The tax reform plan released by the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Representative Dave Camp (R-MI), included a new excise tax on some systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs). Under the Camp plan, bank and non-bank companies designated as SIFIs under the Dodd-Frank Act would be subject to a quarterly excise tax equivalent to 0.035 percent of their total consolidated assets in excess of $500 billion. The excise tax, which would take effect in January 2015, would produce estimated revenues of $86.4 billion over a ten year period.
The National Flood Insurance Program, which insures approximately 5.5 million residential and business structures and their contents against flood damage, is in serious financial trouble. It is approximately $24 billion in debt to the U.S. Treasury and the program’s ongoing large, unfunded subsidies to policyholders mean that losses are likely to continue in the future.
Cyber attacks represent a major threat to the electric power sector. The FBI has noted that cyber attacks are eclipsing terrorism as the primary threat facing the United States. While the power sector has yet to face a cyber attack that has disrupted operations, attempted violations of energy system networks are frequent.
Today marks the first anniversary of the release of the Commission’s report, Housing America’s Future: New Directions for National Policy. As readers of this blog know, our report highlights what we consider the most urgent housing challenges facing our country.
The picture that emerges is one of an Iran willing to follow the letter of some of its agreements, but only when the cost to its nuclear progress is not prohibitive. Iran continually refuses to explain its research into building nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, and has found ways to advance its nuclear program, even under the terms of the interim deal.
Last week, Pew Research Center released research mapping conversations on Twitter. Using keyword searches and tweet interactions, such as replies and mentions, they found six types of networks that form interconnected communities around topics. One network in particular is identified as the “polarized crowd.” This community cluster consists of two large, disconnected groups of users with very few, if any, users that are involved in both conversations.
Buried in the nearly 950-page Agriculture Act of 2014 – more commonly known as the farm bill – is a provision that is of great importance to the thousands of families who rely on the rural housing programs of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
For much of the four decades between 1970 and 2010, U.S. crude oil production was steadily declining, after reaching a historical high of 9.6 million barrels per day (MBD) in 1970. Over the past several years, however, the tight oil boom in the United States, along with the development of Canada’s oil sands, has reversed that trend – increasing the production outlook not only for the United States, but for North America generally.
Why Was the Housing Bubble So Much More Damaging than the Dot.Com Bubble?
By Jared Bernstein, Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
" Exploding debt bubbles just take a lot more time to mop up than equity bubbles. ... But the point is that bubbles are deeply damaging. Some less so than others maybe, but even there, a longer term perspective of the lasting damage is sobering. No one’s saying we shouldn’t have a business cycle. They’re endemic. But there’s no reason why it has to be a shampoo cycle: bubble, bust, repeat.”
On Tuesday, February 11, the House of Representatives passed a suspension of the debt limit through March 15, 2015, as an amendment to an unrelated Senate-passed bill (S. 540) to expedite Senate consideration. If S. 540 becomes law, upon reinstatement next year, BPC estimates that the new debt limit will be roughly $1 trillion higher.