BPC Blog

27 percent of households nearing retirement have neither assets in retirement accounts nor a defined benefit pension

Many Americans, including those near retirement, have not saved enough. The Employee Benefit Research Institute finds that over 40 percent of Americans are at risk of running short of money for expenses in retirement. The combination of low saving rates, insufficient emergency funds, and increased responsibility for workers has left too many Americans without adequate savings for retirement to supplement their Social Security benefits.

Yesterday, Stanley Fischer was confirmed to be next Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve Board by the U.S. Senate. We think this is a good time to revisit his speech on the regulation of the financial system, delivered in August 2009.

The Middle East may be the only place where the transitive property of alliances does not hold: the enemy of your enemy could very well still be your enemy

On June 10, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) seized control of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, as well as Tikrit, and is now steadily advancing towards Baghdad. The ascendancy of this extremist organization—which had been excommunicated from al Qaeda earlier this year—has profound implications for the security and stability of the region. It also exposes just how fractured and unsettled the Middle East is.

Turkey now faces a choice between an uncontrollable jihadi group it might have helped create and the Kurdish groups it once opposed

The ceasefire negotiated last year between Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers Party, one of the government’s major accomplishments, is now in danger of collapsing as discontent grows over the lack of progress toward a lasting peace deal. This has serious implications for Turkish politics because the Kurds are an important voting bloc in Turkey that could help determine the winner of August’s presidential elections.

Move aims to accelerate “commercially advanced” projects by suspending conditional decisions on applications

On May 29th, 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released a proposal that would change DOE’s decision-making process for liquefied natural gas (LNG) export permit applications to countries that do not have free-trade agreements with the United States. Under the proposed procedures, DOE would review LNG export projects based on the order in which applicants complete their respective environmental reviews. This represents a major change from current procedures where DOE reviews export applications based predominantly on the order in which they are received, which is typically before environmental reviews are completed.

This Tuesday and Wednesday, the House Financial Services Committee marked up several bills that would have important positive impacts on the way the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau operates. Three of those bills would implement changes that mirror recommendations made in BPC's September 2013 report, The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Measuring the Progress of a New Agency.

The switch from defined benefit to defined contribution has shifted responsibility from employer to employee

The number of companies offering any sort of defined benefit (DB) retirement plan of the sort that used to be common for employees of large unionized companies has steeply declined over the last few decades. DB plans guarantee retirees a specific cash benefit, often defined as a percentage of average salary during the final few years of employment, for the duration of their retirement. Even the prosperous companies on the Fortune 100 list in 2013 have been quickly shedding DB plans since the late 1990s.

As the United States and other world powers continue to negotiate a comprehensive agreement with Iran over its nuclear program, the latest report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) indicates that Iran is complying with the interim deal, known as the “Joint Plan of Action” (JPA), that went into effect on January 20, 2014. As reports suggest that talks have thus far failed to bridge major gaps between the P5+1 and Iran, it appears increasingly likely that the JPA will be extended another six months beyond the July 20 deadline and that the status quo described in the IAEA report will continue.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan sets state-by-state CO2 emission rate goals that must be met by 2030. These state goals are based on an EPA formula that includes efficiency improvements at coal-fired power plants; increased generation from existing natural gas combined cycle units; generation from renewable energy sources and nuclear power; and demand side energy efficiency investments. While the emission rate targets are built off of these EPA building blocks, the proposal does not prescribe what tools the states must use to meet their goals.

How have shared equity housing models created positive impacts on the supply of affordable housing?


Shared Equity Models Fill A Vital Place in the Housing Continuum
By Jeff Lubell

Shared equity models fill a vital place in the housing continuum between rental housing and traditional homeownership. Shared equity homeowners receive most of the benefits of traditional homeownership, including: security of tenure (no one can force you out so long as you pay your mortgage on time), ability to modify the home to fit your needs, increased affordability over time (due to fixed mortgage costs) and the ability to build wealth through the forced savings and high leverage of a 30-year fixed rate mortgage.


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