BPC Blog

The expectations of three organizations reflect both consistency and uncertainty regarding the future course of oil production in the region

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.

Dr. Janet Yellen testified yesterday before the House Financial Services Committee in her first public appearance on the Hill since being sworn in as Federal Reserve Chair. She spoke on a range of issues, including monetary policy and financial regulatory policy, but we will focus here on her remarks discussing the state of the U.S. economy and fiscal policy.

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.

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