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  • Author: Michael E. O'Hanlon
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The year 2010 in Afghanistan had some encouraging signs but on balance it was less positive than had been hoped. In 2011, therefore, it is important to do two things: first, look for further improvements in our strategy; and second, develop a backup plan, should the current approach not yield the kind of progress that is necessary and expected.
  • Topic: NATO, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Asia
  • Author: Martin Neil Baily
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: During an "exit interview" with the Wall Street Journal, departing National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers argued that history would judge the United States based on how well we adjust to China's emergence as a great power, economically and politically. In the face of China's progress, America's manufacturing sector faces major challenges in becoming and remaining competitive and our choice of national economic policies will affect how well we meet those challenges. It is essential that the U.S. trade deficit not balloon as the economy recovers. There is scope to expand our exports in services and agriculture, but improving the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing is vital.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Markets, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America
  • Author: Grover J. "Russ" Whitehurst
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The new normal for local, state and federal governments is fiscal austerity. Although President Obama supported education during his State of the Union address and in his budget proposal to Congress, cash-strapped localities and states—which foot most of the bill for educating America's children— may have to balance their budgets with cuts to schools and teachers. The recession exposed a long-developing structural imbalance between public expenditure versus raising the revenue for public services. Especially on education, reality has set in, with a vengeance.
  • Topic: Education, Science and Technology, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Mauricio Cá¡rdenas, Joshua Meltzer
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: A trio of trade agreements now pending before Congress would benefit the United States both economically and strategically. Carefully developed accords with South Korea, Colombia and Panama will boost U.S. exports significantly, especially in the key automotive, agricultural and commercial services sectors. Among the other benefits are: increased U.S. competitiveness enhancement of U.S. diplomatic and economic postures in East Asia and Latin America new investment opportunities better enforcement of labor regulation and improved transparency in these trading partners' regulatory systems.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Kenya, United States, Israel, Colombia, Latin America
  • Author: Jens Ludwig, Philip J. Cook
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The unprecedented surge in incarceration since 1980 has stimulated a national debate between those who claim that locking up over 2 million people is necessitated by public safety concerns, and those who say the human and financial burden of imprisoning so many of our citizens is intolerable.
  • Topic: Crime, Human Rights, Law, Prisons/Penal Systems
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: William A. Galston
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: When experts and pundits are asked what the president and Congress should do to promote economic growth, they typically respond with a list of policies, often mixed with stylistic and political suggestions. Few focus on institutional change, which is too easy to conflate with yawn-inducing “governmental reorganization.”
  • Topic: Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Grover J. (Russ) Whitehurst
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: A nation's education system is a pillar of its economic strength and international competitiveness. The National Bureau of Economic Research analyzed data from 146 countries, collected between 1950 and 2010, and found that each year of additional average schooling attained by a population translates into at least a two percent increase in economic output. A 2007 World Bank policy research working paper reported similar results. Based on these findings, if the United States increased the average years of schooling completed by its adult population from the current 12 years to 13 years—that is, added one year of postsecondary education—our gross domestic product would rise by more than $280 billion.
  • Topic: Economics, Education
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Mark Muro, James Duderstadt, Sarah Rahman
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: America needs to transform its energy system, and the Great Lakes region (including, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, West Virginia, western Pennsylvania and western New York) possesses many of the needed innovation assets. For that reason, the federal government should leverage this troubled region's research and engineering strengths by launching a region-wide network of collaborative, highintensity energy research and innovation centers.
  • Topic: Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Martin Neil Baily, Karen Dynan, Douglas J. Elliott
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: As the nation strives to recover from the “Great Recession,” job creation remains one of the biggest challenges to renewed prosperity. Small businesses have been among the most powerful generators of new jobs historically, suggesting the value of a stronger focus on supporting small businesses— especially high-growth firms—and encouraging entrepreneurship. Choosing the right policies will require public and private decision-makers to establish clear goals, such as increasing employment, raising the overall return on investment, and generating innovations with broader benefits for society. Good mechanisms will also be needed for gauging their progress and ultimate success. This brief examines policy recommendations to strengthen the small business sector and provide a platform for effective programs. These recommendations draw heavily from ideas discussed at a conference held at the Brookings Institution with academic experts, successful private-sector entrepreneurs, and government policymakers, including leaders from the Small Business Administration. The gathering was intended to spur the development of creative solutions in the private and public sectors to foster lasting economic growth.
  • Topic: Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The recent clash between a Chinese fishing vessel and the Japanese coast guard in the East China Sea demonstrates continuing potential for conflict between China and Japan over territory and maritime resources, one that could affect the United States. China's stronger navy and air force in and over the waters east and south of the country's coast is one dimension of that country's growing power. But the deployment of these assets encroaches on the traditional area of operations of Japan's navy and air force - and a clash between Chinese and Japanese ships and planes cannot be ruled out.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Asia
  • Author: Vanda Felbab-Brown
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Nearly eight years after a U.S.-led invasion toppled the Taliban regime, Afghanistan remains far from stable. As President Barack Obama considers alternatives to increasing the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, his administration's new counternarcotics strategy meshes well with counterinsurgency and state-building efforts in the country. It is a welcome break from previous ineffective and counterproductive policies. The effectiveness of the policy with respect to counternarcotics, counterinsurgency and state-building, however, will depend on the operationalization of the strategy. The details are not yet clear, but the strategy potentially faces many pitfalls.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: R. Kent Weaver
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Efforts by President George W. Bush to promote major reforms in the Social Security retirement program have not led to policy change, but rather to increased polarization between the two parties. And the longer we wait to address Social Security's long-term funding problem, the bigger and more painful the changes will need to be.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Sara Mead, Andrew J. Rotherham
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: To resolve dramatic disparities in educational achievement and ensure future American workers are globally competitive, the federal government needs, as it has in the past, to change the game in public education. A robust new federal Office of Educational Entrepreneurship and Innovation within the Department of Education would expand the boundaries of public education by scaling up successful educational entrepreneurs, seeding transformative educational innovations, and building a stronger culture to support these activities throughout the public sector.
  • Topic: Education
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Robert Puentes
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: In the past, strategic investments in our nation's transportation infrastructure—the railroads in the 19th century, the interstates in the 20th—turbocharged growth and transformed the country. But more recently, America's transportation infrastructure has not kept pace with the growth and evolution of its economy. At the precise time when the nation desperately needs to prioritize its limited investments and resources, the federal transportation program has lost focus.
  • Topic: Development, Environment, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Lex Rieffel, James W. Fox
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is one of the outstanding innovations of the eight-year presidency of George W. Bush. No other aid agency-foreign or domestic-can match its purposeful mandate, its operational flexibility and its potential muscle.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Humanitarian Aid, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Anthony Downs
  • Publication Date: 10-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: U.S. stock markets are gyrating on news of an apparent credit crunch generated by defaults among subprime home mortgage loans. Such frenzy has spurred Wall Street to cry capital crisis. However, there is no shortage of capital – only a shortage of confidence in some of the instruments Wall Street has invented. Much financial capital is still out there looking for a home.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: David L. Caprara, John Bridgeland, Harris Wofford
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: As policy-makers search for ways to share the best of America with the world, they should start with our international volunteers, who embody this country's spirit of generosity, resourcefulness and hope. With the support of Congress and the Bush Administration, volunteers can become the first face of America to communities in many nations, while advancing concrete initiatives that lift up the lives of the poor throughout the world.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Larry Diamond, Carlos Pascual
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: U.S. policy on Iraq must address both diplomatic and military strategy together to realize any chance for sustainable peace. That was one of the central themes of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group report, yet the need for a diplomatic strategy to achieve a political settlement among warring Iraqis has largely been ignored in the debate on whether to “surge” or “withdraw” troops.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Mary Graham, Elena Fagotto
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Support is growing in the 110th Congress for legislation to counter climate change. Yet action on any of the major cap-and-trade proposals will leave a critical policy gap. None of the proposed systems would take full effect for at least five years. Meanwhile, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase and company executives are locking in future emissions as they finalize plans for new power plants, factories and cars. The Administration's latest climate action report, circulated in draft in March 2007, estimates that a 19 percent increase in U.S. emissions between 2000 and 2020 will contribute to persistent drought, coastal flooding and water shortages in many parts of the country and around the world. This policy brief proposes that Congress legislate product-by-product and factory-by-factory disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions to create immediate incentives for companies to cut those emissions. Labeling products and disclosing factory emissions would provide market benefits now by exposing inefficiencies and informing the choices of investors, business partners, employees and consumers and would give companies the information base they need to prepare for cap-and-trade regulation.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Environment, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: David de Ferranti, Anthony J. Ody
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), typically employing between 10 and 250 workers, form the backbone of modern economies and can be crucial engines of development through their role as seedbeds of innovation. In much of the developing world, though, SMEs are under-represented, stifled by perverse regulatory climates and poor access to inputs. A critical missing ingredient is often capital.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States