BPC Blog

Although America has an interest in preserving a unified Iraqi state, it is unclear if Nouri al-Maliki will be able to withstand the pressure from ISIS

On June 17, BPC hosted a conversation on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) and the regional implications of Iraqi and Syrian instability.

The nomination of İhsanoğlu has ensured that Turkey’s presidential election will not be waged along the ideological fault lines that divide the country

On June 16, Turkey’s two main opposition parties, the social democratic Republican People’s Party and the rightist Nationalist Action Party, decided to nominate Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, the former Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, as a joint candidate in the presidential elections scheduled for August 10. 

The finger-pointing in the VA scandal has been bipartisan. Thankfully, the same is holding true in the initial search for solutions.

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.


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