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News Archive

  • Construction has begun to be affected by the heat of the labor market.
    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.
  • 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.
  • Minimum wage increases in Seattle may have led to lower earnings for employees.
    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.

    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.

  • Oil rig counts are up.
    An appropriations bill in the House would raise military spending above the President’s budget proposal. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of government regulators when it comes to certain environmental regulations. Finally, oil rig counts are up for the 23rd week in a row.
  • Source: Wikimedia Commons.

    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 Ezekiel J. Emanuel

    Senate Republicans recently released their much-anticipated healthcare bill. The law that that bill seeks to replace is the Affordable Care Act, which was devised by Faculty Affiliate Ezekiel Emanual.
    He comments on some recent, negative statistics surrounding healthcare in the U.S. right now, “The problem is a lot of this uncertainty makes insurance companies nervous. When insurance companies are nervous, they do two things: they exit markets and they raise premiums. That’s exactly what you’re seeing.”

  • Penn Wharton PPI Faculty Affiliate, Professor Peter Cappelli
    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.”
  • The Supreme Court ruled on the immigration process recently.
    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that lying during a naturalization interview is not evidence enough to revoke said citizenship later in life. Trump is planning on pushing for stricter protections for the domestic steel industry in the name of national security. The labor market continues to tighten, although more indicators are showing that those benefits might not be reaching Americans with disabilities.
  • Image of Flooding. Source: John Miller.

    Since 1978, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has enlisted private insurers, with their market presence, to sell and service policies under the auspices of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

  • Uber's board may be eyeing an IPO.
    Faculty Affiliate Kevin Werbach comments for Politico on Uber’s future. The company recently let its CEO, Travis Kalanick, go, and is looking to right the ship.

    He makes a point about what would need to happen before an IPO: “the company would want to put its house in order first before going and doing an IPO, which would definitely include a willingness to resolve some of its disputes with localities.”
  • Penn Wharton PPI Faculty Affiliate, Professor Daniel Polsky
    Politifact looked into a recent tweet by the White House, which claimed that the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, “led to fewer health insurance options for millions of Americans.” The website found this statement to be false.

    Faculty Affiliate Daniel Polsky discussed the situation in rural America going forward, “Fewer plan options will be available when compared to the early years of the Affordable Care Act.”
  • Penn Wharton PPI Faculty Affiliate, Professor Franklin
    Knowledge@Wharton looks into China and its finance industry’s future in a piece that features Faculty Affiliate, Franklin Allen.

    “China needs to do a lot of work. For example, its capital markets do not work well.”
  • Penn Wharton PPI Faculty Affiliate, Professor Jennifer Blouin
    Faculty Affiliate Jennifer Blouin weighs in on how effective a repatriation scheme similar to the one in 2004 would be.

    “If there are good investment projects, companies that have cash overseas very easily borrow domestically to make those investments happen. The reality is, there’s not much profitable investment they want to do in the U.S.”
  • The opioid epidemic continues to plague midwestern states.
    U.S jobless claims continue to be at very healthy levels and some of the only hiccups in the labor market now are issues with getting working visas for some companies. The Senate healthcare bill is moving somewhat to the center, due to Mitch McConnell’s narrow margin for error. Missouri has joined Ohio and Mississippi in trying to hold pharmaceutical companies to account for their role in the opioid epidemic.
  • International Shipping Trade
    As the Executive branch is dealing with increasing criticism of its budget proposal, Republicans in Congress are beginning to see backlash over their healthcare bill. Overseas, Germany is increasing its trade with Asia as a hedge against potential trade issues with the United States.
  • A legal battle over President Obama's methane rules is kicking into gear.
    Environmental groups have brought the fight over methane regulation to the court system, hoping to slow President Trump’s push for deregulation. The House and Senate are still grappling with healthcare and taxes, with little progress visible yet. President Trump is also taking unilateral action to protect domestic steel, which could cause international problems.
  • The US Capitol Building
    Leaders in the House and Senate are increasingly being pressured to shorten or cancel the August legislative recess to focus on delivering legislative promises to their districts. As those talks stall, Brexit negotiations begin and economic indicators continue to come in strong.
  • Penn Wharton PPI Faculty Affiliate, Professor Olivia S. Mitchell
    Faculty Affiliate Olivia Mitchell comments on the juxtaposition of General Electric’s $45 billion in stock buybacks in recent years to their growing pension liabilities.

    “It’s a clear tension. Buybacks clearly use assets available not to fund the pension promise but to make shareholders happy.”
  • Penn Wharton PPI Faculty Affiliate, Professor Michael Useem
    Faculty Affiliate Michael Useem comments for the Washington Post on the unprecedented departure of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick without a plan for his replacement.

    “They’re going to go nuts if they don’t have a final arbiter,” he said. “It’s like Management 101… . Nothing runs without one person at the top. Nature abhors a power vacuum.”
  • Exports to Mexico are down.
    President Trump signed his executive order promoting apprenticeships in the U.S. The Senate is trying to work in a more bipartisan fashion. Both consumer sentiment and U.S. exports to Mexico are down.
  • President Trump is changing U.S. policy towards Cuba.
    The Federal Reserve continues to have a rosy outlook for the economy, largely driven by strong indicators in the labor market. The Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill to impose sanctions on Russia. President Trump announces changes to the U.S.-Cuba relationship.
  • Howard Kunreuther
    Faculty Affiliate Professor Howard Kunreuther writes an op-ed for Knowledge@Wharton discussing the American Health Care Act and the National Flood Insurance Program in an effort to explain this.

    “Elected representatives on both sides of the aisle continually espouse the principle of fairness across a wide range of issues, including trade, tax reform, and jobs.”
  • Uber continues to face pressure from all fronts.
    As Uber faces increasing pressure and changes, especially in light of CEO Travis Kalanick’s leave of absence, Professor Kevin Werbach comments on how the company could rebound.

    ”One possible strategy to improve its image would be to pay drivers more and scale back its losses. That would mean higher prices for riders.”
  • Penn Wharton PPI Faculty Affiliate, Professor Olivia S. Mitchell
    Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed legislation that would restructure future public employee’s pension plans to be solvent. The plan does not fix the current shortfall, however, as it only affects future employees.

    Faculty Affiliate Olivia Mitchell commented, “The fact that they have to reform for all future hires means that, eventually, and very eventually, there will be some relief. However, the current defined benefit plan is underfunded and is not fixed by that reform.”
  • Professor Peter Conti-Brown comments on the future of the Federal Reserve's leadership.
    The future Janet Yellen’s position is unclear at the moment, with President Trump’s longtime advisor Gary Cohn being chosen to lead her replacement effort. Although Trump criticized Yellen during the campaign, he has praised her since becoming President. Professor Peter Conti-Brown believes this is short lived.

    “The minute that ‘Morning Joe’ has a report about a Fed action that could harm Donald Trump, set an egg timer and see how long before he tweets,” he said.
  • Senate Republicans may not cut all ACA-associated taxes.
    The Senate is considering not cutting all taxes associated with Obamacare. The Interior Department is also considering delaying implementation on a rule meant to cut methane emissions. It is also becoming more clear that the Federal Reserve will raise rates and that the slight drop in consumer spending earlier in the year was just temporary.
  • The future of health insurance is still unclear.
    As Republicans are starting to feel emboldened by insurers leaving ACA marketplaces, top health care groups are opposing their House bill. Unrelatedly, the Treasury believes that the government will be funded through September, but fails to give specifics and the proposed “border adjustment tax” may get a phase-in period.
  • Howard Kunreuther
    Faculty Affiliate Howard Kunreuther, Ph.D., and his co-author Robert Meyer write in Psychology Today about their research on natural disasters and the psychology behind a lack of preparedness.

    They write, “people resettle in floodplains, stock market crashes come in cycles, and careless drivers suffer repeated crashes. Each time such an event occurs, one hears pledges to take steps to ensure that the adverse event never occurs again, but inevitably it does—something routinely attributed to short memories.”
  • The White House is considering changes to the U.S.'s relationship with the government of Cuba.
    Radio Sputnik interviewed Faculty Affiliate Professor Mauro Guillen on the issue. Numerous reports have stated that the President is reconsidering some of the Obama Administration actions to foster a relationship with Cuba.

    Professor Guillen acknowledged that things would be changing but stated, “in the long term, there’s no other solution for the two countries than to be on good terms.”

 

PENN WHARTON PPI
RESOURCE SPOTLIGHT:

  • <h3>National Center for Education Statistics</h3><p><strong><img width="400" height="80" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/400/height/80/479_nces.rev.1407787656.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image479 lw_align_right" data-max-w="400" data-max-h="80"/>The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education in the U.S. and other nations.</strong> NCES is located within the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences. NCES has an extensive Statistical Standards Program that consults and advises on methodological and statistical aspects involved in the design, collection, and analysis of data collections in the Center. To learn more about the NCES, <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/about/" target="_blank">click here</a>.</p><p> Quick link to NCES Data Tools: <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/datatools/index.asp?DataToolSectionID=4" target="_blank">http://nces.ed.gov/datatools/index.asp?DataToolSectionID=4</a></p><p> Quick link to Quick Tables and Figures: <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/quicktables/" target="_blank">http://nces.ed.gov/quicktables/</a></p><p> Quick link to NCES Fast Facts (Note: The primary purpose of the Fast Facts website is to provide users with concise information on a range of educational issues, from early childhood to adult learning.): <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/" target="_blank">http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/#</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Internal Revenue Service: Tax Statistics</h3><p><img width="155" height="200" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/155/height/200/486_irs_logo.rev.1407789424.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image486 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/155/height/200/486_irs_logo.rev.1407789424.jpg 2x" data-max-w="463" data-max-h="596"/>Find statistics on business tax, individual tax, charitable and exempt organizations, IRS operations and budget, and income (SOI), as well as statistics by form, products, publications, papers, and other IRS data.</p><p> Quick link to <strong>Tax Statistics, where you will find a wide range of tables, articles, and data</strong> that describe and measure elements of the U.S. tax system: <a href="http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Stats-2" target="_blank">http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Stats-2</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>USDA Nutrition Assistance Data</h3><p><img width="180" height="124" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/124/485_usda_logo.rev.1407789238.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image485 lw_align_right" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/180/height/124/485_usda_logo.rev.1407789238.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/180/height/124/485_usda_logo.rev.1407789238.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1233" data-max-h="850"/>Data and research regarding the following <strong>USDA Nutrition Assistance</strong> programs are available through this site:</p><ul><li>Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) </li><li>Food Distribution Programs </li><li>School Meals </li><li>Women, Infants and Children </li></ul><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.fns.usda.gov/data-and-statistics" target="_blank">http://www.fns.usda.gov/data-and-statistics</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>National Bureau of Economic Research (Public Use Data Archive)</h3><p><img width="180" height="43" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/43/478_nber.rev.1407530465.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image478 lw_align_right" data-max-w="329" data-max-h="79"/>Founded in 1920, the <strong>National Bureau of Economic Research</strong> is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to promoting a greater understanding of how the economy works. The NBER is committed to undertaking and disseminating unbiased economic research among public policymakers, business professionals, and the academic community.</p><p> Quick Link to <strong>Public Use Data Archive</strong>: <a href="http://www.nber.org/data/" target="_blank">http://www.nber.org/data/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Congressional Budget Office</h3><p><img width="180" height="180" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/180/380_cbo-logo.rev.1406822035.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image380 lw_align_right" data-max-w="180" data-max-h="180"/>Since its founding in 1974, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has produced independent analyses of budgetary and economic issues to support the Congressional budget process.</p><p> The agency is strictly nonpartisan and conducts objective, impartial analysis, which is evident in each of the dozens of reports and hundreds of cost estimates that its economists and policy analysts produce each year. CBO does not make policy recommendations, and each report and cost estimate discloses the agency’s assumptions and methodologies. <strong>CBO provides budgetary and economic information in a variety of ways and at various points in the legislative process.</strong> Products include baseline budget projections and economic forecasts, analysis of the President’s budget, cost estimates, analysis of federal mandates, working papers, and more.</p><p> Quick link to Products page: <a href="http://www.cbo.gov/about/our-products" target="_blank">http://www.cbo.gov/about/our-products</a></p><p> Quick link to Topics: <a href="http://www.cbo.gov/topics" target="_blank">http://www.cbo.gov/topics</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>The World Bank Data (U.S.)</h3><p><img width="130" height="118" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/130/height/118/484_world-bank-logo.rev.1407788945.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image484 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/130/height/118/484_world-bank-logo.rev.1407788945.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/130/height/118/484_world-bank-logo.rev.1407788945.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1406" data-max-h="1275"/>The <strong>World Bank</strong> provides World Development Indicators, Surveys, and data on Finances and Climate Change.</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://data.worldbank.org/country/united-states" target="_blank">http://data.worldbank.org/country/united-states</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>The Penn World Table</h3><p> The Penn World Table provides purchasing power parity and national income accounts converted to international prices for 189 countries/territories for some or all of the years 1950-2010.</p><p><a href="https://pwt.sas.upenn.edu/php_site/pwt71/pwt71_form.php" target="_blank">Quick link.</a> </p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>MapStats</h3><p> A feature of FedStats, MapStats allows users to search for <strong>state, county, city, congressional district, or Federal judicial district data</strong> (demographic, economic, and geographic).</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.fedstats.gov/mapstats/" target="_blank">http://www.fedstats.gov/mapstats/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>NOAA National Climatic Data Center</h3><p><img width="200" height="198" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/200/height/198/483_noaa_logo.rev.1407788692.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image483 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/200/height/198/483_noaa_logo.rev.1407788692.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/200/height/198/483_noaa_logo.rev.1407788692.jpg 3x" data-max-w="954" data-max-h="945"/>NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) is responsible for preserving, monitoring, assessing, and providing public access to the Nation’s treasure of <strong>climate and historical weather data and information</strong>.</p><p> Quick link to home page: <a href="http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/" target="_blank">http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/</a></p><p> Quick link to NCDC’s climate and weather datasets, products, and various web pages and resources: <a href="http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/data-access/quick-links" target="_blank">http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/data-access/quick-links</a></p><p> Quick link to Text & Map Search: <a href="http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cdo-web/" target="_blank">http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cdo-web/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Federal Aviation Administration: Accident & Incident Data</h3><p><img width="100" height="100" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/100/height/100/80_faa-logo.rev.1402681347.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image80 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/100/height/100/80_faa-logo.rev.1402681347.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/100/height/100/80_faa-logo.rev.1402681347.jpg 3x" data-max-w="550" data-max-h="550"/>The NTSB issues an accident report following each investigation. These reports are available online for reports issued since 1996, with older reports coming online soon. The reports listing is sortable by the event date, report date, city, and state.</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.faa.gov/data_research/accident_incident/" target="_blank">http://www.faa.gov/data_research/accident_incident/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED®)</h3><p><strong><img width="180" height="79" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/79/481_fred-logo.rev.1407788243.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image481 lw_align_right" data-max-w="222" data-max-h="97"/>An online database consisting of more than 72,000 economic data time series from 54 national, international, public, and private sources.</strong> FRED®, created and maintained by Research Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, goes far beyond simply providing data: It combines data with a powerful mix of tools that help the user understand, interact with, display, and disseminate the data.</p><p> Quick link to data page: <a href="http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/tags/series" target="_blank">http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/tags/series</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>HUD State of the Cities Data Systems</h3><p><strong><img width="200" height="200" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/200/height/200/482_hud_logo.rev.1407788472.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image482 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/200/height/200/482_hud_logo.rev.1407788472.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/200/height/200/482_hud_logo.rev.1407788472.jpg 3x" data-max-w="612" data-max-h="613"/>The SOCDS provides data for individual Metropolitan Areas, Central Cities, and Suburbs.</strong> It is a portal for non-national data made available through a number of outside institutions (e.g. Census, BLS, FBI and others).</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/socds.html" target="_blank">http://www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/socds.html</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>