BPC Blog

Outside spending in 2014 already second highest ever

The dramatic growth in elections spending over the last few years is obvious to anyone who has turned on a TV only to be met with a deluge of campaign ads. Political spending has doubled in the last decade, and more and new groups are getting in on the action.

Turkey, despite its status and NATO ally and its geostrategic location, has proven a reluctant partner in the fight against the Islamic State

On September 22, for the first time in the three-and-a-half–year long Syrian civil war, the United States carried out airstrikes in Syria, as part of a campaign against the terrorist group that now refers to itself as the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS or ISIL). “I made clear,” President Barack Obama told the nation, “the United States would take action against targets in both Iraq and Syria so that these terrorists can’t find safe haven anywhere.”

The hearing comes just months after BPC officially launched its Commission on Retirement Security and Personal Savings

The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on September 17 entitled “Retirement Savings 2.0: Updating Savings Policy for the Modern Economy,” focusing on how public policy could help increase the number of Americans who are financially prepared for retirement. 

Budgetary cuts without strategic goals in mind will make the U.S. military vulnerable in the event of future crises

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. 

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