the District of Columbia, including Verizon, Comcast and RCN (which operates over Comcast’s infrastructure).

Programs:

An Information Community Case Study: Washington, D.C. - Introduction

August 5, 2010

As the nation’s capital and as a vibrant local community, Washington, D.C., is diverse in every sense: Its residents are transient and long-established, American government officials and foreign nationals, affluent and impoverished, esteemed business leaders and innovative grassroots activists. Washington thrives on its variety, but also struggles with extreme socioeconomic stratification.

Programs:

An Information Community Case Study: Washington, D.C. - Radio

August 5, 2010

D.C. has 25 city-licensed radio stations. For the purpose of this study, we have identified and included radio stations that are located within the D.C. area and whose programming centers heavily on the local market. However, highlighted stations may broadcast beyond metro D.C. and into Maryland and Virginia. These stations also cater to programming niches including sports, classical music, jazz and news. Of these 25, four are publicly funded radio stations: WAMU (88.5 FM); WETA (90.9 FM); WGTS (91.9 FM) and WPFW (89.3 FM).

Programs:

An Information Community Case Study: Washington, D.C. - Conclusion

August 5, 2010

While there are a number of intriguing innovations in media, government, and digital literacy in Washington, the impact of these initiatives on the people has not yet been seen. Geographic distinctions appear to create an unequal distribution of information across D.C., and information access follows the same patterns of racial and socioeconomic stratification that characterize other inequalities among Washington residents.

Programs:

An Information Community Case Study: Washington, D.C. - Print Media

August 5, 2010

Washington, D.C., has 41 print publications (including newspapers and magazines) varying in circulation, focus, political leaning and days of distribution. The print media is defined as locally headquartered news organizations with a heavy focus on District related news. The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Washington Examiner and the Express account for over 60 percent of the total circulation in the area.1 By this study’s estimations, print media in D.C.

Programs:

An Information Community Case Study: Washington, D.C. - Internet Media

August 5, 2010

Washington ranks first out of the country’s largest designated market areas in terms of households that possess a computer with 82.9 percent of adults in the metro area claiming computer ownership, and again in terms of Internet access, with 80 percent of adults having accessed the Internet in the past 30 days 1. Online news outlets are defined in this study as news of general interest within the local community. All the mainstream media news outlets have also established an online presence.

Programs:

An Information Community Case Study: Washington, D.C. - Media Serving Underrepresented Communities

August 5, 2010

The Washington, D.C., area is also served by media outlets that cater specifically to a range of ethnicities, including but not limited to African, African-American, Ethiopian, Vietnamese, and Hispanic. These publications, generally available both in print and online forms, merit a look separate from the general interest print publications discussed above. These publications tend to be self-funded (privately owned) and support a very small staff of writers.

Programs:

An Information Community Case Study: Washington, D.C. - Content Analysis

August 5, 2010

A short study we conducted of three daily newspapers and four local and neighborhood blogs revealed differing patterns in local news coverage across media.

Programs:

Washington, D.C.

  • By
  • Kristine Gloria,
  • Kara Hadge,
  • New America Foundation
August 5, 2010

The District of Columbia, containing a wealth of intellectual capital, national political institutions, and expansive support for innovative industries is well positioned to develop a healthy information ecology in the digital age. Washington’s high concentration of leading political actors, paired with a high volume of influential information hubs, maintains a supply of and demand for information. Within its 61 square mile area, the District of Columbia hosts hundreds of media outlets transmitting news to the rest of the world.

An Information Community Case Study: Washington, D.C. - Television

August 5, 2010

PUBLIC TELEVISION

The District of Columbia has 15 television stations with the majority privately and/or commercially owned. Television stations included in this study are all based within the D.C. area and service areas including metro D.C., Maryland and/or Virginia. Of these, two are public television properties: WETA and WHUT. Between them, WETA and WHUT are served by 230 working journalists.

Programs:

Amid State Pension Funding Crises, Joining Social Security Becomes an Option

  • By
  • Lauren Damme,
  • New America Foundation
August 4, 2010

American retirement security, even prior to the Great Recession, was in bad shape. The downturn has only exacerbated previously-existing structural problems, such as an over-reliance on home values and the troubled transition from defined-benefit to defined-contribution retirement plans, as we mentioned in a previous Talking Points article. 

Renewable Energy Cannot Drive the Recovery

  • By
  • Samuel Sherraden,
  • New America Foundation
July 28, 2010

The promotion of the renewable energy industry is central to the Recovery Act and the Obama administration's broader economic recovery program, but it is unlikely to create enough jobs or have a large enough domestic multiplier effect to contribute significantly to the economic recovery. It reflects an ambition to transform the economy into a green energy leader of the 21st century and tackle climate change. But these investments are a questionable short- or medium-term generator of growth and jobs.

The Mid-Session Review

July 26, 2010

Late last week, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released its Mid- Session Review, which showed slightly improved deficit and debt projections for FY 2010 but slightly worse projections of the President’s Budget over the next few years (for an initial analysis of the President’s FY2011 Budget, see http://crfb.org/document/analysis-presidents-fy-2011-budget). Despite some differences from February, these new projections show the same old story: the Federal budget is on an unsustainable path.

Our main points are:

Congressional Budget Action for Fiscal Year 2011 and its Impact on Education Funding

  • By
  • Jason Delisle,
  • New America Foundation
July 21, 2010

Typically, Congress puts forward a budget resolution each year that defines a spending and revenue plan for the next five to 10 years for the entire federal budget. The budget resolution and the ensuing budget process itself can have either significant or more subtle and indirect effects on education funding. The arcane procedures Congress uses to produce and act upon the budget resolution are often confusing to the media and education advocates alike. This confusion is made worse by political rhetoric and partisan spin.

Public Affluence, Private Squalor

  • By
  • Mark Paul,
  • Micah Weinberg,
  • New America Foundation
July 20, 2010

The financial crisis has shaken the foundations of retirement security in both the private and public sectors, and nowhere more than in California. Generous public pension promises are straining the finances of cities and counties while private sector workers have little prospect of secure retirement.  The contrast between the guaranteed and increasingly expensive pensions and retiree health benefits enjoyed by most public workers in California and the less secure (and often missing) retirement plans of private-sector workers has touched off pension envy.

Inequality in America

July 19, 2010

"After 30-Year Run, Rise of the Super-Rich Hits a Sobering Wall." So declared a headline in the New York Times in August 2009, documenting the declining number of Americans with a net worth of $30 million and predicting that the Great Recession would reduce the staggering level of inequality in the United States. As our symposium suggests, the truly sobering news lies elsewhere. It is not multimillionaires who have been hit hardest in the recent economic downturn.

The Dignity Voucher Program

  • By
  • Michael Lind,
  • Lauren Damme,
  • New America Foundation
July 15, 2010

The United States faces two immense challenges: prolonged unemployment and an aging population. To meet the needs of the elderly while creating jobs for low-skilled workers, Michael Lind and Lauren Damme propose the Dignity Voucher program, an innovative system of service care vouchers for the elderly.

College Savings Initiative Federal Legislative Priorities

  • By
  • Mark Huelsman,
  • Jackie Williams,
  • New America Foundation
July 15, 2010

Tax Incentives for College Savings

Include 529 plans as an Eligible Product for the Saver’s Credit, and Make the Credit Refundable

Currently, taxpayers aged 18 years or older who are not dependents or full-time students may receive a nonrefundable Saver’s Credit equal to between 10 and 50 percent of their compensation up to $2,000 contributed to an employer-sponsored qualified retirement plan or IRA.

The Effect of Health Reform on the Long-Term

July 14, 2010

Last week, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its Long-Term Outlook, which CRFB wrote about in detail at http://crfb.org/document/cboslong-term-budget-outlook. A key question leading up to the release, was what CBO would conclude about the health reform bill's impact on the long-term; however, their answer is inconclusive.

The Danger of Long-Term Structural Unemployment

  • By
  • Sherle R. Schwenninger,
  • Lauren Damme,
  • New America Foundation
July 12, 2010

The current debate over job creation versus fiscal restraint may prove to be the most decisive debate about America’s future in the post-bubble era. Which side prevails will determine the shape of our economy and society for years to come. Deficit hawks often cite the fear that at some point in the future the market will lose faith in the federal government’s creditworthiness with supposedly severe consequences, but against this distant (and in our view improbable) danger, they tend to ignore the damage caused by the lost output, incomes, and tax revenue that results from weak eco

CRFB Stabilize the Debt Simulator

July 8, 2010

In May of 2010, the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget unveiled the “Stabilize the Debt” online budget simulator. The simulator is designed to educate the public and policymakers about what will be required to put the United States on a sustainable fiscal path and give them an opportunity to share their preferences.

CBO’s Long Term Budget Outlook

July 1, 2010

Yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued its Long Term Budget Outlook. Under CBO’s “Extended-Baseline Scenario,” the long-run fiscal picture has slightly worsened over the next twenty years, compared to last year, but significantly improved over the longer run – due largely to the impact of health care reform on spending and especially revenues. However, CBO’s overall analysis shows the budget to be on an unsustainable path, with debt moving to unprecedented and cripplingly high levels.

The Fiscal Crisis in State Government – And What Should be Done About It

  • By Linda J. Bilmes, Daniel Patrick Moynihan Senior Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
June 17, 2010

While the federal deficit captures the news headlines, there is a deep and pervasive fiscal crisis in state finance. This crisis is largely a result of the Great Recession, which has caused the steepest decline in state tax receipts on record. It is also a structural issue, resulting from unfunded retirement plans that are beginning to come due. With state spending accounting for one eighth of US GDP, this crisis has serious implications for economic recovery, for jobs and for the credit markets, where states and municipalities have borrowed nearly $3 trillion.

Front Line of Defense

  • By Steven Attewell, Ph.D. Candidate, University of California at Santa Barbara
June 14, 2010

The limitations imposed by the role of the states in the U.S. unemployment insurance system are the reason why a majority of workers are not protected and why even insured workers receive inadequate protection. Steven Attewell writes: “Our reconstruction of the unemployment insurance system should start from three basic principles. First, unemployment is a national problem for our single, national economy, and requires a nation-wide system to respond to it.

STRONG America 2020

  • By
  • Lisa Margonelli,
  • New America Foundation
June 5, 2010

By 2020, the EIA projects that Americans will consume 15 million barrels of oil per day through transportation. Of that, we will produce only 6 million barrels domestically, with more than a third of those projected to come from drilling in deep water in the Gulf of Mexico. Economically, oil acts as a sponge in the US economy, as rising gas prices soak up disposable income. On May 11, 2010, for example, Americans spent $1.1 billion on gasoline--$239 million more than on the same day a year before, when gas was 62 cents cheaper per gallon.

U.S. and Europe: Shaping a New Model of Economic Development

  • By
  • Sherle R. Schwenninger,
  • New America Foundation
June 1, 2010

The Great Recession of 2008-09 has put enormous strain on the social contracts of Western economies. This paper provides an American perspective on how well the social welfare systems of the United States and the European Union countries have performed in cushioning their populations against the economic dislocations associated with the Great Recession and how effective U.S. and European policy has been in softening the severity of the recession and in creating the conditions for future socio-economic progress.

We Need Offsets, Not Omissions

May 28, 2010

The House of Representatives has just passed two pieces of legislation that could significantly increase the nation’s federal debt. The American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act, as originally considered, was projected to cost $188 billion and add $134 billion to the deficit. The new, scaled back and split up version approved by the House will cost $113 billion and add $54 billion to the deficit. This is on top of an emergency supplemental war spending bill passed by the Senate yesterday at a cost of $60 billion—none of which is paid for.

The American Retirement Security Crisis: An Introduction

  • By
  • Lauren Damme,
  • New America Foundation
May 27, 2010

The Great Recession has battered pensions and home values, leaving millions of Americans facing an uncertain retirement. "But attributing this grim situation solely to the recession would be misleading," writes Lauren Damme.

The Link Between DDR and SSR in Conflict-Affected Countries

  • By
  • Sean McFate,
  • New America Foundation
May 25, 2010

Summary

  • Disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) and security sector reform (SSR) processes should be interrelated and mutually reinforcing. As DDR and SSR share the same objective--consolidation of the state’s monopoly of force to uphold the rule of law--they succeed or fail together and should be planned, resourced, implemented, and evaluated in a coordinated manner.

What’s Wrong (And Right)

  • By
  • Sherle R. Schwenninger,
  • Samuel Sherraden,
  • New America Foundation
May 24, 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lessons from Portugal

  • By
  • Anne Vorce,
  • New America Foundation
May 24, 2010

Inspiration can come from the most surprising places.

Take Portugal, for instance. (Granted, there are major differences between the U.S. and Portuguese economic and fiscal situations.)

Long-term Consequences of Economic Fluctuations

  • By Jeffrey G. Madrick, Senior Fellow, The Schwartz Center and William T. Dickens, Distinguished Professor of Economics and Social Policy, Northeastern University
May 20, 2010

To read working papers from the Bernard Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis, please click here.

Facing an American Retirement Security Crisis

  • By
  • Lauren Damme,
  • New America Foundation
May 17, 2010

There are three main sources of retirement security upon which Americans depend: pensions, non-financial assets (usually homes), and Social Security. Pensions are the least broadly distributed asset: only 34.2 percent of Americans 65 and over earn pension income, while 54 percent have income from assets and over 85 percent receive Social Security payments.[1]

Point-of-Purchase Bank Card Surcharges

  • By Allen Rosenfeld, Ph.D.
May 14, 2010

Credit and debit cards have taken the nation by storm. During the past two decades, the use of electronic payment cards to make retail purchases in the United States has increased at a phenomenal rate. Adjusted for inflation, the annual amount charged to credit cards in this country increased more than threefold between 1993 and 2007, from just over $600 billion to more than $1.9 trillion. Debit card use is increasing even faster.

The Potential of Inclusive 529 College Savings Plans

  • By
  • David Newville,
  • New America Foundation
May 12, 2010

The Importance of College Savings

There is strong evidence that attaining a college education is one of the best ways for low- and moderate-income students to climb the economic ladder.

California Task Force on Affordable Care

  • By
  • Micah Weinberg,
  • Leif Wellington Haase,
  • New America Foundation
May 3, 2010

The passage of federal healthcare reform is a landmark achievement. It extends insurance coverage to millions of Californians and sets the stage for transforming how medical care is delivered. This legislation is an important first step toward addressing ever-growing medical costs and making healthcare truly affordable.

Youth Savings in Developing Countries

May 1, 2010

Research and experience to date suggest that savings accounts for low-income youth may be a high-leverage tool to achieve both youth development and financial inclusion objectives. This potential has led a variety of stakeholders to invest in youth savings products, programs, policies around the world. However, there is limited evidence of whether these initiatives are fulfilling either type of development potential, or what types of youth savings initiatives might potentially achieve both.

Why Trade Figures Do Not Prove China Is Rebalancing

  • By
  • Samuel Sherraden,
  • New America Foundation
April 27, 2010

China’s trade surplus declined in the first quarter, and during March the country ran a deficit of $7.2 billion, its first monthly trade deficit since 2004. Contrary to some analyses, this is not proof that the economy has made significant progress toward rebalancing or a reason for the United States to back away from pushing China on yuan appreciation.

Forging a New Vision for California Working Families

  • By
  • Olivia Calderon,
  • New America Foundation
April 26, 2010

California prides itself on being the land of opportunity. It is a place where people from across the nation and around the world have joined together, generation after generation, to achieve their dreams and create the promise of continued opportunity for future generations. This legacy was built on hard work, ownership,entrepreneurship, and a great deal of sacrifice.

Wireless Broadband and the Redlining of Rural America

  • By Dr. Gregory Rose
April 26, 2010

The lack of wired and wireless broadband coverage in much of rural America is a persistent problem that Internet service providers sometimes suggest is caused by actual or proposed federal regulation, such as the Federal Communication Commission’s Open Internet policy principles.

The Troubling Economics and Politics of Paying Interest on Bank Reserves

  • By
  • Thomas Palley,
  • New America Foundation
April 21, 2010

The Federal Reserve has recently activated its newly acquired powers to pay interest on reserves of depository institutions. The Fed maintains its new policy increases economic efficiency and intends it to play a lead role in the exit from quantitative easing.

The Long Downturn

  • By Robert Brenner, UCLA
April 21, 2010

The administration has made economic policy as if it believes that once financial institutions and financial markets are restored, credit will start flowing and growth will follow.

The Battle for Pakistan: Bajaur

  • By Rahmanullah
April 19, 2010

Bajaur is the smallest of the seven administrative units of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of northwest Pakistan, a relatively inaccessible agency known for its hilly terrain.

Al-Qaeda’s Allies

  • By Anne Stenersen
April 19, 2010

Fragmented alliances. This paper examines the nature of the relationship between al-Qaeda and the Taliban after 2001, which is complex because neither the Taliban nor al-Qaeda is a homogenous actor. Rather, each is a network of like-minded groups and individuals that answer, to some degree or other, to a centralized leadership.

The Battle for Pakistan: Mohmand

  • By Raza Khan
April 19, 2010

Mohmand Agency suffers the same economic and governance problems as other regions in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

Pakistan's COIN Flip

  • By
  • Sameer Lalwani,
  • New America Foundation
April 19, 2010

Though Pakistan has not completely adopted the models, tactics, and best practices of counterinsurgency (COIN) doctrine advocated by Western strategists, there is considerable evidence of movement in recent years toward a hybrid approach. Security forces have historically employed a variety of tactics including raids, “coercive sorting,” and sometimes population security, but they experienced repeated failures from 2001 to 2008. Though results of the more recent approach seem promising, prospects for long-term success remain unclear.

The Battle for Pakistan: Kurram

  • By Mansur Khan Mahsud
April 19, 2010

A sectarian history

The Battle for Pakistan: Khyber

  • By Raheel Khan
April 19, 2010

The northwestern tribal region of Pakistan known as Khyber Agency is just across the Durand line from the Tora Bora cave complex, the mountainous hideout from which Osama bin Laden escaped in late 2001. Named after the historic Khyber Pass, Khyber Agency covers 2,576 square kilometers and has a population of 546,730. It is subdivided into three administrative units—Bara, Jamrud and Landi Kotal. The remote Tirah Valley is small but geographically important, and is believed to have been used by al-Qaeda militants escaping into Pakistan in the wake of U.S.

Financing the Taliban

  • By Catherine Collins with Ashraf Ali
April 19, 2010

Insurgent forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan cannot survive on ideology alone, but depend on two inextricable resources -- money and manpower. Unless the United States and its partners can significantly reduce the amount of money available to pay and arm Taliban foot soldiers, there will be little chance of defeating the insurgency and developing the necessary stability to allow Afghanistan to stand on its own and Pakistan to maintain its fragile democracy.

The Battle for Pakistan: South Waziristan

  • By Mansur Khan Mahsud
April 19, 2010

Of all the tribal agencies and districts of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of northwest Pakistan, few have assumed as much importance for the United States since September 11, 2001, as South Waziristan. Comprising 6,619 square kilometers, or about 2,555 square miles, South Waziristan is the country’s southernmost tribal agency and the largest by area.

Inside Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province

  • By Hassan Abbas, Columbia University
April 19, 2010
Despite comparatively progressive forces taking control of Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province (NWFP)[1] after success in the February 2008 provincial elections, stability remains elusive and the law and order situation has gradually deteriorated, raising important questions about the correlation between politics in the province and the nature and extent of militancy there.

The Battle for Pakistan: FATA and NWFP

  • By
  • Brian Fishman,
  • New America Foundation
April 19, 2010

The Battle for Pakistan: North Waziristan

  • By Anand Gopal, Mansur Khan Mahsud, and Brian Fishman
April 19, 2010

North Waziristan, the second-largest of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, is the most important springboard for violence in Afghanistan today, much as it has been for decades. The most important militant group in the agency today is the Haqqani Network.

Price of the Pipe

  • By
  • James Losey,
  • Chiehyu Li,
  • New America Foundation
April 15, 2010

The speed and price of a broadband connection are two important details about a broadband service that vary greatly between different countries. In comparing prices and speeds of broadband services around the globe, we find that the United States is among the most expensive and slowest of the countries surveyed in this report. Price is one of the main barriers to adoption,[1] and prices for broadband in the U.S.

Pathway to the Baccalaureate

  • By
  • Camille Esch,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Richard Whitmire
April 14, 2010

America is losing its lead in higher education. While other countries are turning out ever-increasing numbers of college graduates, the U.S. has stalled, leaving it behind at least 10 other developed nations in educational attainment. Not everyone needs a college degree, but it's becoming increasingly clear that as a nation we need to produce more college graduates to meet the changing demands of our economy and remain globally competitive.

The Worrying Return of Inequality

  • By
  • Sherle R. Schwenninger,
  • Lauren Damme,
  • New America Foundation
April 13, 2010
Over the past three decades, inequality in the United States increased dramatically, reaching Robber Baron-era proportions in 2007 at the height of the housing and credit bubble.

Improvised Explosive Devices

  • By Alec Barker
April 5, 2010

To properly assess options for improving security along the troubled Afghanistan-Pakistan border, it is crucial to empirically characterize what insecurity exists. The role, type, evolution, and migration of homemade bombs – known by the American military as improvised explosive devices or IEDs – have gone underexamined in attempts to understand instability throughout the Pashtun regions of southern Afghanistan and the western Pakistani province of Balochistan.

A Next Social Contract for the Primary Years of Education

  • By
  • Lisa Guernsey,
  • Sara Mead,
  • New America Foundation
March 31, 2010

 

Broadband Speeds in Perspective

  • By
  • James Losey,
  • Chiehyu Li,
  • Sascha Meinrath,
  • New America Foundation
March 25, 2010

The National Broadband Plan was released this past Tuesday with a vision for broadband in America. The Plan proposes two goals for broadband access: a “universalization target of 4 Mbps [megabits per second] download and 1 Mbps upload,” as well as a goal that “100 million U.S. homes should have affordable access to actual download speeds of at least 100 Mbps and actual upload speeds of at least 50 Mbps by 2020.”[1] Our analyses compare universal broadband speed goals with multiple other countries from around the globe.

The National Broadband Plan

  • By The Open Technology Initiative and Free Press
March 25, 2010

The Federal Communications Commission’s National Broadband Plan takes a first step toward a larger reshaping of the policy framework governing broadband networks. The Plan embraces the idea that broadband Internet access is no longer simply an entertainment service. Rather, it is rapidly becoming critical infrastructure for the 21st century.

Holes in the Safety Net

  • By
  • Lauren Damme,
  • New America Foundation
March 24, 2010

The welfare reforms of 1996 replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) as the primary safety for the poor. But the Great Recession has exposed the failure of TANF as a safety net to catch American families as they experience hardship.

The Assets Report 2010

  • By
  • Reid Cramer,
  • Mark Huelsman,
  • Justin King,
  • Alejandra Lopez-Fernandini,
  • David Newville,
  • New America Foundation
March 22, 2010

Asset Ownership plays a central role in the economic security of American families and the broader economy. Assets can be deployed productively, such as to pay for a college education, or tapped to help individuals and families weather unexpected events. Additionally, assets have behavioral effects that can change the manner in which people think about and plan for the future.

Made in America Bonds

  • By
  • Michael Lind,
  • Daniel Mandel,
  • New America Foundation
March 22, 2010

The urgent need to boost American economic growth while reducing the U.S. trade deficit makes it imperative to rebuild America’s manufacturing sector. Capital and labor that were diverted during the bubble years into unproductive, inflated assets in the housing and stock markets need to be shifted into the production of tradable goods to be exported or substituted for imports. A successful policy to reinvigorate U.S.

The Manufacturing Credit System

  • By
  • Michael Lind,
  • New America Foundation
March 22, 2010

One of the greatest needs of U.S. manufacturing is access to sustained, adequate credit. The U.S. Farm Credit System provides a model for a new U.S. manufacturing credit system. The federal government should create up to a dozen regional manufacturing credit banks, modeled on the farm loan banks. Like the five banks of the federal farm credit system, each regional manufacturing bank would be a cooperative owned by banks and other credit institutions in its geographic region.

Effects of Imposing a Value-Added Tax to Replace Payroll Taxes or Corporate Taxes

  • By Eric Toder, Urban Institute; Joseph Rosenberg, Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center
March 22, 2010

This report examines the effects of imposing a new value added tax (VAT) in the United States and using the revenue raised to lower payroll tax and corporate income tax rates. We summarize how different forms of VAT operate and compare how a VAT, payroll tax, and corporate income treat different sources of income and the different ways each tax distort economic decision-making.

We then present estimates of the revenue effects from a VAT and the reduction in payroll and corporate income taxes that a VAT could potentially finance.

Getting Serious About Doubling U.S. Exports

  • By
  • Sherle R. Schwenninger,
  • Samuel Sherraden,
  • New America Foundation
March 17, 2010

Speaking this past week at the Ex-Im Bank, President Obama laid out his strategy for doubling American exports within five years, a goal he announced in his State of the Union Address. Naming it the National Export Initiative, he described the strategy as “an ambitious effort to marshal the full resources of the United States government behind American businesses that sell their goods and services abroad.” The Initiative calls for the creation of an Export Promotion Cabinet, made up of the Secretaries of State, Treasury, Agriculture, Commerce, and Labor along with the United State

Al-Qaeda Central and the Internet

  • By Daniel Kimmage, Homeland Security Policy Institute
March 16, 2010

Al-Qaeda Central, the organization led by Osama bin Laden and likely based somewhere in Pakistan, is today primarily a media phenomenon. Since the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, it has not succeeded in carrying out a similarly ambitious operation, although it has been effective at spreading its message globally over the Internet.

Land of Opportunity, Or Hereditary Club?

  • By
  • Michael Lind,
  • New America Foundation
March 10, 2010

President Obama has expressed support for Congressional action on immigration reform this year.  Fixing America's broken immigration system will require difficult and controversial reforms, including a path to citizenship for most of the 12 million or more illegal immigrants residing in the U.S., strict enforcement of immigration laws against scofflaw employers and future would-be illegal immigrants, and curtailment of indentured servitude in the form of exploitative "guest worker" programs. 

The most important reform should be changing the basis of America's immigration sy

Left on the Table

  • By Antonio Avalos and Sean Alley
March 9, 2010

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is one of the federal government’s largest resources for working low-income Americans. It is widely regarded as the nation’s most effective and efficient anti-poverty program and has been expanded by a series of Democratic and Republican presidents. Hundreds of thousands of Californians, however, fail to claim EITC refunds, which range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. The families and individuals who miss out are not the only losers when these refunds go unclaimed. Local economies never benefit from this money.

Should Americans Be Free to Visit Cuba?

  • By
  • Tom Garofalo,
  • New America Foundation
March 4, 2010

Summary

The Congress of the United States is currently deliberating a variety of legislative initiatives that would reform our policy toward Cuba. One striking aspect of that policy, as House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman has pointed out, stands out because it has more to do with us than with Cuba:  the longstanding prohibition on travel by Americans to the island. The travel ban is the only aspect of the broader embargo that infringes on the fundamental rights of U.S. citizens.  It should be ended.

The Militant Pipeline

  • By Paul Cruickshank
February 25, 2010

Executive Summary

Al-Qaeda Central

  • By Barbara Sude
February 25, 2010

A U.S.

Lashkar-e-Taiba in Perspective

  • By Stephen Tankel
February 25, 2010

In 2006, the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba entered the Afghan theater, necessitating its increased presence in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province and Federally Administered Tribal Areas. The group is often mentioned during discussions of the Punjabi Taliban, militants from Punjabi jihadi groups, who arrived in large numbers at approximately the same time. But these militants follow the Deobandi school of Islam and are close to the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban.

The Year of the Drone

  • By
  • Peter Bergen,
  • Katherine Tiedemann,
  • New America Foundation
February 24, 2010

The bomber, a Jordanian doctor linked to al Qaeda, detonated his explosives on December 30, 2009, at an American base in Khost in eastern Afghanistan, killing himself and seven CIA officers and contractors who were operating at the heart of the covert program overseeing U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan’s volatile northwestern tribal regions.

The Case for an Infrastructure-Led Jobs and Growth Strategy

February 23, 2010

As the Senate takes up a greatly scaled down $15 billion jobs bill stripped of all infrastructure spending, the nation should consider the compelling case for public infrastructure investment offered by Governors Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) and Ed Rendell (D-PA). Appearing on ABC’s "This Week" on Sunday, the bipartisan Co-Chairs of Building America's Future explained why rebuilding America’s infr

Smart Grid: The Devil Is In the Details

  • By Gerald Richman, Special Advisor, Energy Policy Advisory Council
February 23, 2010

1) We Don't All Agree on What a “Smart Grid” is – or What it will Accomplish.

Rather than a physical entity, the “Smart Grid” is really a concept. The term refers to a host of digital technologies, in various stages of development, intended to enable real-time coordination along the Nation’s electric grid.

The Case for an Infrastructure-Led Jobs and Growth Strategy

  • By
  • Sherle R. Schwenninger,
  • New America Foundation
February 23, 2010

As the Senate takes up a greatly scaled down $15 billion jobs bill stripped of all infrastructure spending, the nation should consider the compelling case for public infrastructure investment offered by Governors Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) and Ed Rendell (D-PA).  Appearing on ABC's Programs:

The Consumer Financial Protection Agency

  • By
  • Reid Cramer,
  • New America Foundation
February 16, 2010

Given the role played by the financial sector in the Great Recession of 2008-2009, the case for reform of the financial sector is strong. The Obama Administration has proposed that a key element of reform should be the creation of a new and independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency, whose primary mission would be to look out for the interest of consumers. Advocates of this approach argue that it was the proliferation of deceptive, unfair, and predatory financial products which hurt consumers and ultimately undermined the larger economy.

Unrestricted Savings: Their Role in Household Economic Security and the Case for Policy Action

  • By
  • Alejandra Lopez-Fernandini,
  • New America Foundation
February 15, 2010

Low savings levels are a significant source of economic insecurity for scores of American families. Households need access to unrestricted funds that can be deployed flexibly to bridge short-term cash-flow gaps and to build their own safety net to prevent small shocks from destabilizing their financial security. The amount of funds required to make a difference will vary; depending on the size of the household and other conditions it could range from $2,000 to $5,000.

South and Midwest Clean Power Authority

  • By
  • Lisa Margonelli,
  • New America Foundation
February 12, 2010

Brief:

To bring cheap low carbon power onto the grid quickly and stimulate the economies of industrial and agricultural states in the South and Midwest, the federal government should create a Clean Power Authority. The CPA would purchase electricity from industry, agriculture, and municipal waste facilities at a price cheaper than that transmitted by new coal-fired generators.

America Needs a Manufacturing Strategy

February 3, 2010

 

In President Obama’s meeting with Senate Democrats today, Senator Sherrod Brown (OH) pressed the president on why the United States does not have a manufacturing policy.   Senator Brown was right to raise the question.

First, manufacturing is critical to the economy.

Largest multiplier. Manufacturing has the largest multiplier of all sectors of the economy. Every dollar in final sales in manufacturing products supports $1.37 in other sectors of the economy. By contrast, the financial services sector generates only

Summary and Analysis of President Obama’s Education Budget Request

  • By Federal Education Budget Project
February 2, 2010

President Barack Obama submitted his second budget request to Congress on February 1st, 2010. The detailed budget request includes proposed funding levels for federal programs and agencies in aggregate for the upcoming five to ten fiscal years, and specific fiscal year 2011 funding levels for individual programs subject to appropriations. Congress will use the president's budget request to inform its consideration of tax and spending legislation later this year, including the fiscal year 2011 appropriations bill that will set specific funding levels for federal education programs.

Key Questions on the Obama Administration's 2011 Education Budget

February 1, 2010

President Barack Obama submitted his second budget request to Congress on February 1st, 2010. The detailed budget request includes proposed funding levels for all federal programs and agencies in aggregate for the upcoming five to ten fiscal years, and specific fiscal year 2011 funding levels for programs subject to the annual appropriations process. It is important to remember that the president's 2011 budget request is a policy and budget proposal, but not legislation or law.

A Proposal for Genuine Financial Reform

  • By Marshall Auerback, RAB Capital Plc and Economists for Peace and Security
January 26, 2010

"Is the president finally getting serious about real financial reform? Last Thursday, Obama called for the biggest regulatory crackdown on banks since the 1930s, proposing strict limits on the size of financial institutions and a ban on risky activities such as proprietary trading and internal hedge funds." So writes Marshall Auerback in a new policy paper. Although the proposed regulations are a good start, Auerback argues, "a more broadly based approach, which incorporates all financial services intermediaries, might ultimately be required."

Yemen on the Brink?

  • By Barak Barfi
January 25, 2010

Executive Summary

Status of al Qaeda in Yemen. Yemen is dominated by powerful tribes, some members of which shelter al Qaeda in order to leverage their power vis-à-vis other political actors. Tribal support for al Qaeda is thus political rather than ideological in nature. But despite this support, the relationship between al Qaeda and the tribes is sometimes strained, and al Qaeda is unpopular with the Yemeni people.

The Asset Building Potential of Shared Equity Homeownership

  • By Rick Jacobus, NCB Capital Impact & John Emmeus Davis, Burlington Associates in Community Development
January 20, 2010

In this paper, we review the literature on homeownership as an asset building strategy for lower income households. We then present a real world case study, examining wealth building and household mobility among buyers of 424 resale-restricted, owner-occupied houses and condominiums developed by the Champlain Housing Trust (CHT) in Burlington, Vermont between 1988 and 2008. We conclude by comparing the asset building potential of shared equity homeownership to the rewards and risks associated with other strategies for helping lower income families to accumulate assets and build wealth.

Automating Savings in the Workplace

  • By
  • Alejandra Lopez-Fernandini,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Caroline Schultz, MDRC
January 15, 2010

The AutoSave model — in which employers help facilitate automatic contributions to unrestricted savings, and employees are actively encouraged to sign up using a simplified enrollment process — is largely untested. Unlike most existing workplace saving programs, which focus on building retirement assets, AutoSave savings are intended to be fully liquid and available both to cover short-term needs and, potentially, to increase attachment to mainstream financial services or serve as building blocks to longer-term asset accumulation.

For Security and Peace: Ratify START

  • By
  • William D. Hartung,
  • Frida Berrigan,
  • New America Foundation
January 13, 2010

This backgrounder makes the case for a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (“New START”) between the United States and Russia and rebuts the key arguments from critics of the agreement. Specifically, it responds to nine assertions made by the Senate Republican Policy Committee (SRPC) in a report entitled “START Follow-on Do’s and Don’ts.” This report has been chosen because it is representative of the key arguments being made by New START critics.

Any Device and Any Application on Wireless Networks: A Technical Strategy for Evolution

  • By Andrew Afflerbach, CEO and Director of Engineering; and Matthew DeHaven, Principal Engineer, Columbia Telecommunications Corporation
January 13, 2010

This Report presents the results of an engineering evaluation of some of the issues raised by the Federal Communications Commission’s “Open Internet” Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The Report suggests a strategy entailing a conservative process for evolving from the limitations of current locked and closed wireless device and application environments to a more open future as envisioned by the “any device” and “any application” portions of the Commission’s draft Open Internet rules. This Report proposes:

Freedom from Fear

  • By Steven Attewell
January 11, 2010

The Social Security system was intended not merely to provide public pensions for the elderly but to establish a framework for a comprehensive system of economic security. Steven Attewell writes: “We need to go back to the original drawing board – the Social Security Act of 1935 – to finish the job it began and create a truly universal and comprehensive social welfare state.”

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