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B School for Public Policy Monthly 90-minute sessions on Capitol Hill »

Policy Issues


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  • Six types of offshore wind generation structures. October 16 The Jones Act: Balance Between Special Interests and Renewable Energy

    The Jones Act has received a lot of press in the wake of Hurricane Maria for inhibiting aid to Puerto Rico in their time of need. Nearly a decade after being signed into law, the Act has become the target of scrutiny, with politicians such as Senator McCain (R-AZ) calling for the amendment of the “antiquated” law [1]. In addition to its controversial role in disaster relief, many organizations (such as the National Renewable Energy Laboratory) have drawn attention to the bill’s consequences for offshore wind energy production – an area in which the US has traditionally been lacking [2].

  • Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen sketched a bright outlook for the U.S. economy and for inflation prospects in the comin... October 16 Yellen Signals Rate Hike, Senate Democrats To Repeal Opioid Distribution Law

    Senate Democrats introduce bill to repeal opioid distribution law; Congress nearing deal to loosen bank regulations; Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen signals likely interest rate hike.

  • Addressing Personal-Income-Tax Manipulation October 15 Addressing Personal-Income-Tax Manipulation with Tools from Psychology

    In order to better understand the tax manipulation decision-making process—both legal uses of tax deductions and illegal tax evasion—this brief looks at the impact of gain/loss framing. Analysis of tax data confirms that tax decisions are influenced by “loss aversion.” For instance, taxpayers are more likely to pursue tax reduction activities when they make a loss smaller, as compared to when they make a gain larger. The brief looks at tools that policymakers have at their disposal for both deterring tax evasion and making exiting tax incentives maximally effective. The brief discusses instances when such gain/loss framing interventions might be deployed, and provides estimates around the size of the revenue responses they may generate. The author estimates that if tax filers who face losses experienced the lower motivation to manipulate shown by those facing gains, annual tax revenue would increase by $1.4 billion. Even attempts at marginal interventions, though smaller in predicted effects, might be financially worthwhile.

  • resident Trump will remove subsidies to health insurance companies that currently help pay out-of-pocket costs of low-inco... October 13 Trump to Scrap Healthcare Subsidies, Decertify Iran Nuclear Deal

    President Trump to decertify Iran nuclear deal; Trump to scrap critical health care subsidies for Obamacare; House Approves $36.5 billion hurricane and wildfire aid package; Inflation surges after hurricane increases gas prices, U.S. consumer price index increased 0.5% in September; U.S. retail sales rose 1.6% in September, driven by autos and gasoline purchases. 

  • Image: Flanked by Senators Cotton (L) and Perdue (R), President Trump endorses the RAISE Act in the Roosevelt Room of the ... October 13 Economic Implications of the RAISE Act

    On Wednesday, August 2, President Trump endorsed a piece of legislation authored by Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA) that would radically change immigration policy in the United States. [1] Known as the RAISE (Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy) Act, the goal of the bill is, in the words of the President, to “not only restore [America’s] competitive edge in the 21st century”, but to also “restore the sacred bonds of trust between America and its citizens.” [2] [3]

  • Penn Wharton PPI Faculty Affiliate, Professor Olivia S. Mitchell October 12 After 50, Women Struggle to Find a Foothold at Work

    Older women in the U.S. are eager to work. And employers, facing a tight labor market and a dwindling supply of workers as older baby boomers retire, need these women. Yet women over 50 find the doors of American corporations are often closed to them, according to academic studies, employment experts and interviews with women struggling to get hiring managers to take them seriously. 

    For employers, the scarcity of workers shows no signs of abating. That will force them to look for talent in populations they might otherwise have ignored, says Faculty Affiliate Olivia Mitchell, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. If they don’t explore those neglected pools, “they won’t find the trained, educated, mature workforce they need,” she says.