New America Policy Papers: 2011

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.

Explaining China’s Falling Current Account Balance

  • By
  • Samuel Sherraden,
  • New America Foundation
December 15, 2011

China’s surplus fell from 10.1% of GDP in 2007 to 5.2% in 2010.  Whether its current account will continue to decline or will return to higher levels seen in the mid-2000s is a subject of considerable disagreement.

The 12 Principles of Fiscal Responsibility for the 2012 Campaign

December 15, 2011
  1. Make Deficit Reduction a Top Priority.
  2. Propose Specific Fiscal Targets.
  3. Recommend Specific Policies to Achieve the Targets.
  4. Do No Harm.
  5. Use Honest Numbers and Avoid Budget Gimmicks.
  6. Do Not Perpetuate Budget Myths.
  7. Do Not Attack Someone Else's Plan Without Putting Forward an Alternative.
  8. Refrain From Pledges That Take Policies Off the Table.
  9. Propose Specific Solutions for Social Sec

Dealing with Expiring Provisions in a Fiscally Responsible Manner

December 12, 2011

At the end of this month, over 80 tax and spending policies are set to expire. How lawmakers deal with any extensions of these policies has important implications for the federal budget and could represent either a step forward for fiscal sustainability or else a step backward.

Going Big Means Don't Stop Until You Get Enough

November 16, 2011

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget – along with many other lawmakers, business leaders, former government officials, and policy experts – has called on the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (“Super Committee”) to go beyond its current mandate of finding $1.5 trillion in savings to recommend two to three times as much in order to stabilize the federal debt and reduce it as a share of the economy.

Beyond Barriers

  • By
  • Pamela Chan,
  • New America Foundation
November 14, 2011

Every cloud has a silver lining. In the case of the Great Recession, that silver lining is an increased awareness that Americans—especially those in lower-income households—are better off when they have access to a stock of liquid savings to weather unexpected events.  Without these precautionary savings, families are economically insecure. The process of building up these savings largely depends on access to an array of financial products and services, such as low-cost and high-quality savings accounts.

Watching Teachers Work

  • By
  • Lisa Guernsey,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Susan Ochshorn
November 8, 2011

Identifying good teachers is a high priority in education reform, yet the debate rarely focuses on how education might improve if policies were based on teachers’ individual interactions with their students. This report argues for improving early education up through the third grade (PreK-3rd) by actually watching teachers in action using innovative observation tools in combination with evaluation and training programs.  

Asset Stripping

  • By Dalia Ben-Galim, Institute for Public Policy Research
November 7, 2011

On 24 May 2010, after only a few weeks in office, the Conservative–Liberal Democrat Coalition government announced that, as part of a package of measures designed to cut public spending by £6.2 billion, the Child Trust Fund (CTF) would be abolished, saving the government just over £500 million a year. As a result, children born in the UK in 2011 will no longer receive £250 at birth and a further £250 when they reach the age of seven (£500 for poorer families and disabled children).

Shaping 21st Century Journalism

  • By
  • C. W. Anderson,
  • Tom Glaisyer,
  • Jason Smith,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Marika Rothfeld
October 27, 2011

As the media industry evolves to meet the challenges of the emerging digitally-networked era, so too are journalism schools. Democracy and healthy local communities require this evolution. As the media industry reshapes itself, a tremendous opportunity emerges for America’s journalism programs. Neither news organizations nor journalism programs will disappear, but both must rethink their missions, particularly now that many more people can be journalists (at least, on an occasional basis) and many more people produce media than ever before.

The Price-Induced Energy Trap

  • By John A. "Skip" Laitner, American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy
October 21, 2011

Even though the U.S. economy grows at an anemic rate of perhaps 1.5 percent and 1.9 percent (or less) in this year and next, the world economy is likely to expand by well over 3 percent in that same two-year period. The world demand for oil is expected to increase, concurrently, by about 1.5 percent annually. The most recent projections by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA 2011a) suggest that – absent major disruptions – the growing demand for energy worldwide will continue to push oil prices up in a slow but steady movement.  Absent dramatic changes in U.S.

Going Big Could Improve the Chances of Success

October 21, 2011

As the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (Super Committee) tries to identify $1.2 - $1.5 trillion in savings to meet its mandate, it should consider Going Big instead. While forging bipartisan consensus oneven $1.2 trillion in saving is no easy task, a Go Big approach of saving two to three times as much could actually increase the chances of success.

Hear Us Now?

  • By April Manatt, with Stephen G. Blake, Joe Mathews and Troy K. Schneider
October 20, 2011

Hidden in all the bad news about California’s troubles is this delightful paradox: Californians, while living in a state that experts say is ungovernable, have within their reach new tools that give them greater power to govern themselves than ever before.

The State Fiscal Stabilization Fund and Higher Education Spending

  • By
  • Jennifer Cohen Kabaker,
  • New America Foundation
October 18, 2011

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 an historic law in early 2009 to stimulate the economy with $862 billion in new spending and tax cuts.

The Benefits for the U.S. Economy of a Temporary Tax Reduction on the Repatriation of Foreign Subsidiary Earnings

  • By Laura D’Andrea Tyson, Ph.D.; Kenneth Serwin, Ph.D.; Eric Drabkin, Ph.D.
October 13, 2011

U.S. multinational companies (“MNCs”) currently hold an estimated $1.4 trillion in foreign earnings overseas, an amount that has been growing and will continue to grow without a change in the current corporate tax structure. In this paper, we assess the effects of a one-time reduction in the tax rate applied to the repatriation of foreign subsidiary earnings on spending, output and employment in the U.S. economy.

Programs:

Facing Up to the Retirement Savings Deficit

  • By
  • Michael Calabrese,
  • New America Foundation
October 13, 2011

Five years ago Congress enacted modest improvements for employer-sponsored pension and 401(k) plans. Since President Bush signed the Pension Protection Act of 2006, little progress has been made in narrowing the nation’s retirement savings deficit. Most workers are simply not saving enough over their life course to supplement the meager benefits they will receive from Social Security.

The Way Forward

  • By Daniel Alpert, Westwood Capital; Robert Hockett, Professor of Law, Cornell University; and Nouriel Roubini, Professor of Economics, New York University
October 10, 2011

Notwithstanding repeated attempts at monetary and fiscal stimulus since 2009, the United States remains mired in what is by far its worst economic slump since that of the 1930s.1  More than 25 million working-age Americans remain unemployed or underemployed, the employment-to-population ratio lingers at an historic low of 58.3 percent,2 business investment continues at historically weak levels, and consumption expenditure remains weighed down by massive private sector debt overhang left by the bursting of the housing and credit bubble a bit over three years ago.

Moving Toward Transition

  • By Christian Dennys and the Peace Training and Research Organization
October 7, 2011

The New America Foundation (NAF) and Peace Training and Research Organisation (PTRO) have released the findings from a joint public opinion survey in southern Afghanistan.

Out With the Old, In With the New: A Look Back at FY 2011

September 29, 2011

October 1 marks the start of a new fiscal year. If FY 2011 was not the year for a comprehensive fiscal plan, we’re hopeful that FY 2012 will be.

Below is a review of FY 2011 by the numbers:

Savings for the Poor in the Philippines

  • By
  • Anjana Ravi,
  • Eric Tyler,
  • Jamie M. Zimmerman,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Johan N. Diaz, Jesila M. Ledesma, Jaspreet Singh
September 28, 2011

As part of building the stock of knowledge for the Savings for the Poor Innovation and Knowledge Network (SPINNAKER), the Global Assets Project partnered with MicroSave to conduct the first exploratory savings landscape country study. The goal of the study was to not only capture the range of savings products for the poor and identify opportunities for further innovative development, but also to help develop data gathering instruments and approaches and identify gaps for future research.

The Battle for Pakistan

  • By Munir Ahmad
September 27, 2011

The United States has continually argued that the Taliban insurgence in Afghanistan is helped by their support network across the border in Pakistan. The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of northwest Pakistan have become a de facto operational theater of the Afghan war. The Taliban’s leadership in Pakistan is known as the Quetta Shura, named after the capital city of Balochistan in which it is believed to reside.

Tarnish on the Golden State

  • By
  • Leif Wellington Haase,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Mark Rukavina, Jacquelyn Kercheval
September 27, 2011

Tarnish on the Golden State, a new report issued by the New America Foundation, exposes how medical debt can lead to ill health and financial insecurity for individuals and families. Tens of millions of American families struggle to pay health insurance premiums and medical bills. In 2010, 44 million working aged American adults had medical debt or medical bills they were paying off over time. In California, over two million people had medical debt prior to the recession and the problem has likely become worse since then.

Kindergarten to College (K2C)

  • By
  • Anne Stuhldreher,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Leigh Phillips, San Francisco Office of Financial Empowerment
September 26, 2011

In the Spring of 2011, the City of San Francisco automatically opened college savings accounts for over 1,000 San Francisco Kindergartners. The City also “seeded” every account with an initial deposit of $50. The account openings marked the official launch of San Francisco’s Kindergarten to College initiative, or “K2C.” This initiative, the first of its kind in the nation, aims to improve the odds for San Francisco Kindergartners and set all San Francisco public school children on a path to college, from the very first day of school.

Analyzing the President's Submission to the Super Committee

September 20, 2011

Yesterday, President Obama submitted a detailed set of recommendations to the Super Committee, which would reduce the deficit by $4.4 trillion by the Administration's count. The recommendations would lower debt to 74 percent of GDP by 2021, compared to 81 percent under CRFB's Realistic Baseline, though that would be an increase from the 66 percent under current law.

Losing Middle America?

  • By
  • Lauren Damme,
  • New America Foundation
September 15, 2011

Is the American Dream of opportunity and increasing prosperity out of reach for the average American worker? What is happening to the American middle class? If the labor market ‘polarizes’ into low- and high-income jobs, what does this mean for continuing inequality in America? What does it mean for the American social contract, and the American Dream?

Whither Command of the Commons?

  • By
  • Sameer Lalwani,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Joshua Shifrinson, International Security Program Research Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School
September 13, 2011

Introduction: Command of the Commons and U.S. Primacy

In 1805, British Admiral Horatio Nelson defeated a combined Franco-Spanish fleet off the coast of Spain that threatened to deny Britain command of the sea around Western Europe. Nelson’s success ensured that the United Kingdom retained what analysts would today refer to as “command of the commons”—the ability to project military power and engage in trade at times and places of its choosing while denying the same privileges to others.

Congressional Budget Action for Fiscal Year 2012 and Its Impact on Education Funding

  • By
  • Jason Delisle,
  • New America Foundation
September 13, 2011

The fiscal year 2012 budget process has been anything but typical or predictable. While fiscal year 2012 starts in just a few weeks on October 1, 2011, the annual appropriations process is far from complete and funding for federal education programs  has not yet been finalized. Nevertheless, congressional action in the months that have led up to the start of fiscal year 2012 will have important effects on education funding levels in the appropriations process as well as for other programs, such as student loans and education tax benefits.

Response to President Obama's American Jobs Act

  • By
  • Sherle R. Schwenninger,
  • Samuel Sherraden,
  • New America Foundation
September 8, 2011

In putting forth his jobs program, President Obama faced a difficult dilemma: propose a program that could gain Republican support or a more ambitious program that would actually get the economy back on a path of recovery and job creation.

What We Hope to See From the Super Committee

September 7, 2011

Tomorrow, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (“Super Committee”) will hold its first meeting as part of a three-month effort to identify $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade. Should the Super Committee fail to reach a majority agreement on a plan, or should that plan (or else a balanced budget amendment) not be passed by Congress, a $1.2 trillion across-the-board spending cut will go into effect.

Pakistan and the United States

  • By
  • Peter Bergen,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Mike Mazarr, National War College
September 1, 2011

Pakistan, and Pakistani-American relations, confront their worst crises in recent memory. A host of interlocking challenges -- grounded in a deteriorating economy -- call into question Pakistan's ability to "muddle through" as it has in the past, and the next two or three years pose a crucial test for the country's efforts to arrest continuing socioeconomic decline.

Analysis of CBO's August 2011 Baseline and Update of CRFB Realistic Baseline

August 24, 2011

Today, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its Budget and Economic Update, under which current law debt is now projected to beon a declining path by mid-decade. According to CBO’s projections, debt held by the public will rise from 67 percent of GDP in 2011 to a high of 73 percent in 2013, before falling to 61 percent by 2021.

Redefining the Islamic State

  • By
  • Brian Fishman,
  • New America Foundation
August 18, 2011

Despite dramatic security improvements since 2006, terrorism is still rampant in Iraq. According to statistics compiled by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), between January 2008 and the end of 2010, morethan 300 people were killed every month in 200 acts of terrorism—each figure higher than in any other country in the world. These facts might strike many people as counterintuitive, because Iraq no longer receives the attention it once did from global media.

Understanding the S&P Downgrade

August 10, 2011

Introduction

On Friday, August 5, the Standard and Poor’s (S&P) credit rating agency downgraded the long-term credit rating of the United States from AAA to AA+, issuing the country’s first downgrade from a major rating agency. The downgrade was issued in part because of the country’s high level of debt and the failure of recent legislation to control it. More significantly, though, the downgrade resulted from increasing questions over the nation’s political capacity to enact further deficit reduction in light of the recent debate.

Monetary Policy and Central Banking After the Crisis

  • By
  • Thomas Palley,
  • New America Foundation
August 3, 2011

The financial crisis and Great Recession have prompted a rethink of monetary policy and central banking.

Debt Deal Summary

August 1, 2011

Major Components

  • Three tranche debt ceiling increase
  • Ten year discretionary spending caps
  • Guaranteed vote on Balanced Budget Amendment
  • Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to recommend $1.5 trillion in savings

Debt Ceiling Increase

Yes We Can Create Decent Jobs

  • By Heather Boushey, Senior Economist, Center for American Progress
July 28, 2011

The American economy can produce decent jobs. We know this to be true because it has happened before. Getting back to a decent-jobs economy will require a commitment on the part of policymakers to creating many more middle-skill, middle-wage jobs. While there are important reasons to support the incomes of those at the bottom of the wage distribution, we will not improve the lives of working families without improving and increasing job opportunities in the middle.

Adding Teeth to the Debt Ceiling Increase

July 27, 2011

As debt ceiling negotiations enter the final stages, lawmakers must focus on the overarching goals of stabilizing and then reducing our debt and enacting strong enforcement mechanisms to ensure debt targets are hit.

A Vision for Economic Renewal

  • By Task Force on Job Creation
July 26, 2011

The economic environment in America today is more dire than most of us have ever known. We are in the midst of an unemployment emergency, in essence a jobless recovery: notwithstanding recent marginal upticks in official U.S. jobs numbers, there will be no fundamental improvement in the unemployment picture unless major new national economic strategy initiatives are taken. Who will step up to drive them forward?

Taking Asset Building and Earnings Incentives to Scale in HUD-Assisted Rental Housing

  • By
  • Reid Cramer,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Jeffrey Lubell, Center for Housing Policy
July 21, 2011

In the United States, housing assistance is not an entitlement. Despite annual federal expenditures in excess of $30 billion for housing subsidies distributed to roughly 4.8 million households, millions of eligible families with low incomes and high housing costs do not receive any support. Some families have applied for assistance from their local housing authorities but must wait for their names to come to the top of the list; others have not applied but may pay large shares of their income for rent, reducing available funds for basic necessities, such as food and health care.

The Jobs Question

  • By James K. Galbraith, Lloyd M. Bentsen Jr. Chair in Government/Business Relations and Professor of Government, University of Texas at Austin
July 19, 2011

This is by far the most jobless of recent recoveries. Allen Sinai, a man known for describing numbers carefully, already wrote in November 2009:

Never has business shed so many workers so fast, so many people failed to find work who are looking for work, and so many dropped out of the labor force as in the current circumstance.”

By that time, the stock market was already recovering but payrolls were not. Sinai wrote:

A Global Minimum Wage System

  • By
  • Thomas Palley,
  • New America Foundation
July 19, 2011

The global economy is suffering from severe shortage of demand. In developed economies that shortfall is explicit in high unemployment rates and large output gaps. In emerging market economies it is implicit in their reliance on export-led growth. In part this shortfall reflects the lingering disruptive effects of the financial crisis and Great Recession, but it also reflects globalization’s undermining of the income generation process. One mechanism that can help rebuild this process is a global minimum wage system. That does not mean imposing U.S.

Wired and Wireless Broadband: What’s at Stake for Rural Communities?

  • By
  • Amalia Deloney,
  • New America Foundation
July 19, 2011

From June 28-30, more than 300 rural leaders from across the United States met in St. Paul, MN, for the 2011 National Rural Assembly. The event included work sessions, roundtables, networking opportunities, and panel presentations for stakeholders who represented the diversity of rural America in geography, race/ethnicity, and public policy interests. Participants strategized about how to create a nation where rural communities can thrive and contribute to the nation’s success.

Russia’s Revised Strategic Plan

  • By Paul J. Saunders, Executive Director, Center for the National Interest
July 15, 2011

Most nations lack the power and the self-confidence to seek to change the global order and—whether satisfied with it or not—must accept the existing order and seek to adapt to it. Russia is not one of those nations.

Russia’s twenty-first century foreign policy strategy—to the extent that it exists in a coherent form—is not a plan to cope with what may come, but an effort to encourage global trends that officials in Moscow believe will advance their country’s interests.

A Most Undemocratic Recovery

  • By Joel Kotkin, Distinguished Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University, Adjunct Fellow with the Legatum Institute in London
July 15, 2011

Unemployment over nine percent, the highest rate this far into a “recovery” in modern times, reflects only the surface of our problems. More troubling is that over six million American have been unemployed for more than six months, the largest number since the Census began tracking their numbers. The pool of “missing workers” – those neither employed nor counted as unemployed – has soared to over 4.4 million, according to the left-of-center Economic Policy Institute.

Understanding the Debt Limit

July 14, 2011

On August 2nd, 2011, the Treasury Department estimates that it will run out of extraordinary measures to avoid hitting the statutory debt limit. At that point, absent Congressional action, the United States will have no choice but to default on its debt or on its other legal obligations. Such an outcome would be unacceptable and, quite likely, disastrous for the economy.

Adapting to a Copernican World: Paradigmatic Leap and Policy Challenges

  • By Bruce W. Jentleson, Duke University
July 12, 2011

During the Cold War, the U.S. position in the world was a lot like the ancient philosopher-astronomer Ptolemy’s theory of the universe. For Ptolemy the Earth was at the center with the other planets, indeed all the other celestial bodies, revolving around it. So too, the United States was at the center of the Cold War world. We were the wielder of power, the economic engine, and the bastion of free world ideology.

America’s Challenge: The Rise of China and the Future of Liberal International Order

  • By G. John Ikenberry, Princeton University
July 12, 2011

The Master said: “To worship gods that are not yours, that is toadyism. Not to act when justice commands, that is cowardice.” The Analects of Confucius, 2:24

Grand Strategy and Power Transitions: What We Can Learn from Great Britain

  • By Charles A. Kupchan, Georgetown University and Council on Foreign Relations
July 12, 2011

This essay draws lessons for great-power grand strategy from the history of Great Britain and its effort to manage the hegemonic power transitions that spawned World War I and World War II. It focuses on two main issues. The first is the diplomacy of managing power transitions. At the turn of the twentieth century, Britain faced a rapidly changing strategic landscape. London had to deal with the simultaneous rise of three major powers – the United States, Germany, and Japan.

U.S.-Russian Relations and the Rise of China

  • By
  • Anatol Lieven,
  • New America Foundation
July 11, 2011

Since the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, U.S. policies towards Russia have been characterized by a level of hostility which is not justified by Russian threats to U.S. interests. These U.S. attitudes towards Russia have both encouraged and been encouraged by a strategy of the expansion of U.S.

Exploring the Relationship Between Asset Holding and Family Economic Strain

  • By David W. Rothwell and Anna Goren, McGill University
July 11, 2011

A recent Gallup Poll captured the social zeitgeist of an America attempting to emerge from the 2008 Great Recession. The nationally representative survey showed that feelings of psychological distress such as worry, anger, and depression increased with the duration of joblessness. Less than 40 percent of those who had been searching for a job for at least 11 weeks rated their lives as ‘thriving’, while most unemployed Americans expected that they would have to settle for a job that they did not want.

Rethinking the American Social Contract

  • By
  • Lauren Damme,
  • New America Foundation
July 7, 2011

The evolution of certain aspects of the American social contract has lagged behind that of other developed countries for decades, but the insecurity resulting from our lack of social protections has traditionally been offset by high employment levels, a stable middle class and widespread perceived opportunity for upward mobility. The value of this trade-off has been undermined, though, by unequal wage growth and polarization of the labor market into low and high skill jobs, with a decline of middle income jobs and the retirement and health benefits that accompanied them.

The Militant Pipeline

  • By Paul Cruickshank
July 6, 2011

A decade after 9/11, despite growing concerns over Yemen, Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and swaths of the country’s northwest arguably remain al Qaeda ’s main safe haven, and the area from which it can hatch its most dangerous plots against the West.[i] Al Qaeda’s presence in these areas has long threatened international security.

Import Money - Export Goods

  • By Robert Atkinson, President, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation
July 5, 2011

Things are not working. Two years after the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) declared the recovery underway, it is clear that things are not working, at least not in the sense that most Americans expect. The U.S. economy is like an aging sports car running on three cylinders, fouled spark plugs and a flat tire.

Industrial Policy: Bring It On

  • By Katherine S. Newman, James B. Knapp Dean of the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, Johns Hopkins University
July 5, 2011

Amidst the doom and gloom surrounding the labor market, there are bright spots that offer some hope for the return of good jobs in the United States. Foremost among them is the resurgence of employment in durable goods manufacturing.

CRFB's Long-Term Realistic Baseline

June 30, 2011

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has updated its “Realistic Baseline” using projections from the Congressional Budget Office’s most recent Long-Term Budget Outlook.

The Public Option

  • By Timothy A. Canova, Betty Hutton Williams Professor of International Economic Law, Chapman University School of Law
June 30, 2011

For three years, the federal government’s response to the financial crisis has been a parade of bailout programs for the largest banks and financial institutions while providing precious little assistance for everyone else. In the United States and throughout Europe, the strategy has been to inject public funds into the banking system in hopes of restoring private lending to pre-crisis levels.

Strategic Turn: New U.S. and Russian Views on Nuclear Weapons

  • By Joseph Cirincione, President, Ploughshares Fund
June 29, 2011

The United States and Russia possess 95 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons. How these two nuclear superpowers configure and view their nuclear forces has a profound impact on how the other nuclear-armed states perceive the value of their weapons and how seriously other nations consider acquiring or not acquiring their own nuclear arsenals.1 This paper briefly summarizes the development of US and Russian views on nuclear weapons over the past 30 years and offers practical policy recommendations for how both nations can achieve their stated goal of reducing the role of nuclear weapons in national security strategies.

Countering the New Orthodoxy

  • By
  • Douglas Ollivant,
  • New America Foundation
June 28, 2011

Success, it is said, has a thousand fathers. Now four years removed from the advent of the 2007 Baghdad “Surge,”[i] the situation in Iraq, while not perfect, has dramatically improved. Violence is down significantly, despite continuing acts of terror against the Iraqi people by Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and some Iranian surrogate forces.[ii]  Admittedly, the formation of the new Iraqi government following the 2010 election has been less-than-efficiently executed.

Making Work Better for Everyone

  • By Paul Osterman, Nanyang Technological University Professor of Human Resources and Management, MIT Sloan School of Management
June 27, 2011

America confronts a jobs crisis and that crisis has two faces. The first is obvious and greets us every morning when we read the newspapers or talk with our friends and neighbors. There is simply not enough work to go around. The second jobs crisis is more subtle but no less serious. Far too many jobs fall below the standard that most Americans would consider decent work. These people work in factories and hotels, in restaurants and hospitals, on construction sites and in day care centers.

Low-Wage Jobs and No Wage Growth

  • By Lane Kenworthy, Professor of Sociology and Political Science, University of Arizona
June 27, 2011

The American economy has been producing fewer middle-paying jobs. Studies by Erik Olin Wright and Rachel Dwyer and by David Autor have examined the profile of job creation in the United States since the 1960s. Each finds a shift toward a U-shaped pattern, with the bulk of new jobs in the 1990s and 2000s coming in occupations with either high or low wages. For many people in the bottom half of the skill and education pools, this means a greater likelihood of ending up in a low-paying job.

Accelerating Financial Capability Among Youth

  • By
  • Payal Pathak,
  • Jamie Holmes,
  • Jamie M. Zimmerman,
  • New America Foundation
June 25, 2011

This paper argues that common definitions of financial capability understate the role of psychological barriers to establishing sound financial behaviors, namely savings habits. Drawing on insights from psychology and behavioral economics, we explore these missing psychological variables in the standard financial capability equation and suggest mechanisms, or nudges, to overcome those barriers to accelerate financial capability among low-income youth.

Countering Domestic Radicalization

  • By
  • Brian Fishman,
  • Andrew Lebovich,
  • New America Foundation
June 23, 2011

Terrorism is not a new phenomenon, but since the 9/11 and 7/7 attacks the United States and the United Kingdom have significantly altered their counterterrorism programs or created new programs, laws, and institutions to cope with changing understandings of the threat posed by individuals living in the West attracted to al-Qaeda’s cause.

The Assets Report 2011

  • By
  • Reid Cramer,
  • Rachel Black,
  • New America Foundation
June 23, 2011

Every year the Asset Building Program conducts an analysis of the federal budget to provide a more complete understanding of how the federal government encourages the accumulation of assets for families up and down the economic ladder. We seek to shine a light on what policy levers are deployed, who benefits from these from these programs and policy efforts, and how recent legislation potentially alters the landscape.

In that pursuit, we present The Assets Report 2011, an assessment of federal policies and program to promote asset building opportunities. Our analysis finds:

Work Sharing

  • By
  • Shayne Henry,
  • New America Foundation
June 23, 2011

Three years into the Great Recession, unemployment continues to hover over 9%. 14 million Americans are out of work; nearly 4 million are still drawing unemployment benefits that cost cash-strapped states billions of dollars. Although the worst appears to be over, the economic recovery has stalled as the nation continues to grapple with the reality of a workforce that is plentiful but jobs that are not. In an effort to provide support for the growing number of long-term unemployed, the federal government has even extended unemployment benefits to 99 weeks.

CBO's Long-Term Budget Outlook

June 22, 2011

Today, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its Long-Term Budget Outlook, which yet again illustrates this country's unsustainable fiscal trajectory. Under the Extended-Baseline Scenario, CBO projects debt to rise from 69 percent of GDP today to 75 percent by 2020 and 84 percent by 2035. Under the Alternative Fiscal Scenario, which makes more realistic assumptions about which policies lawmakers might extend, CBO projects debt to grow to 97 percent by 2020, 187 percent by 2035, and then to spiral out of control thereafter.

China’s Energy Rise and the Future of U.S.-China Energy Relations

  • By Mikkal Herberg, Research Director, Energy Security Program The National Bureau of Asian Research
June 21, 2011

China is gradually emerging as a new superpower in global energy markets and energy geopolitics.  This reflects the enormous scale of China’s current and future energy and oil consumption, Beijing’s growing energy investments abroad and expanding energy diplomacy, its rising carbon emissions, and China’s emergence as a global leader in clean energy technology development. The scale of China’s energy expansion is quite breathtaking.

What Needs to Come Out of the Debt Ceiling Negotiations

June 21, 2011

Policymakers from both parties are engaged in intense negotiations over how to raise the nation's debt ceiling as well as how to begin addressing our burgeoning debt.

If the debt ceiling is not raised by the beginning of August, we risk a default. In recent weeks, rating agencies have warned that failure to meet interest payments could result in a downgrade of U.S. debt -- a signal to markets that could lead to rising interest rates and possibly a fiscal crisis.

Needed: A New Social Contract at Work

  • By Thomas A. Kochan, George Maverick Bunder Professor of Management, MIT Sloan School of Management
June 21, 2011

The failure of today’s economy to generate and sustain decent jobs can be traced to the breakdown in the post-World War II social contract that supported a tandem growth in productivity and wages.  From 1945 to 1979 productivity and real wages both grew by approximately two to three percent per year.  Figure 1 shows that since then, productivity continued to grow steadily while real wages for high school men remained stagnant and the gaps between productivity growth and college graduates expanded, albeit at lower rates.  The same basic pattern has persisted over these years f

It Takes a Policy Agenda

  • By L. Josh Bivens, Economist; Heidi Shierholz, Economist, Economic Policy Institute
June 21, 2011

Multiple Policy Changes Caused the Wage-Growth Slowdown, Multiple Changes Will Be Needed to Fix It

This forum's focus on the problems of sluggish wage-growth for much of the American workforce is most welcome. Before the overwhelming surge of joblessness and underemployment of the last four years caused by the bursting housing bubble, the failure of the wages of most American workers to track economy-wide productivity growth was one of the most conspicuous failures of U.S. economic performance.
 

The Old Do Not Eat the Young

  • By Teresa Ghilarducci, Director, Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis
June 17, 2011

During the last century, the establishment of Social Security and the tax favored employer pension plans that followed transformed and improved the lives of American workers. Combined with economic growth, these institutions meant that both the rich and the poor lived longer and every worker became entitled to pensions at the end of their working lives.

American Policy Toward China: Getting Beyond the Friend-or-Foe Fallacy

  • By Ely Ratner, RAND Corporation and Steven Weber, University of California, Berkeley
June 15, 2011

“You can't manage what you can't measure” is a widely accepted truism among business and government organizations. It is not widely accepted among psychologists and sociologists, most of whom would recoil at the idea that the condition of a relationship should be ‘marked to market’ every day, or that any meaningful relationship can be boiled down to a single index that quantifies where it is at any moment and whether it is “better’’ or “worse” than a week or a month ago. 

Homeownership and Individual Development Accounts

  • By
  • Reid Cramer,
  • New America Foundation
May 31, 2011

Individual Development Accounts are designed to support savings for the purchase of specific assets, such as buying a home, pursuing post-secondary education, or capitalizing a small business, by matching the deposits of program participants. The concept of matched savings has been promoted as a means to broaden asset ownership among populations missed by current policy. Recently, a study was released evaluating the ten-year impacts of a specific Individual Development Accounts program in Tulsa, Oklahoma focused on increasing homeownership.

Frequently Asked Questions About Youth Savings Accounts

  • By
  • Jamie M. Zimmerman,
  • Payal Pathak,
  • New America Foundation
May 31, 2011

As development analysts and practitioners increasingly look to savings as a potential tool to spur development and financial inclusion among low-income youth in developing countries, this FAQ is meant to provide a basic overview of a relatively new area of inquiry and practice: youth savings accounts (YSAs).

A Future of Low-Paying, Low-Skill Jobs?

  • By
  • Lauren Damme,
  • New America Foundation
May 23, 2011

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released its occupational employment and wages report for May 2010.1 The ten largest occupations in May 2010 accounted for more than 20 percent of total employment.

Nine out of ten of these occupations are relatively low-paying jobs, meaning jobs that paid less than the U.S. mean hourly wage of $21.35.


The Battle for Afghanistan: Negotiations with the Taliban

  • By Thomas Ruttig
May 23, 2011

The debate about “reconciliation” between Taliban insurgents and the Afghan government started moving again in 2010. What remains unclear is whether a process of reconciliation has already commenced and meaningful contacts with the insurgents have been established. Substantive talks, however, are clearly not yet underway.

Averting a Fiscal Crisis

May 18, 2011

CRFB has compiled a brief background on the scope of our nation's fiscal challenges and the drivers of our debt and deficits, while outlining some of the types of solutions available to address the problems. This Powerpoint is meant to offer an objective, non-partisan view of our country's fiscal situation as an educational tool meant to help foster open and honest debate about these issues.

The presentation can be viewed below, and also found on the CRFB.org website.

How VAT Trade Zones Can Boost American Manufacturing

  • By Gilbert B. Kaplan and John C. Taylor
May 18, 2011

Exporters of goods from the United States face an enormous disadvantage every time a U.S. product leaves our shores. There is no rebate of the income tax paid with respect to that product, and as such the embedded costs of the export include a tax cost. The exact amount of that cost can vary, but it can be high given that the current U.S. corporate income tax rate is 35%. This contrasts dramatically with exporters of goods from almost every other country in the world, who receive a rebate of their Value-Added Taxes (“VAT”) upon export.

2011 Education Appropriations Guide

  • By
  • Jason Delisle,
  • Jennifer Cohen Kabaker,
  • New America Foundation
May 17, 2011

Congress completed the fiscal year 2011 appropriations process on April 14th, 2011, finalizing annual funding for nearly all federal education programs through September 30, 2011 at $68.3 billion, up $4.2 billion from the prior year. Making sense of the federal education budget and the appropriations process can be a frustrating task for education advocates, state and local policymakers, the media, and the public. The fiscal year 2011 appropriations process has been particularly confusing. Congress bypassed several steps in the normal budget and appropriations process this fiscal year.

Analysis of the 2011 Social Security Trustees Report

May 13, 2011

Today, the Social Security Trustees released their 2011 report on the financial status of both Social Security and Medicare. The reports make clear that both programs are on unsustainable paths, and reforms will be necessary to make them solvent. This analysis focuses on the financial status of Social Security.

The State Fiscal Stabilization Fund and Higher Education Spending

  • By
  • Jennifer Cohen Kabaker,
  • New America Foundation
May 6, 2011

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.

Savings-Linked Conditional Cash Transfers

  • By
  • Jamie M. Zimmerman,
  • Jamie Holmes,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Frank Degiovanni, Ford Foundation; Henry Hackelen, Subathirai Sivakumaran, and Sahba Sobhani, UNDP; Brandee McHale, Citi; Yves Moury, Fundación Capital & Proyecto Capital
May 4, 2011

There is an increasing, and arguably inevitable, overlap between the financial inclusion and social protection fields. The success of conditional cash transfers (CCTs)—antipoverty social policy programs that direct funds toward qualified households or individuals based on a conditional behavior, such as children’s school attendance—has resulted in substantial investment and experimentation.

Chronicle of a Debt Foretold

  • By Michele Wucker
May 2, 2011

Today’s debt crises among European sovereigns and US underwater mortgage holders both have much in common with a similar chronicle of debt foretold a decade ago.

In March 2001, not even a year before Argentina devalued its currency and stopped paying its foreign obligations, it was clear that the country was headed for disaster. Despite an IMF bailout package only months earlier, its benchmark bonds were trading at well under 80 cents on the dollar and yielding more than 900 basis points over US Treasury bonds, reflecting investors’ lack of confidence in the country’s finances.

Change In Post-Fidel Cuba

  • By Arturo Lopez-Levy
May 2, 2011

This report explores the historic reform process currently underway in Cuba. It looks first at the political context in which the VI Cuban Communist Party Congress took place, including the Cuban government's decision to release a significant number of political prisoners as part of a new dialogue with the Cuban Catholic Church. It then analyzes Cuba's nascent processes of economic reform and political liberalization. To conclude, it discusses the challenges and opportunities these processes pose for U.S policy toward Cuba.

Meaningful Credential Renewal

  • By The California Education Program
May 1, 2011

Teacher effectiveness is known to be a critical factor in student learning and success. California has made some notable efforts to strengthen teaching, but the most coherent state-level initiatives have been limited to the earliest stages of teachers’ careers. After the credentialing and induction phase, state policy does virtually nothing to ensure teaching quality or foster continual improvement.

The American Middle Class Under Stress

  • By
  • Sherle R. Schwenninger,
  • Samuel Sherraden,
  • New America Foundation
April 27, 2011

Click here to download the slideshow, "The American Middle Class Under Stress."

The foundation of America's middle class is under strain.
 
High unemployment and the restructuring of the labor market have eroded middle-class incomes after decades of stagnation.  Meanwhile, the cost of health

Making (and Breaking) the Health-Wealth Connection

  • By
  • Leif Wellington Haase,
  • New America Foundation
April 27, 2011

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), if implemented as passed, will improve the financial security of Californians, and in particular that of low and middle-income Californians. While reducing the strain of medical bills and health insurance costs on family budgets is a major aim of the legislation, it also offers tools to individuals and communities as they attempt to reduce the “upstream” cost of poor health.

The ACA bridges the health-wealth connection in four major ways:

Lashkar-e-Taiba

  • By Stephen Tankel
April 27, 2011

Lashkar-e-Taiba (the Army of the Pure or LeT) is one of Pakistan’s oldest and most powerful jihadi groups. Yet despite its long and bloody history, LeT only began generating significant attention outside South Asia after launching a multi-target attack on the Indian city of Mumbai in November 2008.

Analyzing the President's New Budget Framework

April 21, 2011

Last week, President Obama gave a speech outlining his plan to reduce the deficit and stabilize the debt in the coming years. This new budget framework was in many ways a revision of his February budget, and outlined $4 trillion worth of deficit reduction through 2023. This framework represents a positive step forward, both because of the substance of the deficit reduction and because it represents the President’s willingness to engage in negotiations to address our mounting debt.

Top Ten Tax Policy Developments of the Past Year

April 17, 2011

A lot has changed in the tax policy debate over the last year, and at the same time a lot has stayed the same. In this release, we count down the top 10 tax policy developments over the past year.

Click here to read the full PDF of this paper, or download it to the right.

Click here to read the full paper on CRFB.org.

Bad Medicine: Why the Ryan-Rivlin Proposals for Medicare and Medicaid Would Harm the American Economy

  • By
  • Michael Lind,
  • New America Foundation
April 6, 2011

On Tuesday, April 5, the House Budget Committee issued a plan to reduce the growth of the federal deficit in the future by destroying Medicare and Medicaid in their present forms.  The plan is based on one published in November 2010 by Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Alice Rivlin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office and the Office of Management and Budget.  In the Ryan-Rivlin plan, Medicare would be replaced by vouchers given to t

Promoting Defiant Apples

  • By
  • Ray Boshara,
  • New America Foundation
April 5, 2011

This essay explores the issue of economic mobility from a variety of perspectives. It was designed to inform the work of the Economic Mobility Project (EMP), an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts. The essay begins by considering whether we should focus on relative or absolute mobility, and how we should collectively decide the optimal and desired levels of mobility. The essay closes with some principles and policy recommendations for promoting economic mobility in America.

Seven Surprising Findings

  • By
  • Ray Boshara,
  • New America Foundation
March 31, 2011

This piece was originally published in the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank’s Winter 2010-2011 ‘Bridges’ newsletter.

Paid Family Leave

  • By
  • Lauren Damme,
  • New America Foundation
March 31, 2011

The U.S. is the only wealthy country in the world without a system of paid leave to support working families. The experiences of developed nations show that economic growth is not undermined by policies that allow parents to spend adequate time with their newborn children. Equally important, paid parental leave policies are associated with lower infant mortality rates, better cognitive test scores and fewer behavioral problems for children, as well as fewer negative labor market consequences for mothers.  

Incentivizing Savings at Tax Time

  • By
  • Rachel Black,
  • Reid Cramer,
  • New America Foundation
March 29, 2011

The ability to accumulate and access savings is a fundamental determinant of economic security for many families, especially those with low incomes and limited resources. Since every family’s circumstance is different, so too are their savings needs, which can range both in time horizon and flexibility of use. Current federal policy favors longer-term, targeted purposes, such as savings for retirement, leaving a void in policy supports for households whose savings needs are more immediate.

Evolving Structures of the Global Oil and Gas Industry

  • By Fareed Mohamedi, Partner and Head of Markets and Country Strategies
March 29, 2011

Current trends suggest that a major energy transition is unlikely before 2020. It is only after that date that trends such as the exhaustion of cheap oil or China’s conversion to a consumer society might raise prices enough to trigger long-term changes.

 

Ricardo Revisited

  • By Ralph E. Gomory and William J. Baumol
March 22, 2011

In this note we look carefully at the impact on a developed nation of the economic development of its trading partner; a trading partner that is developing from a rather undeveloped state. If you want to keep the China-U.S. relationship and the impact on the United States of China’s development in mind as a possible example, you will not go far wrong.

We will discuss what a very standard model, the Ricardo model, shows about this situation. We will see that this very familiar model, properly analyzed, has a number of very unfamiliar consequences. Notably:

CBO's Analysis of the President's FY2012 Budget

March 18, 2011

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its preliminary analysis of President Obama's FY 2012 budget request on March 18, 2011, which estimates that the President's budget will fall far short of the Administration's own goal of balancing the non-interest budget by 2015 and stabilizing the debt as a share of the economy. Whereas the President's budget had projected deficits would fall to around 3 percent of GDP and debt would stabilize below 77 percent, CBO estimates deficits will reach 4.9 percent of GDP in 2021, and debt will continue to rise to above 87 percent.

The Chinese Yuan Grows Up--Slowly

  • By Arthur Kroeber
March 18, 2011

In the aftermath of the global financial crisis in the autumn of 2008, Chinese officials identified the US-dollar based monetary system as a contributing cause of the crisis and an ongoing source of systemic risk for the global financial system. In response, they began a program for internationalizing the Chinese currency, the yuan, whose circulation was hitherto largely restricted to mainland China.

Winning the Prosperity

  • By
  • Sherle R. Schwenninger,
  • New America Foundation
March 15, 2011

In the Fall of 2008 as financial markets were tumbling around the world, legendary investor Warren Buffet equated the bursting of the housing and credit bubble to an economic Pearl Harbor, one that could plunge the economy into a painful and prolonged downturn reminiscent of the 1930s.  Thanks in part to the lessons that were learned from the Great Depression, American and European policymakers won the immediate battle of preventing the economy from sinking into another Depression.  But they have not yet won the war to regain prosperity.  Not only do the U.S.

America's Fiscal Choices at a Crossroad

  • By
  • Anne Vorce,
  • New America Foundation
March 10, 2011

America is at a crossroad. We know that a daunting series of fiscal challenges lie ahead. We know roughly what they are and when they will occur. And we have the chance to address them before they get out of hand. We also know that the economy cannot fully recover or remain strong without addressing these fiscal challenges. If they are left unchecked, we will eventually face a greater crisis, although we cannot say with certainty when it will occur or what the tipping point will be. Yet, policymakers may fail to agree on a plan to right our fiscal course over the next few years.

Agenda: World Economic Roundtable

March 9, 2011

World Economic Roundtable:  Remapping the Global Economy

Costs of the Infrastructure Deficit

  • By
  • Shayne Henry,
  • Samuel Sherraden,
  • New America Foundation
March 2, 2011

Under-investing in infrastructure carries costs for households, businesses, and the government by increasing maintenance, wasting time, and allocating resources inefficiently.  These costs reduce efficiency and impede economic growth.
 
Quantifying Efficiency Loss

The Future of Chinese Growth

  • By David Beim, Columbia Business School
March 1, 2011

Real GDP in China has grown at an average rate of nearly 10% annually for the 30 years from 1980 to 2010, exceeding the real growth of any other country over this period.  This performance has been a source of amazement to academics and business people, and a source of immense pride to the Chinese.  Certainly countries have grown rapidly in the past, but such growth has generally abated in time; 30 years is a very long run.  As shown in Figure 1, the growth has not been uniform.

Getting in Sync

  • By
  • Laura Bornfreund,
  • New America Foundation
March 1, 2011

This report highlights problems nationwide with the licensing and preparation of teachers who work with young children in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, first-, second- and third-grade classrooms. The report, "Getting in Sync: Revamping Licensure and Preparation for Teachers in Pre-K, Kindergarten and the Early Grades,"shows that today's system is not set up to ensure teachers in pre-kindergarten through the third grades are well-prepared to work with young children.

China’s Troubled Transition to a More Balanced Growth Model

  • By Michael Pettis, Peking University
March 1, 2011

In the morning of March 16, 2007, in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao held a press conference just before the end of the Fifth Session of the Tenth National People's Congress.  After questions from reporters from several different media organizations, a reporter from China News Service asked the Premier the kind of question that should have been a layup:

A ‘Jobs First’ Growth Strategy

  • By
  • Leo Hindery,
  • New America Foundation
March 1, 2011

The opening theme of the 2011 State of the Union address, and the theme that the President has carried forward since then, was his insistence that the nation has at long last emerged from economic crisis.  He said: “Two years after the worst recession most of us have ever known, the stock market has come roaring back.  Corporate profits are up.  The economy is growing again.  And after two years of job losses, we’ve added private-sector jobs for 12 straight months -- more than 1 million in all.”

Caught Between a Greenback and Redback World

  • By Peter Marber, HSBC
March 1, 2011

There are moments in history when the future is often clear, but its path is somewhat obscured. Such could be said about the early 21st century, a period of unprecedented globalization that raises serious questions concerning the world’s near-term economy and capital markets. Today, one could argue that the U.S. economy and its dollar – the greenback – most likely have peaked (or at a minimum, paused) in terms of global importance.

A Third Way for Official Development Assistance

  • By
  • Jamie M. Zimmerman,
  • Jamie Holmes,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Henry Jackelen, Suba Sivakumaran, and Sahba Sobhani, UNDP
March 1, 2011

Official Development Assistance (ODA) reform has been hotly debated in global development circles for decades. Aid has been plagued by inefficiencies, ineffectiveness, and corruption, inviting tough criticism and calls for all manners of restructuring.

The Legal Landscape for Emergency Management in the United States

  • By William C. Banks, Syracuse University
February 25, 2011

With enactment of the Stafford Act in 1974 and the creation of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in 1979, the federal government developed an apparatus to plan for and respond to natural disasters.

12 Ideas for Early Education in the 112th Congress

  • By
  • Lisa Guernsey,
  • New America Foundation
February 25, 2011

As the 112th Congress gets to work, its members face an important opportunity to make lasting changes to public education. With the pending reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, also currently known as No Child Left Behind) lawmakers could enact significant improvements to strengthen early learning, as they also could in legislation related to the appropriation of funding at federal agencies.

Building Better Bank Ons

  • By
  • Anne Stuhldreher,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Leigh Phillips, Office of Financial Empowerment, City of San Francisco
February 24, 2011

Executive Summary

In 2005 San Francisco city leaders were surprised by new research that estimated that one in five San Francisco adults—and half of the city’s Blacks and Latinos—did not have bank accounts. These primarily working poor city residents faced a big disadvantage because they lacked this basic financial tool. In fact, many unbanked San Francisco residents reported paying 2 to 5 percent of their income just to cash their paychecks.

Innovation Policy

  • By Michael Mandel, Progressive Policy Institute; Wharton’s Mack Center for Technological Innovation
February 21, 2011

In order to assess President Barack Obama’s innovation policy, I apply the test of the three R’s:  Resources, regulation, and rhetoric.  A viable innovation policy should provide enough financial resources for basic and applied research across a wide range of field. Regulators need to avoid imposing new rules on innovative and growing sectors, and adjust or repeal rules that are holding back change.

2011 California Asset Building Legislative Agenda

  • By
  • Olivia Calderon,
  • New America Foundation
February 21, 2011

In the 2011 California legislative session, the California Asset Building Program is advancing the following state policy initiatives (See printer-friendly downloadable agenda at right under Related Files):

The Uphill Battle to Scale an Innovative Antipoverty Approach

  • By Maurice Miller, Family Independence Initiative
February 21, 2011

In this paper, founder and CEO of the Family Independence Initiative Maurice Lim Miller outlines a new model for breaking the cycle of poverty, which shows promising results in three separate demonstration projects.

The Family Independence Initiative

  • By
  • Anne Stuhldreher,
  • Rourke OBrien,
  • New America Foundation
February 21, 2011

Our nation’s safety net programs are in a double bind. Demand for them is spiking. More Americans are now living in poverty than at any point since our country started measuring it. Many families are entering poverty for the first time, after falling from the security of the middle class. Millions more had been teetering on poverty’s edge. At the same time, government officials at the federal, state, and local levels are facing a fiscal crisis, moving to curtail spending on many social programs in the face of a weakened economy and reduced tax revenues.

Failing to Fill the Holes in State Budgets: Why the Recovery Act Spending on Infrastructure Fell Short

  • By
  • Samuel Sherraden,
  • New America Foundation
February 17, 2011

…We are remaking the American landscape with the largest new investment in our nation's infrastructure since Eisenhower built an Interstate Highway System in the 1950s. Because of this investment, nearly 400,000 men and women will go to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, repairing our faulty dams and levees, bringing critical broadband connections to businesses and homes in nearly every community in America, upgrading mass transit, building high-speed rail lines that will improve travel and commerce throughout our nation.

Analysis of the President's FY 2012 Budget

February 16, 2011

On Monday, the White House released its FY2012 budget. While the Administration is billing the budget as "a down payment" on more significant fiscal reforms, we are disappointed it didn't go further in reducing the deficit and identifying specific policy reforms.

The budget claims to stabilize the debt at 77 percent of GDP, but these claims rely on a number of charitable assumptions.

Summary and Analysis of President Obama’s Education Budget Request

  • By Federal Education Budget Project
February 16, 2011

President Barack Obama submitted his third budget request to Congress on February 14th, 2011. The detailed budget request includes proposed funding levels for federal programs and agencies in aggregate for the upcoming 10 fiscal years, and specific fiscal year 2012 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 2012 appropriations bill that will set specific funding levels for federal education programs.

The Centrality of Manufacturing to America's Future Prosperity

  • By Bruce Stokes, Senior Transatlantic Fellow for Economics, German Marshall Fund
February 14, 2011

In his State of the Union address January 25, 2011, President Barack Obama mentioned the word “manufacturing” just once. This was the only time in his three such speeches to Congress that he has uttered the “M” word. The president’s failure to acknowledge, even in passing, a sector of the economy that accounts for 11 percent of America’s GDP is a metaphor for his administration’s disdain for manufacturing as an important contributor to the nation’s future wellbeing.

Key Questions on the Obama Administration's 2012 Education Budget Request

  • By Federal Education Budget Project
February 14, 2011

President Barack Obama submitted his third budget request to Congress on February 14th, 2011. The budget request includes proposed funding levels for all federal programs and agencies in aggregate for the upcoming 10 fiscal years, and specific fiscal year 2012 funding levels for programs subject to the annual appropriations process.

Introduction to Mesh Networking

  • By Open Technology Initiative
February 14, 2011

Hub & Spoke Wireless Networks vs. Mesh Wireless Networks

What Is Right and Wrong With the President’s Innovation Agenda

  • By Robert Atkinson, President of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation
February 14, 2011

In his State of the Union Address President Obama warned of a “Sputnik moment” in terms of the need for a wake-up call for the nation to confront our international competitiveness and innovation challenge.  The President stated, “We know what it takes to compete for the jobs and industries of our time.

Full Spectrum Community Media

  • By
  • Joshua Breitbart,
  • Tom Glaisyer,
  • Bincy Ninan-Moses,
  • James Losey,
  • New America Foundation
February 9, 2011

This paper, developed by the Open Technology Initiative of the New America Foundation at the request of the Alliance for Community Media (ACM), offers a policy framework that responds to the situation ACM finds itself thrust into and recommends actions to secure the future of community media.

Responsible Approaches to Increasing the Debt Limit

February 8, 2011

In the coming months, Congress will have to raise the debt limit. The federal debt is currently $14.100 trillion, only $194 billion away from the current debt ceiling of $14.294 trillion. In anticipation of the coming Congressional debate, the Treasury Department has estimated that the debt limit will be reached between April 5 and May 31.

There is no question: the debt ceiling must be increased. Failure to do so would lead to economic calamity.

The Infrastructure Deficit

  • By
  • Samuel Sherraden,
  • New America Foundation
February 3, 2011

Congested roads, antiquated air traffic systems, and clogged ports -- these are just a few of the manifestations of an infrastructure deficit that is undermining our economic efficiency and lowering our quality of life.  Decades of underinvestment in basic infrastructure have produced a variety of bottlenecks across transportation, water, freight, and communication networks.

Health Policy Program Description

February 3, 2011

Health Policy Program

New America Foundation
 

From the Digital Divide to Digital Excellence

  • By
  • Benjamin Lennett,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Laura Forlano, Alison Powell and Gwen Shaffer
February 1, 2011

Communications technologies have continued to evolve and now increasingly provide opportunities for deploying low-cost broadband.

The Pillars of Economic Transformation

  • By James K. Galbraith, University of Texas at Austin
February 1, 2011

In his 2011 State of the Union, President Obama outlined a sweeping program for economic transformation, resting on innovation, education, infrastructure, deficit reduction, and governmental reform. The New America Foundation asks whether these are the right “pillars” of a national agenda.  

CRFB Analysis of CBO's January 2011 Baseline

January 26, 2011

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its Budget and Economic Outlook today, showing the country is continuing to head down an unsustainable fiscal path. Under their baseline, debt held by the public will double from $9 trillion (62 percent of GDP) at the end of 2010 to over $18 trillion (77 percent of GDP) by 2021.

The United States cannot afford debt levels this high, particularly considering the rapid projected growth of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid expected to occur outside the ten-year budget window.

Consumer Trends in the Private, Public, and Non-Profit Sector

  • By
  • Ray Boshara,
  • New America Foundation
  • and John Gannon, FINRA Investor Education Foundation; Lewis Mandell, Aspen IFS, University of Washington; John W.R. Phillips, Social Security Administration; Steven Sass, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College
January 25, 2011

The National Endowment for Financial Education commissioned experts to write four white papers for their "Quarter Century Project: 25 Years of Research in Financial Education." Ray Boshara of the New America Foundation was a member of the team tasked to write on the theme of "Consumer Trends and New Opportunities:  What are the emerging trends, new

Debt Ceiling Primer

January 21, 2011

The debt ceiling has been getting a lot of attention recently. A new Congress filled with lawmakers who promised to bring fiscal order must grapple with raising the debt ceiling, which currently stands at $14.294 trillion, when the limit is reached sometime this spring. The Treasury Department projects the ceiling could be reached sometime between March 31, and May 14, 2011.

Following is a short primer on the debt ceiling.

What is the debt ceiling?

The debt ceiling is the legal limit on the gross level of federal debt that the government can accrue.

Understanding the New House Rules

January 5, 2011

Today, the House of Representatives adopted a new rules package which will bring a new focus on controlling spending in the 112th Congress—a vital component of any plan to gain control of our huge federal deficit and soaring debt. While the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget applauds the House for this new focus, we also have some serious concerns.

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