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Labor Market Slack in the United Kingdom

October 21, 2014 Comments off

Labor Market Slack in the United Kingdom (PDF)
Source: Peterson Institute for International Economics

This paper examines the amount of slack in the UK labor market and finds the downward adjustments made by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to both unemployment and underemployment invalid. Without evidence to support its assessment of the output gap, the MPC reduces the level of unemployment based on its claim that long-term unemployment does not affect wages. The authors produce evidence to the contrary and present arguments on why the MPC’s halving of the level of underemployment in the United Kingdom is inappropriate. Bell and Blanchflower set out arguments on why they believe the level of slack is greater than the MPC calibrates. Consistent with that is the fact that real wages in the United Kingdom continue to fall.

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Payback Time? What the Internationalization of Climate Litigation Could Mean for Canadian Oil and Gas Companies

October 20, 2014 Comments off

Payback Time? What the Internationalization of Climate Litigation Could Mean for Canadian Oil and Gas Companies
Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

This report explores scenarios in which the legal landscape concerning climate damages litigation could suddenly and dramatically change—and finds that Canadian oil and gas companies could be liable for billions of dollars of damages for their contribution to climate change. This study is part of CCPA’s Climate Justice Project and is co-published with West Coast Environmental Law.

Deportation and Discretion: Reviewing the Record and Options for Change

October 17, 2014 Comments off

Deportation and Discretion: Reviewing the Record and Options for Change
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Since Congress revamped the immigration enforcement system in 1996, the United States has formally deported (“removed”) more than 4.6 million noncitizens, with about 3.7 million of these occurring since the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2003. While the administrations of both George W. Bush and Barack Obama have actively increased formal removals and the criminal prosecution of immigration violations, the Obama administration in particular has undertaken a series of measures to focus enforcement efforts on certain high-priority cases.

The result has been an increase of removals within the interior of noncitizens convicted of crimes, with criminal removals accounting for 80 percent of interior removals during FY 2011-13. Another result of this focus has been a steep rise in border removals, which represented 70 percent of all removals in FY 2013.

This report provides analysis of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) database of all formal removals for fiscal 2003-2013 in which the agency played a role, as well as those carried out solely by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The report offers a profile of deportees and examines how removal trends changed during and between the Bush and Obama administrations as well as how closely the deportations adhere to current DHS enforcement priorities. It also outlines some of the scenarios for executive action said to be under consideration by the Obama administration, examining how potential changes to enforcement policy could affect the number of deportations.

Implementing The ACA: Medicaid Spending & Enrollment Growth For FY 2014 And FY 2015

October 16, 2014 Comments off

Implementing The ACA: Medicaid Spending & Enrollment Growth For FY 2014 And FY 2015 (PDF)
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation

Medicaid spending and enrollment growth are affected by both the economy and policy decisions determining who is covered under the program, the services provided and payments for care. For more than a decade, economic conditions, including two major recessions, were the primary driver of changes in Medicaid spending and enrollment. In FY 2014 and in budgets adopted for FY 2015, enrollment and spending have grown with implementation of the major coverage provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including the federally financed Medicaid expansion. This report provides an overview of Medicaid spending and enrollment growth with a focus on state fiscal years 2014 and 2015 (FY 2014 and FY 2015) and an overview of Medicaid financing. Findings are based on interviews and data provided by state Medicaid directors as part of the 14th annual survey of Medicaid directors in all 50 states and the District of Columbia conducted by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured (KCMU) with Health Management Associates (HMA). Findings examine changes in overall enrollment and spending growth and compare expansion and non-expansion states.

Getting to the Route of It: The Role of Governance in Regional Transit

October 16, 2014 Comments off

Getting to the Route of It: The Role of Governance in Regional Transit
Source: Eno Center for Transportation

Metropolitan regions are the economic engines of our nation and public transit is the machinery that enables the largest metropolitan areas to function, compete effectively for employers and labor, and foster innovation. The ability of transit organizations to respond to changing and expanding demands varies across the industry and is shaped to a large extent by individual governance and organizational structures. Each type of governance structure has its own implications for funding, equitable and effective service patterns, and economic growth.

What’s In and What’s Out? Medicare Advantage Market Entries and Exits for 2015

October 15, 2014 Comments off

What’s In and What’s Out? Medicare Advantage Market Entries and Exits for 2015 (PDF)
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation

During the debate over the Affordable Care Act (ACA), some questioned whether the Medicare Advantage market would shrink in response to the reductions in payments to Medicare Advantage plans included in the ACA,1 expressing concern that plans would exit markets across the country, leading to a drop in enrollment, similar to what occurred after the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (BBA97).2 Since 2010, enrollment has far exceeded expectations, increasing by nearly 5 million beneficiaries, continuing a steady upward climb that started a decade ago.3 Between 2010 and 2014, the total number of plans has declined modestly, but beneficiaries in 2014 still had the option to choose among 18 Medicare Advantage plans, on average.

Medicare Advantage plans enter and exit markets for a number of reasons related to business strategies, local market conditions, and profitability. When Medicare Advantage plans make a decision to exit markets, beneficiaries have the option to switch to another Medicare Advantage plan offered in their area or get coverage under traditional Medicare. If they choose traditional Medicare following termination of their plan, they have a special open enrollment period for Medigap policies. In this sense, traditional Medicare serves as a back-up for beneficiaries affected by Medicare Advantage plans terminations.

This Data Note examines the availability of plans nationwide and by state in 2015, and changes in plan availability since 2011. It documents the number and share of Medicare Advantage enrollees affected by plan withdrawals each year, the characteristics of plans that will be entering the market and characteristics of those exiting the market in 2015, and also assesses the potential implications of these changes for Medicare Advantage enrollees. While the availability of Medicare Advantage plans varies within states by county, this Data Note compares plan participation at the state-level to provide a snapshot of changes in the Medicare Advantage market in 2015. Plans that consolidate (withdraw from the certain counties, but remain in others) are counted among the exiting plans for areas where they will no longer offer plans in 2015. The analysis excludes group Medicare Advantage plans, Special Needs Plans (SNPs) and other plans not available for general enrollment.

See also: Medicare Part D: A First Look At Plan Offerings In 2015 (PDF)

Environment Prosecutions Decline Under Obama

October 15, 2014 Comments off

Environment Prosecutions Decline Under Obama
Source: Transactional Records Access Clearing House

The number of federal prosecutions for environment-related offenses continues to fall. The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during the first nine months of FY 2014, the government reported 271 new prosecutions in this category. If such prosecutions continue at the current rate, there will be a total of 361 environment prosecutions for the full year. This would represent a decrease of 19.6 percent from the 449 reported in FY 2013, which was already a marked drop from the 612 defendants prosecuted in FY 2012.

The result of this two-year decline would be a projected total for FY 2014 that falls well under half of the 927 environment crime prosecutions in FY 2007, a peak that occurred near the end President George W. Bush’s second term.

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