College education for one’s kids has become a central component of the American Dream. In recent years, however, the cost, value, and federal financing of higher education have become part of a rising public debate over the future of higher education. To get a better understanding of the issues most important to the public, AAF commissioned a nationwide poll on this issue by Glen Bolger and Jim Hobart of Public Opinion Strategies.
President Obama is in Japan, in part to try to finalize the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement. His administration got off to a rocky start on trade agreements. He threatened to re-open the highly successful North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) during the 2008 presidential campaign and then slow-walked the signing of the South Korea, Colombia, and Panama agreements at the behest of his union masters.
Corporations, especially large corporations, making profits are commonly and frequently demonized, especially in these populist times. Large profits carry the implication that they were extracted from the general public and appropriated for use by those corporations, instead of for the general welfare. The latter claim does not bear up to any real scrutiny.
The U.S. housing recoveries — recoveries, not recovery, because there are hundreds of regional and metropolitan housing markets with different trajectories — continue to make slow, painstaking progress. See, for example, Andrew Winkler's excellent summary of the Florida experience. Unfortunately, the only thing moving slower is reform of the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that were at the center of the bubble and collapse.
President Obama personally announced that at the close of the first open enrollment period 8 million Americans had signed up for coverage in the Affordable Care Act (ACAs) exchanges. He also took this opportunity for a full-throated defense of the ACA, arguing "I find it strange that the Republican position on this law is still stuck in the same place that it has always been. They still can't bring themselves to admit that the Affordable Care Act is working.”
The Fed released its beige book — a summary of on-the-ground observations in each of the 12 Federal Reserve districts — yesterday. The summary was simple: "Reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts suggest economic activity increased in most regions of the country since the previous report.
Polling indicates that the economy remains the top issue on voters’ minds. This is hardly surprising. The graph below compares the actual (red) performance of the economy (measured by Gross Domestic Product, GDP) from 1947 to 2013 with an estimate of the long-run economic trend over the same period.
Will Rogers once said "The income tax has made more liars out of the American people than golf has,” which is probably why the Masters and tax day fall in the same month. But it is an important reminder that the U.S. still relies to a great degree on a system of voluntary reporting of taxes.
The growth of National Health Expenditures (NHE) has been a central policy dilemma for decades. The fact that NHE growth outpaces GDP growth underlies the continued rise in health insurance premiums, crowds out cash raises for workers, and fuels the federal red ink emanating from the social safety net — Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and now the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) subsidizes health insurance for children in families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid. Since 1997, CHIP provides federal matching funds to states to provide this coverage, which is why some refer to the program as SCHIP to recognize the states’ role.