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Reforms to Help Meet the Growing Demand for Long-Term Care Services

December 18, 2014 Comments off

Reforms to Help Meet the Growing Demand for Long-Term Care Services
Source: Center for American Progress

Long-term care is a growing challenge in many countries, but this issue brief focuses specifically on Germany and the United States.

About 12 million elderly or disabled Americans rely on long-term care to help them with tasks ranging from eating and bathing to housekeeping and cooking.

The need for long-term care can arise at any age—about 40 percent of people who need this care are under age 65—but the doubling of the elderly population over the coming decades means a substantial increase in the number of people who will need long-term care. The first of the Baby Boom generation reached the traditional retirement age of 65 three years ago, and each day for the next 18 years, about 8,000 more Americans will reach that milestone. As dramatic as these numbers may seem, the U.S. population is aging at a slower pace than other industrialized nations: By 2050, 1 in 5 American residents will be ages 65 and older, as opposed to fewer than 1 in 7 today. Germany, on the other hand, is a particularly fast-aging society: Today, 1 in 5 German residents are already ages 65 and older, and almost 1 in 3 will be those ages by 2050. At the same time, the German workforce is shrinking, and its overall population is projected to decline by 13 percent by 2050.

And thanks to public health improvements and medical breakthroughs, millions of seniors in industrialized nations—including in the United States and Germany—are, on average, living longer and are healthier and more active during their retirement years. But the increased longevity of the senior population also means that millions more people are likely to need long-term care, especially as more seniors age into their 80s and beyond, when the rates of dementia and other cognitive and physical conditions increase. In addition, these conditions require more comprehensive, costly care. For instance, the rate of dementia is less than 1 percent for people under 65 years old, but it rapidly increases to more than 40 percent for those over 85 years old. By 2050, the annual number of new cases of Alzheimer’s is projected to more than double.

Together, these demographic changes have placed enormous pressure on the United States’ inadequate mechanisms for financing long-term supports and services. Policymakers should consider comprehensive changes that will enhance how we pay for these services, balancing public and private insurance with family and friend caregiving. Germany—with its even greater demographic challenges—has taken precisely this approach and therefore provides an illustrative example for the United States.

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Eds, Meds, and the Feds: New CAP Report Details How the Federal Government Can Leverage Economic Power of Anchor Institutions

December 10, 2014 Comments off

Eds, Meds, and the Feds: New CAP Report Details How the Federal Government Can Leverage Economic Power of Anchor Institutions
Source: Center for American Progress

A new report from the Center for American Progress details how the federal government can play a larger and more meaningful role in encouraging partnerships between cities and communities and anchor institutions to increase community revitalization and economic growth. Universities and hospitals, collectively called “Eds and Meds,” are commonly referred to as anchor institutions, as they are rooted in the communities where they are located.

CAP’s report notes that many American mayors, including Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, are already smartly leveraging partnerships with anchor institutions to advance a variety of goals, including economic development, public safety, hiring, purchasing, and improving quality of life. The federal government—which has a history of supporting these partnerships—can help further this process and has a vested interest in exploring strategies that harness the power of anchors to increase community revitalization and economic growth.

The Middle-Class Squeeze: A Picture of Stagnant Incomes, Rising Costs, and What We Can Do to Strengthen America’s Middle Class

October 21, 2014 Comments off

The Middle-Class Squeeze: A Picture of Stagnant Incomes, Rising Costs, and What We Can Do to Strengthen America’s Middle Class
Source: Center for American Progress

The American middle class is in trouble.

The middle-class share of national income has fallen, middle-class wages are stagnant, and the middle class in the United States is no longer the world’s wealthiest.

But income is only one side of the story. The cost of being in the middle class—and of maintaining a middle-class standard of living—is rising fast too. For fundamental needs such as child care and health care, costs have risen dramatically over the past few decades, taking up larger shares of family budgets. The reality is that the middle class is being squeezed. As this report will show, for a married couple with two children, the costs of key elements of middle-class security—child care, higher education, health care, housing, and retirement—rose by more than $10,000 in the 12 years from 2000 to 2012, at a time when this family’s income was stagnant.

As sharp as this squeeze can be, the pain does not stop at one family, or even at millions of families. Because of the critical role that middle-class consumers play in creating aggregate demand, the American economy is in trouble when the American middle class is in trouble. And the long-term health of the U.S. economy is at risk if financially squeezed families cannot afford—and smart public policies do not support—developing the next generation of America’s workforce. It is this workforce that will lead the United States in an increasingly open and competitive global economy.

This report provides a snapshot of the American middle class and those struggling to become a part of it. It focuses on six key pillars that can help define security for households: jobs, early childhood programs, higher education, health care, housing, and retirement. Each chapter is both descriptive and prescriptive—detailing both how the middle class is doing and what policies can help it do better.

The Skinny on Corporate Inversions

October 21, 2014 Comments off

The Skinny on Corporate Inversions
Source: Center for American Progress

Corporate financial accounting and taxation are complex subjects. For this reason, many people tune out when issues that involve corporate tax practices rise to the level of public debate. Unfortunately, many legislators shy away from these issues for similar reasons. But while corporate taxation can be mind-bogglingly complex, nontax experts can learn enough to join the debate.

As More Households Rent, How Can We Encourage Them to Save?

October 9, 2014 Comments off

As More Households Rent, How Can We Encourage Them to Save?
Source: Center for American Progress

When it comes to building wealth, renting in general tends not to be a good strategy for saving. Renter households in the United States have a median net worth—the total value of what a household owns, minus what it owes—of about $5,100. By contrast, households that own homes have a median net worth of more than $170,000. Even renters with incomes comparable to their homeowner counterparts make fewer financial investments and have significantly less wealth.

In the wake of the housing crisis and subsequent recession, more people are renting rather than owing homes. In many jurisdictions, renting is even more expensive than owning. Yet when a homeowner remits a monthly mortgage payment to their lender, a portion of that payment builds equity in the home, which belongs to the homeowner. When a renter pays monthly rent to a landlord, that money is gone for good. The absence of this “forced savings” of a mortgage payment is one of the reasons renting families have only a small fraction of the savings cushion available to most homeowners.

How Shortsighted Spending Cuts Increase Waste, Fraud, and Abuse

October 8, 2014 Comments off

How Shortsighted Spending Cuts Increase Waste, Fraud, and Abuse
Source: Center for American Progress

Critics have described some of the federal government’s austerity over the past several years as “penny-wise and pound-foolish.” Across-the-board spending cuts may have reduced short-term budget deficits, but they also slowed economic growth and job creation while undermining long-term investments in infrastructure, education, and innovation. Some cuts, however, not only damaged the economy, but also targeted sectors of the federal budget devoted to preventing wasteful spending or ensuring that the government collects revenues efficiently and fairly. In short, those spending cuts cannot even be described as penny-wise.

It may be counterintuitive to imagine a spending cut that increases deficits, but when cuts hinder competent program administration and oversight, the resulting increase in waste, fraud, and abuse is often larger than the related spending cut. Everyone agrees that waste, fraud, and abuse should be prevented in federal programs, but making that happen is easier said than done. Competent administration depends on adequate staff and resources, and rooting out cheating and corruption requires strong oversight.

This issue brief identifies four sectors of the budget where spending cuts have increased deficits: the Internal Revenue Service; inspectors general throughout the federal government; program integrity for major health care and disability programs; and funding to help Congress make better budget decisions, with a focus on the Government Accountability Office, or GAO.

State of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Series

October 7, 2014 Comments off

State of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Series
Source: Center for American Progress

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, or AAPIs, are a significant factor in the changing demographics in the United States. But the lack of centralized and accessible data has created a large knowledge gap about this fast-growing and influential group. Data about this group have often not been available or presented in a way that is accessible to policymakers, journalists, and community-based organizations.

The Center for American Progress in conjunction with AAPI Data, a project at the University of California, Riverside, have launched a series of reports on the state of the Asian American and Pacific Islanders communities, featuring the most comprehensive research and analysis of its kind for the AAPI population in the United States. The report series will provide an unprecedented look at this community and provide new insight and analysis along various issue areas including: demographics, public opinion, immigration, education, language access and use, civic and political participation, income and poverty, labor market, consumer market and entrepreneurship, civil rights, health care, and health outcomes.

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