BPC Blog

The BPC Economic Policy Program hosted a panel discussion on Thursday, January 30 with three prominent economists who shared predictions on the state of the U.S. housing market in 2014. Richard Smith, BPC Housing Commissioner and CEO of Realogy Holdings Corp., moderated the forum.

CBO’s estimate of potential inflation-adjusted growth in the economy averages only 2.2% over the next ten years

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its latest Budget and Economic Outlook earlier this week. There has been much discussion of appendices B and C of that report, which addressed the impact of the Affordable Care Act on jobs and health insurance coverage. We have no new insight to add to those discussions, and instead have focused on using CBO’s newest projections to update the BPC baseline, which incorporates the new projections and extends their implications through 2053.

Rate increases, technology improvements, innovative contracts, and private market involvement are good steps

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is in trouble. It currently insures approximately 5.5 million Americans for flood damage to their homes, businesses, and contents, but the program is approximately $24 billion in debt to the U.S. Treasury. Moreover, long-term imbalances between premiums and expected claims mean that further losses are inevitable.

The United States is one of the few nations that still requires legislative approval of its debt limit increase

Five possible reforms to the present congressional process for raising the nation’s statutory debt limit emerged from a recent panel of market and economic experts hosted by BPC.

Four questions one should apply when thinking about whether a financial innovation is or will be socially beneficial

The benefits of financial innovation depend on how such innovations are used and understood by market participants and regulators. Moreover, what seems like a good financial technology at first could later be revealed to have serious flaws. Collateralized debt obligations, for example, were first hailed as innovations that would reduce the cost of borrowing and only later recognized as potential weapons of financial destruction. As regulators and market participants continue to build the new post-crisis financial market structure, they should consider how new regulations and practices are likely to incentivize beneficial innovations and limit innovations that are potentially harmful.

With the start of a new year, governors, like the president, gave their annual state of the state addresses.  We would like to commend those governors who used their annual address as an opportunity to call for bipartisanship and interparty cooperation.  In particular, we highlight Republican Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan and Democratic Governor Steve Beshear of Kentucky, who devoted time in their addresses to reach a hand across the political aisle.

February Bipartisan Champions: Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI); Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK)

This month, BPC highlights two bipartisan duos that have taken steps to move significant legislation through Congress, which has brought renewed optimism that the tide may be slowly turning back to cooperation in Washington.

The debt limit is a law that restricts the amount that the federal government is allowed to borrow to finance its obligations. The limit has been raised dozens of times since it was instituted in 1917, including under every president since FDR. In part, the increase in debt (and thus, the debt limit) has been a result of the huge growth of the U.S. economy and substantial expansion in the role of government over the past century.

In the next ten years, revenue will grow with the economy, but spending will grow faster than the economy

The continued, slow recovery from the Great Recession, combined with growth in major federal health care programs (expected to increase from 4.8 percent of GDP in FY 2014 to 6.1 percent of GDP in FY 2024) and growth in net interest payments (expected to increase from 1.3 percent of GDP in FY 2014 to 3.3 percent of GDP in FY 2024) has resulted in a forecast showing declining deficits in the near term but a sustained, increasing path in the long term.

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