New America Policy Papers: 2012

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.

Social Contract Budgeting: Prescriptions from Economics and History

  • By Peter Lindert, University of California - Davis
December 17, 2012

If there is to be any durable hope for a social contract that transcends left-right partisanship, that contract must rest upon a majority consensus about policies that are efficient, fair, and sustainable. Once the smoke has cleared from this November’s battle over the role of government, what will endure are several policy prescriptions kept alive by an objective reading of economic history and a general consensus among economists.

Capping the Nation’s Broadband Future?

  • By
  • Hibah Hussain,
  • Danielle Kehl,
  • Benjamin Lennett,
  • Patrick Lucey,
  • New America Foundation
December 17, 2012

Below, you will find the full text of the Open Technology Institute's paper, "Capping the Nation's Broadband Future?" To download a PDF of the report, click here. You can also find a two-page fact sheet on data caps here.

A King of Beers?

  • By Markets, Enterprise, and Resiliency Initiative
December 12, 2012

In some respects, America’s market for beer has never looked healthier. Where fewer than a hundred brewers operated a generation ago, we now can count more than 2,000, producing a mind-boggling variety of beers. Yet just below this drinkers’ paradise, we see a market that has never been more closed. Two giant firms — Anheuser-Busch Inbev and MillerCoors — now control some 90 percent of production. At the same time, a few giant retailers — led by Costco — are rolling up control over sales. This concentration is already diminishing real variety in much of the country.

Reforming Head Start

  • By
  • Maggie Severns,
  • New America Foundation
December 11, 2012

As research continues to highlight the benefits of early childhood education, the Obama administration’s reforms to Head Start are shaking up the 45-year-old preschool program for children in poverty. This issue brief explains why some Head Start programs are competing for funding for the first time, how quality teaching is emphasized in future grant awards, and what to watch for in 2013.

Kludgeocracy: The American Way of Policy

  • By Steven M. Teles, Johns Hopkins University
December 10, 2012

The last thirty years of American history have witnessed, at least rhetorically, a battle over the size of government. Yet that is not what the history books will say the next thirty years of American politics were about. With the frontiers of the state roughly fixed, the issues that will dominate American politics going forward will concern the complexity of government, rather than its sheer size.

Competing Visions of the Past: Learning from History for the Future of American Social Policy

  • By Steven Attewell, University of California-Santa Barbara
December 6, 2012

In his 2012 nomination acceptance speech in Charlotte, President Obama argued that this election represented “a choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future.” It is also true to say that we faced a choice between two fundamentally different visions of the past. And despite Obama’s reelection, the debate rages on in a closely-divided electorate and in Washington. Underneath disagreements over Obamacare, Medicare advantage cuts and Medicare vouchers, and individual retirement accounts, there is an argument about which model of social policy is best for the country.

What's at Stake at WCIT?

  • By
  • Tim Maurer,
  • New America Foundation
December 5, 2012

The latest battle over who governs the Internet is taking place in Dubai this week. As the world’s governments meet at the World Conference on International Telecommunication (WCIT), hosted by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), it is already clear that the Internet governance system is under pressure. The legitimacy of this governance system and the Internet’s future success will be affected by these debates.

Congress' Wicked Problem

  • By
  • Lorelei Kelly,
  • New America Foundation
December 4, 2012

The lack of shared expert knowledge capacity in the U.S. Congress has created a critical weakness in our democratic process.Along with bipartisan cooperation, many contemporary and urgent questions before our legislators require nuance, genuine deliberation and expert judgment. Congress, however, is missing adequate means for this purpose and depends on outdated and in some cases antiquated systems of information referral, sorting, communicating, and convening.

No Discount: Comparing the Public Option to the Coupon Welfare State

  • By Mike Konczal, Roosevelt Institute
December 3, 2012

The fundamental ideological conflict surrounding the Welfare State in the U.S. is no longer over the scope of government, but instead how the government carries out its responsibilities and delivers services. The conservative and neoliberal vision is one of a government that provides a comparable range of benefits as conventional liberals, but rather than designing and delivering the services directly, it provides coupons for citizens.

Tax Reform That Works: Building a Solid Fiscal Foundation with a VAT

  • By Bruce Bartlett, Author, The Benefit and the Burden: Tax Reform -- Why We Need It and What It Will Take
November 29, 2012

Tax reform is like the weather – everyone talks about it, but no one ever does anything about it. But unlike inclement weather, the problems of the tax system don’t go away; they continue to fester and compound. Today there are a number of unpleasant trends in the federal tax system that are crying out for attention:

Economic Recovery and Social Investment

  • By Robert Kuttner, The American Prospect
November 26, 2012

Today’s prolonged economic slump is fundamentally different from an ordinary recession. In the aftermath of a severe financial collapse, an economy is at risk of succumbing to a prolonged deflationary undertow. With asset prices reduced, the financial system damaged, unemployment high, consumer demand depressed, and businesses reluctant to invest, the economy gets stuck well below its full employment potential.

Debt, Deficits, and Demographics

  • By Dean Baker, Center for Economic and Policy Research
November 19, 2012

For much of the last three decades, policy debates in the United States have been dominated by a quixotic concern about deficits, debt, and demographics. This concern has distracted policy from fundamental economic issues that have much more direct bearing on economic well-being, most notably the growth (and bursting) of the housing bubble in the last decade. While large deficits can have a negative impact on economic growth, this impact has been hugely misrepresented in public debates.

From Protection to Investment

  • By
  • Jamie M. Zimmerman,
  • Anjana Ravi,
  • Nicole Tosh,
  • New America Foundation
November 19, 2012

The way governments give aid to citizens in need has changed dramatically in recent years: the estimated number of government-to-person cash payments transferred electronically in 2012 has doubled from 2012 to 2009 — from 25 to 61 percent according to the data of countries examined by the Global Savings and Social Protection Initiative (GSSP).

Raising American Wages...by Raising American Wages

  • By Ron Unz, The American Conservative
November 15, 2012

With Americans still trapped in the fifth year of our Great Recession, and median personal income having been essentially stagnant for forty years, perhaps we should finally admit that decades of economic policies have largely failed.

State Asset Limit Reforms and Implications for Federal Policy

  • By
  • Aleta Sprague,
  • Rachel Black,
  • New America Foundation
October 31, 2012

Widespread hardship inflicted by the Great Recession has underscored the financial vulnerability of many families and the need for accessible resources that can help them meet their needs until they are back on their feet. Yet current policies convey conflicting messages about the value of saving. While higher income households are offered incentives to save through the tax code, many low-income families are actively discouraged from saving through policies that require them to choose between spending down their existing savings or foregoing the immediate assistance they need.

From Social Banking to Financial Inclusion: Understanding the Potential for Financial Services Innovation in India

  • By
  • Eric Tyler,
  • Anjana Ravi,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Sunil Bhat, Minakshi Ramji and Anjaneyulu Ballem (MicroSave)
October 29, 2012

When it comes to savings for the poor and financial inclusion efforts, India is a dynamic market ripe for innovation and experimentation. Its extensive web of financial service providers as well as the incidence of large-scale exclusion are contradictory features that also make it a market worth examining.

Safety Net or Windfall?

  • By
  • Jason Delisle,
  • Alex Holt,
  • New America Foundation
October 16, 2012

In his 2010 State of the Union address, President Obama urged Congress to change the federal student loan program’s existing Income-Based Repayment (IBR) plan, which caps borrowers’ payments at 15 percent of their incomes and forgives any remaining debt after 25 years of payments. He argued that high college tuition was an untenable burden for the middle class, and that by reducing payments to 10 percent of a borrower’s income and providing loan forgiveness after 20 years of payments, lawmakers could provide borrowers with relief.

Investing in Girls

  • By
  • Jamie M. Zimmerman,
  • Nicole Tosh,
  • Jamie Holmes,
  • New America Foundation
October 11, 2012

Over the last decade, anti-poverty initiatives across the developing world have increasingly focused on gender-based strategies, and in particular, on achieving equality and empowerment through gender-focused program innovation. While important progress has been made in the last several years, men still outnumber women in paid employment in almost every region of the developing world, with more women working informally, and in more vulnerable employment positions, than men.

Counting Kids and Tracking Funds in Pre-K and Kindergarten

  • By
  • Lisa Guernsey,
  • Alex Holt,
  • New America Foundation
September 18, 2012

This issue brief, produced by the New America Foundation's Early Education Initiative, addresses the dearth of reliable, complete, and comparable data on pre-K and kindergarten in school districts and local communities.

Assets @ 21: Lessons from the Past/Directions for the Future

September 14, 2012

On May 1st and 2nd of 2012, the Asset Building Program at the New American Foundation hosted a symposium and ideas summit in Washington, DC to commemorate the 21st anniversary of the publication of Michael Sherraden’s seminal book, Assets and the Poor. Published in 1991, the book challenged the prevailing approach to welfare policy which focused on income maintenance and immediate consumption and as an alternative articulated a perspective which emphasized the role assets play in promoting social development over the life course.

Cracking the Credit Hour

  • By
  • Amy Laitinen,
  • New America Foundation
September 5, 2012

The basic currency of higher education — the credit hour — represents the root of many problems plaguing America's higher education system: the practice of measuring time rather than learning. Cracking the Credit Hour traces the history of this time-based unit, from the days of Andrew Carnegie to recent federal efforts to define a credit hour.

Creating Creatures of Habit

  • By
  • Payal Pathak,
  • New America Foundation
July 26, 2012

Youth savings accounts are emerging as a potential poverty reduction and youth development tool, with initial evidence indicating that children and youth who save in accounts earlier in life begin to think positively about their futures. Researchers have observed asset effects, or as the YouthSave Consortium defined the term in a 2010 publication, the “economic, social, behavioral, and psychological impacts of asset ownership,” in a number of studies. For example, qualitative findings from the SEED (Saving for Education, Entrepreneurship, and Downpayment) Initiative, a national demonstration of 1,171 child development accounts in the United States, showed that, in addition to gaining financial savings, participants had higher self-esteem, hopes for the future, financial knowledge, and security.

America’s Emerging Growth Story

  • By
  • Sherle R. Schwenninger,
  • Samuel Sherraden,
  • New America Foundation
July 19, 2012

Contents

I.  Overview
II.  The Story Begins with Oil & Gas
III.  Job Creation and Investment
IV.  The Catalyst for a Manufacturing Revival
V.  The Rise of New Industries
VI.  Shoring up America’s Fiscal Position
VII.  Infrastructure Investment is the Missing Piece of the Story
VIII.  Serious Obstacles Remain

The Cost of Connectivity 2012

  • By
  • Hibah Hussain,
  • Danielle Kehl,
  • Benjamin Lennett,
  • Chiehyu Li,
  • Patrick Lucey,
  • New America Foundation
July 19, 2012

Below, you will find the full text of the Open Technology Institute's report, "The Cost of Connectivity," which compares the prices of high-speed internet in 22 cities worldwide. To download a PDF of the report and its appendices, click here.

Digital Freedom of Expression in Uzbekistan

  • By Sarah Kendzior, PhD
July 18, 2012

The 2011 uprisings in the Middle East have prompted speculation about whether digital technology can and will be used to foment similar uprisings in former Soviet authoritarian states. This paper examines the relationship between political activism and internet freedom in Uzbekistan.  It argues that while the internet is a critical tool for political expression, its utility as a tool for activism is challenged both by threats from the government and by fear and apathy among Uzbek internet users.

Out of Business

  • By
  • Barry C. Lynn,
  • Lina Khan,
  • New America Foundation
July 10, 2012

America’s entrepreneurial sector is in deep trouble. Although the mainstream media continues to promote the idea that the nation’s small and upstart businesses are either generally thriving or, at worst, recovering from the sudden blow of the Great Recession, a closer look at the data reveals the exact opposite to be true, with a long-standing decline in the numbers of independent startups per working-age American.

Hard Landing

  • By
  • Phillip Longman,
  • Lina Khan,
  • New America Foundation
July 9, 2012

America’s air transport system is vital to the economic health of the nation, and to the well-being of every region of the country. Yet across much of America, the air transport system is breaking down as the few surviving airlines simultaneously jack up fares and slash service. This means citizens can’t get where they need to go. And it means large and vibrant cities – including St. Louis, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Memphis – are having trouble keeping what businesses they have, let alone attracting new investors.

Enhancing the Impact of Cash Transfers

  • By
  • Vishnu Sridharan,
  • New America Foundation
July 6, 2012

One of the most successful tools in the fight against poverty, one that has attracted increasing attention over the past decade, is social protection via cash transfers. In fact, the New America Foundation’s Global Savings and Social Protection Database – which focuses on Latin America, Africa, East and Asia – has identified over 90 cash-transfer programs in 45 countries, with over a half billion beneficiaries. As the Chronic Poverty Research Centre puts it, “social protection is critical in preventing descent into chronic poverty and reducing the depth of poverty...

Public Media Policy, Spectrum Policy, and Rethinking Public Interest Obligations for the 21st Century

  • By
  • Benjamin Lennett,
  • Tom Glaisyer,
  • Sascha Meinrath,
  • New America Foundation
June 21, 2012

In this paper we consider reforms and innovations in spectrum policy that would enable and sustain an expanded public media to better support quality news, journalism, education, arts, and civic information in the 21st century. The Internet has remade the landscape of free expression, access to news and information, and media production. Thus, we are well past the moment when spectrum allocated to broadcasting could be considered as distinct from that allocated to wireless broadband networks.

The Case for Wage-Led Growth

  • By Jeff Madrick, Roosevelt Institute and Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis
June 15, 2012

The share of wages and salaries in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has declined in most rich nations over the past 20 to 30 years. Over the same period, income inequality has grown in most of these nations, and rapidly in some of the largest of them, resulting in slow wage growth for most consumers. 

The Case for Extending Financial Inclusion to Children

  • By
  • Terri Friedline,
  • New America Foundation
June 1, 2012

Children are significantly more likely to maintain a relationship with financial institutions and have greater financial assets later in life when they own a savings account earlier in life. However, some children gain access to savings accounts while others do not—an inequity that tends to be based on parents’ socio-economic status. This paper explores the case for extending financial inclusion to children by improving access to basic financial services.

Savings for the Poor in Kenya

  • By
  • Anjana Ravi,
  • Eric Tyler,
  • New America Foundation
May 23, 2012

Kenya’s financial market has caught the world’s attention. The rise of mobile money in Kenya has become the interest of financial inclusion experts, the excitement of mobile network operators, and an opportunity for financial institutions to rethink their products and services. However, the implications and transformative impact of mobile money and other related innovations in the financial landscape are often much less examined and understood.

PATCON

  • By J.M. Berger
May 21, 2012

Since September 11, 2001, more than 300 U.S. residents have been prosecuted for crimes related to homegrown terrorism. About half were targeted by law enforcement using infiltration techniques – confidential informants, undercover operations, or, in some cases, both.[i]

Russian Roulette

  • By
  • Brian Fishman,
  • New America Foundation
May 18, 2012

The strategic partnership agreement between the United States and Afghanistan that was signed by Presidents Barack Obama and Hamid Karzai on May 1, 2012 did not address several critical questions, the most important of which is whether, and to what degree, the international community will continue to fund the Afghan government after 2014. Addressing the Afghan government’s budget needs is to be a major focus of the upcoming Chicago summit.

Drawing Red Lines: Opportunities, Constraints, and U.S. Economic Aid to Egypt - By Anne Mariel Zimmermann

  • By Anne Mariel Zimmerman, Wesleyan University
May 1, 2012

Economic assistance has been a staple of United States foreign policy in the Middle East for the past six decades – particularly in the oil-poor states of Egypt, Jordan, and Israel, which collectively received about $133 billion between 1946 and 2010. In the 1950s and 1960s, these three economic aid programs displayed marked similarities, most notably a focus on small projects and technical assistance in public administration, infrastructure, industry, and agriculture.

US-Egypt Relations After the Arab Uprisings: Is Washington Part of the Problem?

  • By Issandr El Amrani, The Arabist
May 1, 2012

If the ongoing Arab uprisings that began in late 2010 are a turning point in the history of the region, are they also for the relationship the region has with the West, particularly for the United States, a crucial regional actor since the 1950s and a hegemonic one since the 1990s?

Universities as Hubs for Next-Generation Networks

  • By
  • Benjamin Lennett,
  • Sarah Morris,
  • Greta Byrum,
  • New America Foundation
April 23, 2012

Based on a request for information (RFI) submitted to The University Community Next Generation Innovation Project (Gig.U), the paper describes a model for universities to develop next generation  broadband infrastructure in their communities. In our view universities can play a critical role in spurring next generation networks into their communities through use of their physical infrastructure to extend high-speed Internet access and sharing their expertise and resources to support engagement and participation by community members, businesses, and institutions. 

Value Added: America's Manufacturing Future

  • By
  • Michael Lind,
  • Joshua Freedman,
  • New America Foundation
April 18, 2012

Manufacturing matters. That is the rapidly emerging consensus in the United States, after a generation in which leading policymakers, economists and journalists dismissed the importance of the U.S.

The Assets Report 2012

  • By
  • Reid Cramer,
  • Rachel Black,
  • Justin King,
  • New America Foundation
April 11, 2012

While the recovery from the Great Recession appears be taking hold, economic hardship remains pervasive. Poverty is still on the rise and many families feel that the forces of recession have displaced them from the middle class. As the Presidential election year unfolds, these cyclical and entrenched threats to financial security provide a backdrop to public debates. Expanding opportunities for upward mobility has become a common call.

Starting Early With English Language Learners

  • By
  • Maggie Severns,
  • New America Foundation
April 11, 2012

English Language Learners are a large and growing population in America’s public school system, but schools often fall short in preparing these students for success in college and the workforce. A new policy paper from the Early Education Initiative of the New America Foundation focuses on one state, Illinois, that is taking a different approach: building English Language Learner services that begin as early as pre-K to ensure that all students, regardless of their age, are supported in school.

Between a Mountain of Debt and a Fiscal Cliff: Finding a Smart Path Forward

March 29, 2012

At the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013, many major fiscal events are set to occur all at once. They include the expiration of the 2001/03/10 tax cuts, the winding down of certain jobs provisions, the activation of the $1.2 trillion across-the-board “sequester,” an immediate and steep reduction in Medicare physician payments, the end of current AMT patches, and the need to once again raise the country’s debt ceiling.

America’s Pent-Up Demand

  • By
  • Patrick C. Doherty,
  • New America Foundation
March 26, 2012

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke is looking hard for demand. Without a “more-rapid expansion of production and demand from producers and consumers,” the Fed chairman does not see the recent employment gains as “sustainable.” That’s an understatement.

"We Don't Do Banks"

  • By
  • Rourke OBrien,
  • New America Foundation
March 15, 2012

When asked whether he or anyone in his household has a bank account, Billy, a 24-year-old out-of-work father of two young daughters quickly retorted, “We don’t do banks.” A recent survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) reveals that Billy is not alone—more than 9 million American households are unbanked, meaning they have no checking or savings account.

CBO's Projections Show Need for Smart, "Go Big" Approach: Comparing Major Debt Reduction Plans

March 13, 2012

Today, CBO released its latest budget projections for the next ten years, again showing the appearance of a declining debt trajectory. These projections based on current law, however, do not incorporate the costs of current policies that lawmakers have extended many times in the past and are likely to do so again, such as the annual “patch” of the Alternative Minimum Tax.

Overcoming Obstacles to College Attendance and Degree Completion

  • By
  • Rachel Black,
  • Mark Huelsman,
  • New America Foundation
March 5, 2012

The rise in student loan debt has directed critical attention to the growing pace of college costs as well as the reliance on loans to finance those costs. For graduates entering the workforce in recent years, many are finding that they are unable to find the type of job they thought they were securing when they received their degree, if they are able to find a job at all. Consequently, more loans are going unpaid and student loan debt has become the only class of consumer debt where defaults are increasing.

Misinformation and Fact-checking

  • By Brendan Nyhan, Asst. Professor, Dartmouth College; Jason Reifler, Asst. Professor, Georgia State
February 28, 2012

Citizens and journalists are concerned about the prevalence of misinformation in contemporary politics, which may pollute democratic discourse and undermine citizens’ ability to cast informed votes and participate meaningfully in public debate. Academic research in this area paints a pessimistic picture—the most salient misperceptions are widely held, easily spread, and difficult to correct. Corrections can fail due to factors including motivated reasoning, limitations of memory and cognition, and identity factors such as race and ethnicity.

The Fact-Checking Universe in Spring 2012

  • By
  • Lucas Graves,
  • Tom Glaisyer,
  • New America Foundation
February 28, 2012

By almost any measure, the 2012 presidential race is shaping up to be the most fact-checked electoral contest in American history. Every new debate and campaign ad yields a blizzard of fact-checking from the new full-time fact-checkers, from traditional news outlets in print and broadcast, and from partisan political organizations of various stripes. And though fact-checking still peaks before elections it is now a year-round enterprise that challenges political claims beyond the campaign trail.

The Rise of Political Fact-checking

  • By Michael Dobbs
February 24, 2012

This report uses the Washington Post as a case study to trace the rise of modern political fact-checking.

Primary Numbers: The GOP Candidates and the National Debt

February 23, 2012

The United States faces a number of serious fiscal and economic challenges. Federal budget deficits are projected for the foreseeable future, the economy remains weak, Social Security faces long-term financing concerns, health care spending is growing faster than the economy, tax policy is at a major crossroads, and our national debt continues to rise. Inattention to the ballooning national debt threatens to undermine the economy and our competitiveness, and could lead to a serious fiscal crisis.

Analysis of the President's FY 2013 Budget

February 16, 2012

On Monday, the White House released its FY 2013 budget. Our major findings include:

Summary and Analysis of President Obama's Education Budget Request

  • By
  • Jason Delisle,
  • Jennifer Cohen Kabaker,
  • New America Foundation
February 15, 2012

President Barack Obama submitted his fourth budget request to Congress on February 13th, 2012. The detailed budget request includes proposed funding levels for federal programs and agencies in aggregate for the upcoming ten fiscal years, and specific fiscal year 2013 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 2013 appropriations bill that will set specific funding levels for federal education programs. Fiscal year 2013 begins October 1, 2012.

In August of 2011, Congress signed the Budget Control Act which set appropriations funding limits for 2013 at $1.047 trillion (excludes funding for overseas military operations, emergencies, and other adjustments). This is $4 billion above enacted 2012 appropriations. That law also established a congressional committee to draft legislation that would reduce the deficit over nine years. The committee failed to meet its goals last year, triggering a pending “sequester” (across-the-board spending cuts) of the yet-to-be enacted fiscal year 2013 appropriations. While the pending sequester is scheduled under current law, the president’s fiscal year 2013 budget request proposes that Congress pass legislation to turn it off, maintaining the appropriations funding limit of $1.047 trillion for fiscal year 2013.  

Despite the minimal increase in total appropriations funding allowed under the Budget Control Act (pre-sequestration), the administration has proposed an overall increase for education programs for fiscal year 2013. In fact, under the president's proposal, the U.S. Department of Education would receive the largest increase (in absolute terms) in discretionary funding from fiscal year 2012 levels compared to any other non-security domestic agency.

The administration has proposed a $69.8 billion budget for education programs subject to the annual appropriations process, up from $68.1 billion in 2012. The increase is due to moderate funding increases for several programs, including Race to the Top, Work-Study grants, and the Teacher Incentive Fund. Other key programs, such as Title I Part A grants to local educational agencies, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Part B grants to states, and Pell Grants would be funded at 2012 levels. In addition, the president is requesting $62.9 billion in fiscal year 2012 for education stimulus spending under his American Jobs Act proposal outlined in 2011. This funding is proposed in addition to the enacted fiscal year 2012 appropriations totaling $68.1 billion for the Department of Education.

This issue brief provides a summary and analysis of the president's fiscal year 2013 education budget request.

Click here to view the full report.

Key Questions on the Obama Administration's 2013 Education Budget Request

  • By
  • Jason Delisle,
  • Jennifer Cohen Kabaker,
  • New America Foundation
February 13, 2012

President Barack Obama submitted his third budget request to Congress on February 13th, 2012. 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 2013 funding levels for programs subject to the annual appropriations process.

It is important to remember that the president's budget request is a policy and budget proposal, but not legislation or law. Actual fiscal year 2013 funding levels for nearly all federal education programs will be determined through the congressional appropriations process that Congress aims to complete by the start of the new fiscal year, which begins October 1st, 2012. Policy changes and funding levels that the president proposes for education programs not funded through appropriations process (i.e. mandatory programs) are also subject to congressional approval.

In an effort to heighten the quality of debate on federal education policy, the New America Foundation's Federal Education Budget Project has reviewed the president's proposals and generated a list of key questions policymakers, the media, stakeholder groups, and the public should ask about the proposals.

Click here to view the full PDF.

Student Loan Interest Rates: History, Subsidies, and Cost

  • By
  • Jason Delisle,
  • New America Foundation
February 9, 2012

In his State of the Union address, President Obama called on Congress to prevent federal student loan interest rates from doubling later this year. This is the culmination of decades of legislative changes to the federal student loan program. Few people are aware of the policies that led to the pending student loan interest rate increase and many question whether the 6.8 percent fixed interest rate charged on the most widely-available loans provides a real benefit to students.

The Economic and Geo-Political Implications of China-Centric Globalization

  • By
  • Thomas Palley,
  • New America Foundation
February 8, 2012

The last 30 years have witnessed the era of globalization which has been marked by the creation of an integrated global economy. Globalization has been the product of both policy and market forces, and U.S. policymakers have persistently been in the vanguard. However, what began as a project of globalization has been transformed with little explicit public discussion into a project of China-centric globalization.

The 80 Percent Solution

  • By Thomas F. Lynch III
February 2, 2012

With the death of Osama bin Laden in May 2011, the United States and Western governments scored a major but still underappreciated victory in the nearly decade-and-a-half-old war against al-Qaeda. Bin Laden’s death did not eliminate all of the features of al-Qaeda that make it dangerous as a factor in terrorism internationally. Its role in assisting regional jihadist groups in strikes against local governments and by inspiring “lone wolf” would-be martyrs in acts of violence will remain with us for many years.  Yet the manner in which U.S.

Analysis of CBO's Budget and Economic Projections and CRFB's Realistic Baseline

January 31, 2012

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its updated budget and economic projections today, showing the appearance of a sustainable debt trajectory over the next ten years. However, these projections do not incorporate the costs of policies lawmakers are very likely to continue, nor do they show the long-term costs of an aging population and growing health care costs beyond the ten year window.

Among our major findings based on the report:

Economic Security Through Employment Assurance

  • By Steven Attewell, PhD Student, Policy History, UCSB
January 27, 2012

There are many reasons why America’s system of economic security is not working. Chief among them is a common factor in almost all of our social policies: they are designed with the assumption that people are constantly employed. For example, most social insurance programs, from Social Security to Unemployment Insurance to Medicare, require people to build up years of contributions before they can access benefits.1

Ideas for Refining Children's Savings Account Proposals

  • By
  • William Elliott,
  • New America Foundation
January 26, 2012

“Creating a Financial Stake in College” is a four-part series of reports that focuses on the relationship between children’s savings and improving college success. This series examines: (1) why policymakers should care about savings, (2) the relationship between inequality and bank account ownership, (3) the connections between savings and college attendance, and (4) recommendations to refine children’s savings account proposals.

The Progressive Case for Corporate Tax Reform

  • By Bruce Stokes, Senior Transatlantic Fellow for Economics, German Marshall Fund
January 26, 2012

In his January 2012 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama called for cutting taxes for companies that produce in the United States, especially high-tech manufacturers. He proposed eliminating deductions for firms that move jobs abroad. And he suggested a minimum tax on all multinational corporations.

What We Hope to See From the Extensions Conference Committee

January 25, 2012

At the end of last year, lawmakers enacted a temporary two-month extension of several policies set to expire, including the temporary payroll tax holiday, expanded unemployment insurance, the doc fix, and various health provisions. Encouragingly, the $33 billion cost of the extensions was fully offset over a ten-year period and a Conference Committee was appointed to determine how any further extensions would be treated.

We Save, We Go to College

  • By
  • William Elliott,
  • New America Foundation
January 19, 2012

“Creating a Financial Stake in College” is a four-part series of reports that focuses on the relationship between children’s savings and improving college success. This series examines: (1) why policymakers should care about savings, (2) the relationship between inequality and bank account ownership, (3) the connections between savings and college attendance, and (4) recommendations to refine children’s savings account proposals.

Does Structural Inequality Begin with a Bank Account?

  • By
  • William Elliott,
  • New America Foundation
January 12, 2012

“Creating a Financial Stake in College” is a four-part series of reports that focuses on the relationship between children’s savings and improving college success. This series examines: (1) why policymakers should care about savings, (2) the relationship between inequality and bank account ownership, (3) the connections between savings and college attendance, and (4) recommendations to refine children’s savings account proposals.

Unequal and Unstable

  • By Anant A. Thaker, Boston Consulting Group. Elizabeth C. Williamson, Frontenac Company.
January 11, 2012

Over the past century, the United States has experienced two large-scale financial crises: the Great Depression of 1929 and the recent Great Recession, which began in 2007. These periods also represented peaks in the share of U.S. income collected by the top 1 percent of earners. In 1929, the top 1 percent accrued over 22 percent of total national income, including capital gains – a share several percentage points above its historical average, and one that would not be seen again until 2006. Notably, the number of bank failures in the U.S.

Why Policymakers Should Care about Children's Savings

  • By
  • William Elliott,
  • New America Foundation
January 5, 2012

“Creating a Financial Stake in College” is a four-part series of reports that focuses on the relationship between children’s savings and improving college success. This series examines: (1) why policymakers should care about savings, (2) the relationship between inequality and bank account ownership, (3) the connections between savings and college attendance, and (4) recommendations to refine children’s savings account proposals.

2012 Education Appropriations Guide

  • By
  • Jason Delisle,
  • Jennifer Cohen Kabaker,
  • New America Foundation
January 3, 2012

Congress completed the fiscal year 2012 appropriations process on December 17th, 2011, finalizing annual funding for federal education programs through September 30, 2012 at $68.1 billion, down $233 million from the prior year. It is the first year since 2007 that Congress did not increase total appropriations for education programs.

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