Topic: Economic Growth and Productivity


President Obama's middle class tax message in the State of the Union

By Eugene Steuerle  ::  January 22nd, 2015

Versions of this post originally appeared on Gene Steuerle’s Government We Deserve Blog and on the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center’s TaxVox blog. President Obama’s tax proposals for the middle class were a key element of his State of the Union address. But they represent only relatively modest efforts to create subsidies through the tax code rather […]

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Projecting our country’s demographic future: The truth may be stranger than fiction

By Kait Hildner  ::  January 21st, 2015

For months, my colleagues and I worked to build a population projection tool called Mapping America’s Futures. As we reviewed the results from different assumptions, we came across some implausible outcomes. Was there a problem in the coding, in the assumptions? Can the population of a commuting zone, for example, really grow to 1.5 times […]

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Thinking about our country's demographic future: Projections and policy

By Pam Blumenthal  ::  January 20th, 2015

In the last two weeks, President Obama has identified several new policies to address national challenges, such as making mortgage loans more affordable by lowering FHA premiums and increasing access to education by offering free tuition at community colleges. Immigration reform is occurring through administrative action while the potential for legislative action continues. These and […]

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Should we worry about buying some of these?

Two economists debate whether the Federal budget deficit matters

By Howard Gleckman  ::  January 15th, 2015

This post originally appeared on TaxVox, the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center’s blog. Do deficits, or at least currently projected deficits, matter? It is an age-old question that’s going to get renewed attention in a Congress where Republicans have made no secret of their desire to cut government spending. Of course, cutting spending is not the same thing […]

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"Dead Men Ruling" given prestigious economic wellbeing award

By Sarah Rosen Wartell  ::  January 5th, 2015

The defining challenge of our time is straightforward, writes Urban Institute Fellow Gene Steuerle in his 2014 book Dead Men Ruling. Today’s young people, he says, have been systematically stripped of their “fiscal freedom”: the ability choose how our country allocates its resources, both in taxation and expenditure. Leaders in the late 20th and early […]

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Raising the standards of data journalism

By Jon Schwabish  ::  December 19th, 2014

Looking back, 2014 may be known as the Year of Data-Driven Journalism. Journalists’ use of more and better data will probably, ultimately lead to better stories and a better understanding of important issues, but there are some growing pains (for example, here, here, and here). As a social science researcher, some of these growing pains, […]

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How Congress meddles with the District of Columbia: Marijuana edition

By Richard C. Auxier  ::  December 17th, 2014

Congress’ last-minute agreement to fund the federal government through September includes a provision banning the District of Columbia from regulating and taxing marijuana. District voters overwhelmingly supported legalizing marijuana in a November ballot measure, and the DC Council recently held hearings on the possibility of public sale and taxation of the drug. None of these […]

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10 ideas for improving data to support healthy communities and end poverty

By Ellen Seidman  ::  December 15th, 2014

This month, the Urban Institute and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco released What Counts: Harnessing Data for America’s Communities, a book of short, accessible essays and a website. What Counts helps answer some of the major questions raised by the prior volume in the series, Investing in What Works for America’s Communities, namely […]

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Boxed in by pension funding gaps, states must think outside the box

By Richard Johnson  ::  December 8th, 2014

States and municipalities across the country have responded to growing funding gaps in their pension plans by cutting benefits or requiring employees to contribute more. These steps may improve plan finances, but they often backfire, undermining employees’ retirement security and making it harder for governments to attract and retain qualified workers. Instead of simple cost […]

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