BPC Blog

With every passing year, policy remedies to fiscal folly will exact a more acute and more widespread pain

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released the spring update of its baseline budget projections today. The news is mixed, but it tells more or less the same story as the past five CBO updates—things may be better in the short run, but real fiscal distress looms in the not-too-distant future.

The number of Americans needing long-term services and supports is expected to more than double from 2010 to 2050

An estimated 12 million Americans are currently in need of long-term services and supports (LTSS)—defined as institutional or home-based assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, or medication management—including both seniors and persons under age 65 living with physical or cognitive limitations. In the next two decades, the U.S. health care system will face a tidal wave of aging baby boomers. This, among many other factors, will create an unsustainable demand for LTSS in the coming years.

Long-term care

Evidence of a growing retirement problem in the United States continues to surface. As the graph below illustrates, private savings has fallen significantly in the last 55 years. And the United States isn’t the only nation facing retirement challenges. Last month, the United Kingdom released its budget recommendations and included savings and pension reforms that might prove useful to America as we craft our own reforms in coming years.

Personal savings rate

Envisioning a truce on an aspect of health care whose solution could both chip away at inefficiency and improve the quality of care

As if anyone needs a reminder how far we are from reaching bipartisan accord on health care delivery system reform and cost containment, a quick comparison of the Medicare proposals in President Obama’s budget and the recently released Ryan budget is a quick refresher course in the great partisan divide.

The hope that Turkey would serve as a model for Middle Eastern countries struggling to adopt democracy has all but been forgotten

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) scored a better-than-expected result and substantial victory in the March 30 local elections. But the outcome of this contest, which selected municipal leaders, neither reveals the broad popular support that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan claims to enjoy nor resolves the political tensions that have seized Turkey since last summer’s Gezi protests. 

Yesterday, the Bipartisan Policy Center's Energy Project and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) held the third workshop in a series on greenhouse gas regulation of existing power plants under the Clean Air Act.

Chairman Paul Ryan keeps previous priorities intact

The FY 2015 House budget is largely a restatement of the priorities that Chairman Ryan laid out in his budgets from the past several years – including prioritizing defense spending, repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), phasing in premium support for Medicare, block granting and reducing funding for means-tested programs, and enacting revenue-neutral tax reform.

Demand for H-1B visas has exceeded the annual cap every year since 2004

For the second year in row, employers are expected to file enough H-1B visa petitions to reach the annual limit within days after the filing window opens.

As domestic production of light crude oil increases, imports compensate to maintain balance

One key characteristic of crude oil is its density, which ranges from light to heavy. The density of crude oil–that is, how light or heavy it is compared to water–is often measured by calculating its API gravity, where higher numbers signify lighter crudes and “sweet” or “sour” designations denote the sulfur content of the crude. Lighter, sweeter crudes are generally more valuable from an economic perspective because they are less energy-intensive to refine into finished products.

Congress should keep the most important and ditch the rest

On New Years Eve, while fireworks were going off to celebrate the arrival of 2014, a number of different tax breaks and incentives expired. These tax provisions are collectively known as the “tax extenders,” a set of breaks for activities that range from deductions for higher-education tuition to special treatment for film and TV productions to the research and experimentation tax credit. The extension of many of these tax extenders has become an annual tradition and a cause for legislative fireworks.


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