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The High Burden of State and Federal Capital Gains Tax Rates in the United States

May 22, 2015 Comments off

The High Burden of State and Federal Capital Gains Tax Rates in the United States
Source: Tax Foundation

Key Findings

  • The average combined federal, state, and local top marginal tax rate on long-term capital gains in the United States is 28.6 percent – 6th highest in the OECD.
  • This is more than 10 percentage points higher than the simple average across industrialized nations of 18.4 percent, and 5 percentage points higher than the weighted average.
  • Nine industrialized countries exempt long-term capital gains from taxation.
  • California has the 3rd highest top marginal capital gains tax rate in the industrialized world at 33 percent.
  • The taxation of capital gains places a double-tax on corporate income, increases the cost of capital, and reduces investment in the economy.
  • The President’s FY 2016 budget would increase capital gains tax rates in the United States from 28.6 percent to 32.8, the 5th highest rate in the OECD.

Workforce Development in the United States: Lessons Learned for Older Workers

May 22, 2015 Comments off

Workforce Development in the United States: Lessons Learned for Older Workers
Source: AARP Public Policy Institute

This report by workforce experts Stephen A. Wandner, David E. Balducchi, and Christopher J. O’Leary undertakes a selective review of public workforce development programs in the United States over the last eighty years with a special emphasis on their importance to older Americans.

Particular attention is paid to services benefitting dislocated workers—that is, experienced adults permanently separated from their prior employers. The Employment Service and the Workforce Investment Act Dislocated Worker programs serve the greatest number of older workers.

The Senior Community Service Employment Program and the very small Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance program (now called Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance) are the only programs targeted specifically to older workers.

The policy options presented in the paper go beyond changes to the public workforce system embodied in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014.

A Look at the End-of-Life Financial Situation in America

May 21, 2015 Comments off

A Look at the End-of-Life Financial Situation in America
Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute

  • This report takes a comprehensive look at the financial situation of older Americans at the end of their lives. In particular, it documents the percentage of households with a member who recently died with few or no assets. It also documents the income, debt, home-ownership rates, net home equity, and dependency on Social Security for households that experienced a recent death.
  • Significant findings include that among all those who died at ages 85 or above, 20.6 percent had no non-housing assets and 12.2 percent had no assets left. Among singles who died at or above age 85, 24.6 percent had no non-housing assets left and 16.7 percent had no assets left.
  • Data show those who died at earlier ages were generally worse off financially: 29.8 percent of households that lost a member between ages 50 and 64 had no assets left. Households with at least one member who died earlier also had significantly lower income than households with all surviving members.
  • The report shows that among singles who died at ages 85 or above, 9.1 percent had outstanding debt (other than mortgage debt) and the average debt amount for them was $6,368.
  • The report also shows that the importance of Social Security to older households cannot be overstated. For recently deceased singles, it provided at least two-thirds of their household income. Couple households above 75 with deceased members received more than 60 percent of their household income from Social Security.

Trends in Social Security Claiming

May 21, 2015 Comments off

Trends in Social Security Claiming
Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

The brief’s key findings are:

  • Over the past 25 years, the average retirement age for U.S. workers has been rising, a trend that should align with when people first claim Social Security.
  • But the percentage of all initial claimants who are age 62 shows little change until recently.
  • A better metric to capture claiming behavior over time – when the population is aging – is the percentage of workers turning age 62 who claim at 62.
  • This measure, based on unpublished Social Security data, shows a steep decline in claiming at 62 since the mid-1990s: from 56 percent to 36 percent for men.
  • In short, while more than a third of workers still claim right away, a growing number are waiting until their mid-60s or later.

Current Unmanned Aircraft State Law Landscape

May 21, 2015 Comments off

Current Unmanned Aircraft State Law Landscape
Source: National Conference of State Legislatures

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), commonly called unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones, have a host of applications including law enforcement, land surveillance, wildlife tracking, search and rescue operations, disaster response, border patrol and photography.

State legislatures across the country are debating if and how UAS technology should be regulated, taking into account the benefits of their use, privacy concerns and their potential economic impact. So far, 22 states have enacted laws addressing UAS issues. Common issues addressed in the legislation include defining what a UAS, UAV or drone is, how they can be used by law enforcement or other state agencies, how they can be used by the general public and regulations for their use in hunting game.

Family Support in Graying Societies

May 21, 2015 Comments off

Family Support in Graying Societies
Source: Pew Research Center

The United States is turning gray, with the number of people ages 65 and older expected to nearly double by 2050. This major demographic transition has implications for the economy, government programs such as Social Security and families across the U.S. Among adults with at least one parent 65 or older, nearly three-in-ten already say that in the preceding 12 months they have helped their parents financially. Twice that share report assisting a parent with personal care or day-to-day tasks. Based on demographic change alone, the burden on families seems likely to grow in the coming decades.

Germany and Italy, two of the “oldest” nations in the world, after only Japan, are already where the U.S. will be in 2050: a fifth of the population in each country is age 65 or older. Compared with the U.S. today, a higher share of adults in Germany and Italy report helping their aging parents with basic tasks, and more in Italy have also provided personal care. However, in both countries, fewer adults than in the U.S. say they have provided financial assistance to their aging parents.

EU — Cybersecurity: Jihadism and the internet

May 21, 2015 Comments off

Cybersecurity: Jihadism and the internet
Source: European Parliament Think Tank

Since the beginning of the conflict in Syria in March 2011, the numbers of European citizens supporting or joining the ranks of ISIL/Da’esh have been growing steadily, and may now be as high as 4 000 individuals. At the same time, the possible avenues for radicalisation are multiplying and the risks of domestic terrorism increasing. The proliferation of global jihadi messaging online and their reliance on social networks suggest that the internet is increasingly a tool for promoting jihadist ideology, collecting funds and mobilising their ranks.

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