BPC Blog

Apr. 18, 2014
No more spats over MATS? The EPA regulation is one step closer and one year closer to reality
In an April ruling, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed all challenges to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) for Power Plants. This regulation is set to require pollution controls or fuel switching for some of the existing fleet of coal-fired and oil-fired generators by 2015 or 2016 to control a selection of hazardous air pollutants that currently flow out of their exhaust stacks. In addition, a number of announced coal plant retirements cite MATS as a factor.
Last September, BPC published the first in a series of annual reports, Jihadist Terrorism: A Threat Assessment

As we commemorate one year since the Boston Marathon bombings, and 19 years since the bombing of the Murray building in Oklahoma City, we note that the risk of homegrown radicalization continues to threaten our nation.

Modernizing Our Regulatory Structure
By Richard H. Neiman and Mark Olson, Co-Chairs of the Financial Regulatory Reform Initiative’s Regulatory Architecture Task Force, Bipartisan Policy Center

“Streamlining America’s financial regulatory architecture was a major missed opportunity in the Dodd-Frank Act. Our existing structure is a patchwork of reactions to past financial crises that date back more than 150 years. Modernizing this patchwork system would improve regulation, enhance financial stability and increase economic growth. Today, we propose a road map for how to achieve these goals.” Read the op-ed here and BPC’s report Dodd-Frank’s Missed Opportunity: A Road Map for a More Effective Regulatory Architecture here.

Dodd-Frank’s SIFI threshold sweeps in too many small banks that don't pose a systemic threat, diluting attention from the big banks that do

Last Thursday, the Financial Regulatory Reform Initiative’s Regulatory Architecture Task Force released a report entitled Dodd-Frank’s Missed Opportunity: A Road Map for a More Effective Regulatory Architecture. The report highlights a series of practical ways in which the U.S. regulatory structure could be streamlined and made more effective. One important way to do this is by refocusing prudential oversight more clearly on those institutions that pose the greatest systemic threat to the financial system.

Suboptimal design has led to destructive turf battles, myopic oversight, and unnecessary burden on regulators and the regulated

Complex systems are rarely designed from scratch. Governmental oversight structures often evolve through a series of reactions to crises, profit opportunities, and new technologies, not to mention scandals and other high-profile news events.

With every passing year, policy remedies to fiscal folly will exact a more acute and more widespread pain

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released the spring update of its baseline budget projections today. The news is mixed, but it tells more or less the same story as the past five CBO updates—things may be better in the short run, but real fiscal distress looms in the not-too-distant future.

U.S. public debt

The number of Americans needing long-term services and supports is expected to more than double from 2010 to 2050

An estimated 12 million Americans are currently in need of long-term services and supports (LTSS)—defined as institutional or home-based assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, or medication management—including both seniors and persons under age 65 living with physical or cognitive limitations. In the next two decades, the U.S. health care system will face a tidal wave of aging baby boomers. This, among many other factors, will create an unsustainable demand for LTSS in the coming years.

Long-term care

Evidence of a growing retirement problem in the United States continues to surface. As the graph below illustrates, private savings has fallen significantly in the last 55 years. And the United States isn’t the only nation facing retirement challenges. Last month, the United Kingdom released its budget recommendations and included savings and pension reforms that might prove useful to America as we craft our own reforms in coming years.

Personal savings rate

Envisioning a truce on an aspect of health care whose solution could both chip away at inefficiency and improve the quality of care

As if anyone needs a reminder how far we are from reaching bipartisan accord on health care delivery system reform and cost containment, a quick comparison of the Medicare proposals in President Obama’s budget and the recently released Ryan budget is a quick refresher course in the great partisan divide.

The hope that Turkey would serve as a model for Middle Eastern countries struggling to adopt democracy has all but been forgotten

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) scored a better-than-expected result and substantial victory in the March 30 local elections. But the outcome of this contest, which selected municipal leaders, neither reveals the broad popular support that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan claims to enjoy nor resolves the political tensions that have seized Turkey since last summer’s Gezi protests. 

Yesterday, the Bipartisan Policy Center's Energy Project and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) held the third workshop in a series on greenhouse gas regulation of existing power plants under the Clean Air Act.


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