BPC Blog

Sep. 23, 2014

Policymakers seem to be gradually wakening to the fact that the sequester process that trimmed discretionary defense and non-defense accounts in the federal budget has begun to hurt. The impacts of sequestration are not only damaging to our national security, but also short-change investments in the future that affect projected economic growth.

The proposed regulations by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants. There are several compliance pathways, or policy designs, that states may consider in developing implementation plans. If you are looking to learn about them or explain them to someone else, review BPC Energy’s latest graphics on three of these approaches.

Rate-Based Trading System

The crisis continues to affect the attitudes of the American public toward housing

Long-term interest rates may be a near record lows, and international markets have done U.S. markets a favor by conspiring to keep U.S. rates even lower as their central banks are behind the Fed in moves, but despite very favorable rate conditions, many American families are still feeling the squeeze when it comes to housing affordability.

Retirement in America: What’s Working and What’s Not?

For Americans who have access to workplace retirement plans and contribute early and often, the current defined contribution system enables significant accumulation of savings for retirement. But as we have discussed, many employers don’t sponsor plans, and ones that do but lack automatic features too often result in workers failing to participate.

Funding the fight against ISIS brings up big questions about the defense budget

Last week, President Obama announced that the U.S. would begin a campaign to fight ISIS (or ISIL), the Sunni militant group in Syria and Iraq. That operation will involve two parts – a campaign of airstrikes to weaken ISIS and an effort to train Iraqi troops. Budget analysts immediately started wondering how those missions are going to be funded and whether it would add pressure to the already-strained budget at the Department of Defense.

Turkey’s domestic political future will remain uncertain until after the next parliamentary elections

On August 28, 2014, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was elected Turkey’s 12th president, with 52 percent of the vote. His elevation to the highest public office represents a clear break with previous holders of the position: he is the first president to be directly elected by popular vote. Erdoğan’s ascendancy to the presidency is a game changer in another way as well. Previously, Turkey’s presidency was perceived to be the epitome of political retirement; a reward for individuals, at times intended to bench political heavyweights from active politics. Not anymore.

One change would provide the Federal Reserve more flexibility to tailor capital requirements for insurance companies deemed systemically important

The U.S. House of Representatives is poised to vote as early as today on two significant tweaks to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank). The two measures, part of a package of changes incorporated into the Insurance Capital Standards Clarification Act of 2014, are small but important improvements and would represent the most significant effort so far to update the landmark financial reform bill. 

While it appears the American dream of homeownership is still on the minds of this younger generation, many among them possess considerable doubts

It is considered by experts to be one of the biggest challenges facing the housing market today. The so-called “Millennials” – the generation following the once-considered-rudderless Generation X – has yet to move into the housing market en masse.

Dowell Myers, demographer with the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy, joined BPC’s 2014 Housing Summit to discuss how demographic trends will shape the US housing market and whether federal policy will anticipate the significant shifts taking place.

The FHA’s role has evolved over time, moving from 8% of the market to over 30% in the financial crisis

Little known prior to the 2008 financial crisis, the Federal Housing Administration is one mortgage market player that made it through the ordeal with its reputation intact and remains a central figure in the discussion over the future course of federal housing finance policy.

Regardless of the outcome of the midterm elections, immigration is not an issue that will be going away soon

An article in POLITICO yesterday about its recent battleground polling is headlined “Poll: GOP has edge on immigration in midterms.” However, there is much more to the story than the headline. The poll showed deep ambivalence toward all parties on the issue of immigration.


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