A Runoff for Brazil’s Rousseff and Neves

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff won the first–round of the 2014 presidential election yesterday with almost 42 percent of the vote. The real surprise of the contest, however, came in Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB) nominee Aecio Neves’s impressive second place finish, capturing a third of voters and surpassing Marina Silva of the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB). […]

Policy Innovation Memo: How to Stop the State Subsidy Wars

The Council on Foreign Relations’ Renewing America Initiative is releasing today our new Policy Innovation Memo “Curtailing the Subsidy War Within the United States,” which I co-authored with Associate Director Rebecca Strauss. The problem is a vexing one. Governors and state governments quite rightly spend an enormous amount of time and energy trying to attract […]

‘Retirement Security in an Aging Society,’ or the Lack Thereof

James Poterba wrote up a very useful overview of the retirement security challenge in a new NBER white paper. (I think it’s not paywalled, but I’m not sure.) He provides overviews of much of the recent research and data on life expectancies, macroeconomic implications of a changing age structure, income and assets of people at or […]

Obama’s 2015 Budget: Posturing from Weakness

President Obama’s 2015 budget proposes a number of tax increases that will mainly affect the rich. They include: Limiting the tax savings on deductions to 28 percent of the deduction amount (and applying this limit to exclusions as well, such as the one for employer-provided health benefits) Requiring a minimum 30% income tax on income less charitable […]

America’s ‘We’ Problem

America has a serious “We” problem — as in “Why should we pay for them?” The question is popping up all over the place. It underlies the debate over extending unemployment benefits to the long-term unemployed and providing food stamps to the poor. It’s found in the resistance of some young and healthy people to being required […]

Treasury Pulls the Rug From Scottish Independence

The all-party agreement (in Westminster) on ruling out a currency union with Scotland took some by surprise, but the reasons are now clear. The Treasury has come out strongly, and publicly, against it, and says that Scotland’s threat not to take on its share of UK debt is not credible. This is a bigger blow […]

Italian Events Spinning Away From the Letta and Alfano Government

Political developments in Italy are happening faster than Prime Minister Letta can maneuver.  The economy he is overseeing is the poster child of ECB President Draghi’s assessment of a weak, fragile and uneven recovery in the euro area. While Spain’s Target2 imbalances are gradually declining, Italy’s are edging higher.   The economy is lagging behind Spain in […]

54% of Republicans Say We’ve Got Too Much Inequality

It’s a Myth that Conservatives Don’t Care About Inequality We’ve noted for years that it’s a myth that conservatives accept runaway inequality. Conservatives are very concerned about the stunning collapse of upward mobility. A poll from Gallup shows that a majority of Republicans think we’ve got too much inequality: Two out of three Americans are dissatisfied with the way income and wealth are currently […]

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