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New From the GAO

August 29, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Report
Source: Government Accountability Office

Export-Import Bank: Monitoring of Dual-Use Exports Should Be Improved. GAO-14-719, August 28.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-719
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665477.pdf

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The Federal Debt: All You Need to Know in Three Minutes

August 29, 2014 Comments off

The Federal Debt: All You Need to Know in Three Minutes
Source: Brookings Institution

One of the missions of the new Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at the Brookings Institution is to improve public—and congressional—understanding of major budget issues confronting the U.S. To that end, we’ve boiled the facts about the outlook for the federal debt down to a three -minute animated video in which I trace the recent ups and downs (yes, downs) of the projections for federal borrowing over the next decade.

It’s tough for people to understand that the debt is a problem—but not now. Yes, we ran up a big debt to fight the recession, but the U.S. economy is not yet fully recovered and the U.S. Treasury is able to borrow hundreds of billions of dollars every month at very low interest rates. The problem lies in the future after the economy and the job market and interest rates return to normal: The trajectory of government borrowing after the economy simply isn’t sustainable. We’re looking for ways to help people understand both the short-term and the long-term picture.

Labor Force Characteristics by Race and Ethnicity, 2013

August 29, 2014 Comments off

Labor Force Characteristics by Race and Ethnicity, 2013 (PDF)
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

In 2013, the overall unemployment rate for the United States was 7.4 percent; however, the rate varied across race and ethnicity groups. The rates were highest for Blacks (13.1 percent) and for American Indians and Alaska Natives (12.8 percent) and lowest for Asians (5.2 percent) and for Whites (6.5 percent). The jobless rate was 9.1 percent for Hispanics, 10.2 percent for Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders, and 11.0 percent for people of Two or More Races.

Labor market differences among the race and ethnicity groups are associated with many factors, not all of which are measurable. These factors include variations across the groups in educational attainment; the occupations and industries in which the groups work; the geographic areas of the country in which the groups are concentrated, including whether they tend to reside in urban or rural settings; and the degree of discrimination encountered in the workplace.

What is the Result of States Not Expanding Medicaid?

August 29, 2014 Comments off

What is the Result of States Not Expanding Medicaid?
Source: Urban Institute

In states not expanding Medicaid, 6.7 million residents will remain uninsured in 2016 as a result. These states are foregoing $423.6 billion in federal Medicaid funds from 2013 to 2022, lessening economic activity and job growth. Their hospitals are also losing $167.8 billion in Medicaid revenue. Every comprehensive state-level fiscal analysis that we could find concluded that expansion helps state budgets, generating savings and revenues that exceed increased Medicaid costs. Future federal cuts to ACA’s high federal match rate are unlikely. Of more than 100 federal Medicaid cuts since 1980, just one lowered the federal share of Medicaid spending.

The City Brand: Champion of Immigrant Integration or Empty Marketing Tool?

August 29, 2014 Comments off

The City Brand: Champion of Immigrant Integration or Empty Marketing Tool?
Source: Migration Policy Institute

In recent years, cities on both sides of the Atlantic have invested in branding strategies and campaigns to attract tourism, investment, and new residents. This trend is closely tied to the increasing global demand for human capital and changes in travel and technology, which are challenging cities seeking growth to set themselves apart from similar localities in the region and around the world. City branding strategies, often embedded in a broader public discourse, must reflect the heterogeneity of residents while conveying the shared values, culture, and identity of the population. For some cities, diversity and openness themselves are main selling points. Other cities’ branding strategies benefit from key economic conditions like a thriving industrial sector or links to centers of research and innovation.

This report explores the relationship between marketing and communications campaigns, immigration, and processes of immigrant integration. One question it seeks to answer: how can cities balance the twin goals of attracting skilled residents to fuel new growth while creating a “diversity-proof” identity, especially in a context of social inequality and high turnover? Within two categories of city discourse, one meant to attract new talent and the other meant to develop a local identity, municipal governments have various tactics to choose from to build a cohesive branding strategy directed at immigrant populations.

Still, creating a truly representative brand is a difficult task for many cities. One challenge is how to link internal- and external-focused marketing campaigns, which target very different cohorts. Brands must encompass all residents, both immigrant and native born, and must reflect a diverse range of ethnic and cultural identities, socioeconomic backgrounds, and reasons for living in the city.

Spillover from the Conflict in Syria: An Assessment of the Factors that Aid and Impede the Spread of Violence

August 29, 2014 Comments off

Spillover from the Conflict in Syria: An Assessment of the Factors that Aid and Impede the Spread of Violence
Source: RAND Corporation

All roads lead to Damascus and then back out again, but in different directions. The financial and military aid flowing into Syria from patrons and neighbors is intended to determine the outcome of the conflict between a loose confederation of rebel factions and the regime in Damascus. Instead, this outside support has the potential to perpetuate the existing civil war and to ignite larger regional hostilities between Sunni and Shia areas that could reshape the political geography of the Middle East. This report examines the main factors that are likely to contribute to or impede the spread of violence from civil war and insurgency in Syria, and then examines how they apply to Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan.

Self-employed workers in the UK – 2014

August 29, 2014 Comments off

Self-employed workers in the UK – 2014
Source: Office for National Statistics

Key Points

  • Self-employment higher than at any point over past 40 years
  • Rise in total employment since 2008 predominantly among the self-employed
  • Rise predominately down to fewer people leaving self-employment than in the past
  • The number of over 65s who are self-employed has more than doubled in the past 5 years to reach nearly half a million
  • Self-employed workers tend to be older than employees and are more likely to work higher (over 45) or lower (8 or less) hours
  • The number of women in self-employment is increasing at a faster rate than the number of men (although men still dominate self employment)
  • The most common roles are working in construction and taxi driving and in recent years there have been increases in management consultants
  • Average income from self-employment fallen by 22% since 2008/09
  • Across the European Union the UK has had the third largest percentage rise in self-employment since 2009
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