Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dodd-Frank Act a Failure?

On July 21, 2014 the House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Patrick McHenry (R-NC) released a committee staff report that concludes "the Dodd-Frank Act did not end 'too big to fail' as the law’s supporters claim, but actually had the opposite effect of further entrenching 'too big to fail' as official government policy. The report also examines the causes of the 2008 financial crisis and the bailouts to large financial institutions. Both a description of the report and a link to it are available from The Committee on Financial Services press release page.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Financial Literacy of Teenagers

OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) released the results of its 2012 PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) financial literacy assessment of 15 year old students from 18 countries including the United States. Results from the US include:
  • Students in the US ranked somewhere between 8 and 12 among the 18 countries represented.
  • More than one in six US students did not reach the baseline level of proficiency in financial literacy.
  • About one in ten students in the US is a top performer able to "take into account features of financial documents that are significant but unstated or not immediately evident, such as transaction costs, and can describe the potential outcomes of financial decisions."
  • In the US about 70% of advantaged students have a bank account compared to 32% of socio-economically disadvantaged students.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

FCC Proposed Rule on the Open Internet

On May 15, 2014 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a proposed rule about protecting and promoting the Open Internet with a comment date of July 15, 2014 and and reply to the comments date of September 10, 2014. The document includes both supporting and dissenting opinions. The third point made in the introduction states the purpose of the notice:
3. Today, there are no legally enforceable rules by which the Commission can stop broadband providers from limiting Internet openness. This Notice begins the process of closing that gap, by proposing to reinstitute the no-blocking rule adopted in 2010 and creating a new rule that would bar commercially unreasonable actions from threatening Internet openness (as well as enhancing the transparency rule that is currently in effect).
What are some of the reactions to the notice? Andrea Peterson of The Washington Post interviewed Lynn Bradley, the director of government relations at the American Library Association's Washington office, about how net neutrality affects all types of libraries and ALA's hope to preserve an open Internet policy.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

9/11 Memorial Museum Dedication, May 15, 2014

The National September 11 (9/11) Memorial Museum dedication ceremony is taking place at 9 a.m.(EST) on May 15, 2014. Following the dedication ceremony, the museum will be open around the clock for six days for 9/11 family members and rescue and recovery workers. The museum will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily starting May 21. The ticket price for the museum is $24. Children age 5 and younger will get in free as will rescue and recovery workers and relatives of 9/11 victims. The museum will not charge admission on Tuesdays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Entrance to the World Trade Center memorial plaza with its two huge fountains sitting on the original footprints of the twin towers will continue to be free. The plaza opened on the tenth anniversary of 9/11.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

DoD Releases Report on North Korea's Military and Security Developments

On March 5, 2014 the Department of Defense released a congressionally mandated unclassified report entitled Military and Security Developments Involving the Democratic People's Republic of Korea 2013. The report is posted at http://www.defense.gov/pubs/North_Korea_Military_Power_Report_2013-2014.pdf.

Congress asked that the report address:

an assessment of the security situation on the Korean Peninsula, the goals and factors shaping North Korean security strategy and military strategy, trends in North Korean security, an assessment of North Korea’s regional security objectives, including an assessment of the North Korean military’s capabilities, developments in North Korean military doctrine and training, an assessment of North Korea’s proliferation activities, and other military security developments.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

New Website for Census Bureau

On Feb. 19, 2014 the Census Bureau released a beta version of its new census.gov website, beta.census.gov . The newly designed website is scheduled to become available in mid-March.
The website will feature the following new statistical digital tools:
  • Internet response — The Census Bureau offers Internet response for many of its surveys, including the American Community Survey. The Internet option makes responding to surveys more convenient, conducting surveys more cost-effective and America’s statistics more accessible on digital and mobile devices.
  • dwellr mobile app — The newest app from the Census Bureau allows people to compare their preferences to find 25 “ideal” dwelling places, based on statistics from the American Community Survey. Users can check their current locations and share their places on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Census Explorer — The newest mapping tool from the Census Bureau provides a look at eight topics from the American Community Survey and how they have changed since the 1990 and 2000 censuses.
  • Open data application programming interface — The Census API lets developers customize Census Bureau statistics in their Web or mobile apps. The API offers data from the American Community Survey and the 2010, 2000 and 1990 censuses.
  • America’s Economy mobile app — The app provides real-time updates for 20 key economic indicators from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics and Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Unauthorized Immigrants and Their Families

On December 23, 2013 The Urban Institute released a fact sheet by Maria E. Enchautegui presenting information on the households of the United States' estimated 11.7 million unauthorized immigrants. The majority of the family members of undocumented immigrants are U.S. born citizens under the age of 18. Data used is from the 2012 Annual Social and Economic Supplement of the Current Population Survey.

China’s Economic Rise: History, Trends, Challenges, and Implications for the United States

On December 17, 2013 the Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a report by Asian Trade and Finance Specialist Wayne M. Morrison entitled China’s Economic Rise: History, Trends, Challenges, and Implications for the United States, Mr. Morrison discusses both positive and negative aspects of China's economic growth in relation to the United States.

Iraq: Politics

Kenneth Katzman, Specialist in Middle Easter Affairs, has written a Congressional Research Service (CRS) report entitled Iraq: Politics, Governance, and Human Rights made available December 17, 2013. Mr. Katzman discusses the continuing conflict between Sunni and Shiite factions in Iraq as well as Iraq's efforts to reestablish its place in the Arab world.