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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
21. More COPS
  • Author: John J. Donohue III, Jens Ludwig
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: It would be unrealistic to expect crime to continue dropping sharply as it did in the 1990s, but that is no reason to undermine the progress brought by successful policies. With recent FBI data showing crime on the rise, it is time to reconsider the massive de-funding of one of the most successful federal anti-crime measures of the 1990s: the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Community Policing Services (COPS) program. The program, authorized by the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, provides grants to state and local police to hire additional officers and adopt aspects of "community policing."
  • Topic: Civil Society, Crime, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Britany Affolter-Caine, Justin Austin
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The Great Lakes region of the United States is a unique economic, social, and cultural area made up of all or part of 12 states, including the western portions of New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia; northern Kentucky; all of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin; and eastern Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri. Home to 97 million people, this region is defined by a shared geography and natural resources, a dynamic political and economic history, and strong principles of social organization that together have shaped its growth and development. One of the largest industrial production centers and consumer marketplaces in the world, this highly urbanized “mega-region” is a vital global hub of economic activity and growth.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, North America, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, West Virginia, North Kentucky, East Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri
  • Author: Tom Loveless
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: This report launches the second volume of the Brown Center Report on American Education. The five issues of volume one were published from 2000 to 2004. Volume one included regular reports on data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and state assessments, analysis of student achievement in charter schools, a study of trends in homework, evaluations of the federal government's Blue Ribbon Schools Program, an investigation of the academic performance of high schools with powerhouse sports teams, analyses of student achievement in urban school districts and rural schools, a survey of exchange students from countries abroad to see what they think of American schools, and a survey of the mathematics preparation of middle school math teachers. Volume two will explore similar topics related to how well American students are learning.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Education, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: William H. Frey, Alan Berube, Audrey Singer, Jill H. Wilson
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Beyond the suburbs, at the far edges of metropolitan areas, communities both new and old are developing the capacity to house large flows of incoming residents.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: For all its challenges Maine stands within reach of a new prosperity—if it takes bold action and focuses its limited resources on a few critical investments. The moment is urgent. After decades of industrial restructuring and drift, the pace of transformation is quickening, and the slow replacement of the old order is yielding a new one that may bring better lives for Mainers. New population growth is bringing new people and new wealth to the state.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Amy Liu, Matt Fellowes, Mia Mabanta
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: In the last month, Louisiana's voters participated in a dramatic election, which resulted in the retention of many incumbent members of Congress from southern Louisiana and the transfer of power to Democrats in the U.S. House and Senate. The buzz now is whether a Democratically-controlled Congress will serve as a better ally to the people of New Orleans and southern Louisiana in addressing the continued short- and long-term recovery needs of the region.
  • Topic: Development, Disaster Relief, Environment, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States, Louisiana
  • Author: Bruce Katz
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The relationship between the federal government and American cities is intricate and complex. Majoy federal policies on tax, trade, transportation, and immigration have a substantial influence on the health and vitality of city economies and the shape of metropolitan growth and development. Other federal policies on education, job training, wages, financial services, health care, and housing help shape the life opportunities of urban residents, particularly those who earn low or moderate incomes. Each of these policies influences and is influenced by the nation's changing demographic and economic reality, which in turn has significant implications for cities.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Audrey Singer, Jill H. Wilson
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Most immigrants arrive in the United States having planned their journey. Often they know in advance where they will initially live and work when they arrive, and many can rely on family, friends, and compatriots to cushion their transition. In short, most immigrants have made choices about their future.
  • Topic: Migration, Politics, War
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Lily L. Batchelder, Jr. Fred T. Goldberg, Peter R. Orszag
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The federal tax code provides about $500 billion each year in incentives intended to encourage socially-valued activities, including homeownership, charitable contributions, health insurance, and education. The vast majority of these incentives operate through deductions or other approaches that link the size of the tax break to a household's marginal tax bracket, which means that higher-income taxpayers receive larger incentives than lower-income taxpayers. Such an approach is often appropriate for provisions, such as deductions for business expenses, designed to measure income or ability to pay. But such an approach for incentives intended to promote socially-valued activities excludes more than a third of America, and misses an important opportunity to increase efficiency and economic growth.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Lex Rieffel, Sarah Zalud
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The face of America that has been welcomed most enthusiastically in the rest of the world for decades has been the face of a volunteer: assisting with disaster relief, building houses for poor families, teaching English to university students, and so much more.
  • Topic: International Relations, Education, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Erica Downs, Peter C. Evans
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The efforts of China's national oil companies to secure upstream oil assets abroad have attracted attention from U.S. officials and policymakers. Congress has taken notice, as indicated by the request of the Chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Resources Committee Richard W. Pombo—triggered by the bid made by China National Offshore Oil Corporation Ltd. for Unocal in 2005—for a study by the Department of Energy of the economic and national security implications of China's energy demand. The report, released in February 2006, concludes that the foreign investments of China's national oil companies do not pose an economic challenge to the U.S. However, one issue the report mentions only in passing that merits further attention is how the Chinese government's financial support for some of these investments can undermine an open and competitive world oil market.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Johannes F. Linn, Colin I. Bradford Jr.
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The global challenges confronting political leaders today—whether the stalemate of global trade negotiations, the threat of Avian flu, the struggle over Iran going nuclear, or the fight against global poverty—cannot be solved by yesterday's institutions. They demand new approaches to global governance that are more inclusive, more representative, and thus more effective. The G8 summit, in particular, is a forum of the eight industrialized countries that were the dominant powers of the mid-twentieth century. By excluding the emerging powers of the twenty-first century, it has become increasingly ineffective, unrepresentative and illegitimate. U.S. global interests are best served by increasing the inclusiveness and effectiveness of the global steering process rather than sticking with the obsolete, overly formalized and unrepresentative G8.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Politics, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Daniel T. Lichter, Andrea Kane
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Most social scientists acknowledge that, on balance, single parents, stepparents, or cohabiting couples are no substitute for childrearing by two married parents. Yet, new data from the federal government show that a record number of babies—nearly 1.5 million—were born to unmarried women in the United States in 2004. Empirical evidence of this sort has leveraged political support for the Bush administration's “Healthy Marriage Initiative.” Congress recently approved major funding for this initiative as part of welfare reform reauthorization. Approximately $100 million per year will be available for research, demonstration, and technical assistance projects to promote healthy marriage through such activities as public advertising campaigns, relationship and marriage education in high schools, and relationship and marriage skills for both unmarried and married couples. In addition, about $50 million per year will be available to promote responsible fatherhood.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics, Government, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: James C. Capretta
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Although Social Security reform appears to be off of the national agenda for now, real funding problems remain for America's popular retirement program that policymakers need to address. The payroll taxes that support Social Security's “pay–as-you-go” system will begin to fall short of outlays in 2017 and will be sufficient to finance only 74 percent of scheduled annual benefits by 2041, when the Social Security trust fund is projected to be exhausted.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Germany, Sweden
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Autism spectrum disorders have become among the most common and severe developmental disabilities facing children—and thus future generations of adults—in the United States today. More than in 200 young children may now be affected by a neurological condition on the spectrum (which includes autism, pervasive development disorder, and Asperger's syndrome or disorder). This fact has become increasingly well reported in recent months.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Health, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Henry J. Aaron
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Providing all beneficial care to those who need it is rapidly becoming unaffordable, even for a nation as rich as the United States. The highly decentralized U.S. payment system is unique in its lack of effective levers for limiting health care spending, and managed care has largely been ineffective. A different solution, considered extreme by many in the United States, is rationing. The need to ration healthcare has long been a reality in the United Kingdom where healthcare spending must be covered by an annual budget accounting for only 7.6 percent of GDP—about half the U.S. share. These decisions are perhaps most difficult in regards to treatment of conditions that are literally matters of life or death, such as coronary artery disease. This brief examines reasons for the differences in treatment and outcomes in the United States and Britain, and discusses the difficulty of rationing care in the United States, where a unique payment system now uses income from those with health insurance to cover the medical costs of the uninsured.
  • Topic: Health
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Martin R. West
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) has the potential to improve many of America's schools, but this potential is currently undermined by serious flaws in how the program evaluates school performance. Because NCLB's measurement system compares only students' performance at a single point in time against state-determined standards, the information generated on school performance is often misleading and creates perverse incentives for states to lower their expectations.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Henry J. Aaron
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Providing all beneficial care to those who need it is rapidly becoming unaffordable, even for a nation as rich as the United States. The highly decentralized U.S. payment system is unique in its lack of effective levers for limiting health care spending, and managed care has largely been ineffective. A different solution, considered extreme by many in the United States, is rationing.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Henry J. Aaron
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The United States spends more on health care than any other nation. In 2003, medical spending made up more than 15 percent of U.S. GDP, and if historical trends persist, this share will climb to more than one-third of GDP by 2040. With medical technology advancing at an ever-increasing rate, the potential for spending on procedures not worth their costs is growing. But there are few good ideas for reining in medical costs without hurting patients.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Pietro S. Nivola
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: What do we want from federalism?” asked the late Martin Diamond in a famous essay written thirty years ago. His answer was that federalism—a political system permitting a large measure of regional selfrule—presumably gives the rulers and the ruled a “school of their citizenship,” “a preserver of their liberties,” and “a vehicle for flexible response to their problems.” These features, broadly construed, are said to reduce conflict between diverse communities, even as a federated polity affords inter-jurisdictional competition that encourages innovations and constrains the overall growth of government.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Robert E. Litan, Nicholas Warren, Lael Brainard
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: With a new wave of white-collar offshoring coming fast on the heels of accelerated job losses in manufacturing, an ever-broader pool of American workers is finding that the nation's safety net has more holes than netting. The nation can and must do more to help insure the livelihoods of American workers in the face of structural shifts of whatever form, while preserving the benefits of an open and innovative economy. With technological change and offshoring accelerating job turnover and the pace at which workers' job-specific skills lose value, the time has come for the federal government to strengthen the existing safety net.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Allen Schick
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: When George W. Bush leaves office in 2009, the federal government will owe at least $15,000 more for every American than it did when he became president eight years earlier. This unprecedented build-up of public debt will result from budget deficits projected to average more than $250 billion a year during the Bush presidency, plus more than one trillion dollars borrowed from social security trust funds. Although this budget projection may be high, there is far greater risk that actual deficits will exceed current estimates than that they will be lower.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Audrey Singer, Anna Paulson
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Policymakers and academics are now catching up to financial institutions in their desire to understand how and why immigrants use U.S. financial markets. “Financial Access for Immigrants: Learning from Diverse Perspectives,” a conference co-sponsored by the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program formerly the Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, was held at the Chicago Fed on April 15-16, 2004. It included presentations from scholars and practitioners who discussed recent research on the financial practices of immigrants as well as the practical experiences of for-profit and nonprofit institutions working to provide financial services to the immigrant community.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Migration
  • Political Geography: United States, Chicago
  • Author: Pietro S. Nivola
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: A tendency among commentators, even experts like Bernard L. Cohen, the author of the sentence above, is to regard the complicated story of nuclear energy in the United States as exceptionally troubled and frustrating. The root cause of the troubles and frustrations, moreover, is commonly thought to be more political than economic. The promise of nuclear power in the United States is said to have been dimmed primarily by an eccentrically risk-averse public and an unusually hostile regulatory climate. Practically nowhere else, it is said, have political and legal institutions been so uncooperative. Supposedly the central governments of most other advanced countries have lent far more support to their nuclear industries. And because those governments are assumed to be more aggressive in combating pollution, including greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels, surely “the rest of the world” has been doing much more than America to level the playing field for the development of nuclear energy. But just how valid is this conventional picture?
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: David B. Sandalow
  • Publication Date: 08-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The United States has vital interests in the oceans. U.S. national security depends on naval mobility. U.S. prosperity depends on underwater energy resources. Ocean fisheries help feed the United States and much of the world. On February 25, 2004, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously recommended that the United States accede to the Law of the Sea Convention, which sets forth a comprehensive framework of rules for governing the oceans. The recommendation followed two hearings in which the committee heard testimony supporting the Convention from the Bush administration, the armed services, ocean industries, and environmental groups, among others. Following the favorable report from Foreign Relations, other congressional committees held hearings at which several lawmakers raised concerns about the treaty. The United States should promptly join the Law of the Sea Convention. Doing so would help protect U.S. national security, advance U.S. economic interests, and protect the marine environment. Prompt action is needed to ensure that the United States is a party by November 2004, when the Convention is open to amendment for the first time.
  • Topic: Economics, International Law
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Charles L. Schultze
  • Publication Date: 08-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Until the end of 2003, the United States had been experiencing a “jobless” recovery, with employment stagnating at levels well below those in 2000. A widespread perception has arisen that a major culprit behind the dearth of jobs was the growing practice of U.S. firms to relocate part of their domestic operations to lower-wage countries abroad. “Offshoring” presumably caused a reduction in U.S. output and a corresponding loss of jobs.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: William G. Gale, Peter R. Orszag
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: For decades, the U.S. private pension system has provided preferential tax treatment to employer-provided pensions, 401(k) plans, and individual retirement accounts relative to other forms of saving. The effectiveness of this system of subsidies is controversial. Despite the accumulation of vast amounts of wealth in pension accounts, concerns persist about the ability of the pension system to raise private and national saving, and in particular to improve saving outcomes among those households most in danger of inadequately preparing for retirement.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Harry J. Holzer
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: While their employment rates have risen considerably, most former welfare recipients continue to earn very low wages. Similarly, the earnings of less-educated U.S. workers more broadly have also stagnated or fallen in recent years. Using a new dataset from the Census Bureau, some recent research suggests that low earners' advancement prospects are closely tied to the characteristics of the employers for whom they work. Employment in certain high-wage sectors and especially at firms that pay wage premiums and offer career ladders is strongly correlated with earnings gains over time for initially low earners. Job mobility often results in higher earnings gains than does staying in the same job. "Work first" approaches—such as immediate job placement for those on welfare—produce modest gains over time, while early work at a higher-wage employer or with a temp agency generates larger gains. Policymakers should therefore encourage better job placements for low earners as well as targeted training that is integrated with these placements. Policies to support the creation of more higher-wage jobs for the unskilled should be considered as well. Private labor market intermediaries can play important roles in both processes.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Johannes F. Linn, Colin I. Jr. Bradford
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Finance ministers representing the Group of 7 (G-7) industrialized countries met in Boca Raton, Florida, in early February amid concerns about the weakening of the U.S. dollar. One factor in the dollar's decline is the U.S. trade deficit, which is partly due to the undervalued Chinese yuan. The involvement of China, which is not a G-7 member, illustrates both the glaring gap in global governance and the increasing economic and policy interdependence between industrial countries and major emerging market economies (EMEs). As one observer, referring to the Boca Raton meeting, put it, "China is the 800-pound gorilla and it isn't even part of the negotiations."
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Robert E. Litan, Roger G. Noll
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The U.S. telecommunications industry is riding a roller coaster. For most of the 1990s, the industry's future looked promising. The growth of Internet use, the promise of a broadband network, and a less restrictive regulatory environment that was expected following passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act led industry experts to forecast rapidly growing demand for core network services along with high-margin business opportunities in an expanding array of new information services. The industry backed these expectations with massive investments to expand the capacity of both wireless and wire line networks as well as to facilitate the expected boom in high-speed data transmission.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States