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Policy Issues


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  • An Updated Look at Student Loan Debt Repayment and Default June 28 An Updated Look at Student Loan Debt Repayment and Default

    Over 41 million Americans now owe more than $1.2 trillion in outstanding federal student loan debt. Policymakers are considering a number of amendments related to federal student aid programs in the context of the Higher Education Act reauthorization. In addition to providing a snapshot of key data related to student loan debt that all policymakers should consider, this brief discusses recommendations for facilitating repayment and curbing defaults on student loans, including: protecting students from low-performing institutions; encouraging use of forbearance and deferment mechanisms; and strengthening income-driven repayment options.

  • Construction has begun to be affected by the heat of the labor market. June 28 Budget Delayed as Labor Market Strains Under Growth

    The rollout of the GOP budget for 2018 will be released after the July 4th recess. President Trump has also nominated a second attorney to the NLRB. The labor market continues to grow, causing problems with construction. Home prices are starting to cool overall, however, there are some markets with double digit growth.

  • Minimum wage increases in Seattle may have led to lower earnings for employees. June 27 Health Care Bill and Minimum Wage Increases Both Face Tough Analysis

    The Senate Healthcare bill is facing criticism from the right and left following a CBO report anticipating 22 million fewer Americans would have insurance under the law. Seattle’s minimum wage increase also received some damning analysis. The IMF has also downgraded its expectations for the U.S. economy. In better news, ECB President Mario Draghi has implied optimism about European economic growth.

  • Mass incarceration in the United States. June 26 Does Mass Incarceration Work?

    Decades ago, the answer would have been yes. This was primarily due to concern over the widespread use of drugs and the desire of policy makers to stop drug use from spreading across the country. But in more recent years, a highly polarized debate has risen over the value and the impact of mass incarceration as light has been shed on the nation’s overpopulated prison system. Policy makers today recognize that the rapidly expanding penal system initiatives in the 1980s and the 1990s have imposed fiscal burdens and intangible social costs ultimately producing discord between government officials and civil liberty bodies. With an administration change and new directives from the U.S. Department of Justice, the future of the prison system has all sides of the issue questioning what is next for the staggering prison population.

  • Source: Wikimedia Commons. June 25 Are Populism and Globalization Mutually Exclusive? How geopolitical trade partnerships could help protect America’s economic success

    The US is currently leading the world with a new rise of populism centered around ‘putting America first’. Some have interpreted this as a desire to withdraw from the global stage. However, remaining active in global partnerships, treaties, and geopolitical trade may be the best way to insure America’s national security and economic success.

  • Penn Wharton PPI Faculty Affiliate, Professor Peter Cappelli June 23 Uber Continues to Shift

    Uber recently announced that they would add a tip function to their ridesharing app, in line with what their competitor, Lyft, has done. They continue to make changes without the leadership of Travis Kalanick.

    Faculty Affiliate Professor Peter Cappelli comments on the departed CEO’s affinity for President Trump, “the thing that is important to remember about Uber and Lyft is who their customers are. Almost all their customers and all their money come from urban areas, and those areas are Democratic.”