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Commentary

The daily commentary section provides insights on complex issues in a brief and digestible format. Here you can find analysis of changing economic conditions and original perspectives on how the economy is affecting policy debates.

Ridesharing Will Save Lives Super Bowl Sunday

Jared Meyer | 01/31/2015

This weekend, after boozy Super Bowl parties, people will have more options to get home safely because of rideshare companies such as Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar. A new report issued by Uber and Mothers Against Drunk Driving shows that booming ridesharing services are not just convenient and affordable—they are lifesavers.

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Why Dovish Critics of the Fed's FOMC Statement Are Wrong

Charles W. Calomiris | 01/29/2015

Some observers of the Fed were complaining Wednesday that the FOMC statement should have rolled back plans for a mid-2015 rate increase. In their view, reduced rates of inflation observed currently, along with the strong dollar and weak nominal wage growth, should lead the Fed to postpone any rate increases. Such concerns are dead wrong. 

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Research

e21 spotlights and directly supports new research that's necessary to develop innovative economic policy solutions for the 21st century. This section highlights in-depth research papers from a range of academics, economists and thinkers across the political spectrum, fostering creative nonpartisan policy solutions to pressing economic concerns.

Have 91% of Gains During the Recovery Gone to the Top?

Scott Winship | Forbes | January 27, 2015

Forgive me for going out of order and not taking up the Economic Policy Institute’s productivity/compensation chart as promised in my inaugural column in this series. But Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez has published the latest estimates on income concentration in the United States, extending a series he has produced with Thomas Piketty.

http://www.economics21.org/files/pdf/e21_03.pdf

Welfare in America, 1998–2013: The Case for Further Reform

Diana Furchtgott-Roth | Economics21 | January 13, 2015

This paper examines the evolution of major U.S. welfare programs since 1998—shortly after the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA), the 1996 federal welfare reform signed into law by President Clinton, went into effect.

The paper chronicles the average amount of aid provided, as well as length of time on public assistance, focusing on the following programs: SNAP; Temporary Aid to Needy Families, or TANF (established by PRWORA); Medicaid; and Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV). The paper also reports on how welfare eligibility and enrollment have expanded significantly since the Great Recession began in late 2007.

Indeed, while the U.S. economy has since improved, participation in such programs has generally not declined. This paper concludes that there is ample scope for states to reform welfare, and it proposes two substantial changes: (1) cap welfare spending at the rate of inflation and the number of Americans in poverty; and (2) allow states to direct savings from welfare programs to other budget functions.

While politically challenging, such changes would allow states greater flexibility to better target the neediest, as well as stem the increasing flow of money into such programs. For instance, this paper finds that federal savings through 2013 would, after accounting for inflation and the number of Americans in poverty, total $1.3 trillion had welfare funding remained at 1998 levels.

Morning eBriefs

Each weekday morning, e21 delivers a short email that provides a snap shot of the day's economic news. These eBriefs include e21 exclusive commentaries and the latest market news and updates from Washington.

Multimedia

What Is Next for the Fed?

Caroline Baum and Marvin Goodfriend discuss the Shadow Open Market Committee's core principles and monetary policy.

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Why Your Plan Was Cancelled: Health Insurance and the Affordable Care Act

There's a bizarre reason why millions of Americans saw their health plans cancelled in 2013 and, as explained in a new video featuring Robert Graboyes of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, millions more will lose their plans in years to come. 

Insurance coverage for Americans will remain in permanent turmoil because the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that all plans fit within cookie-cutter designs called "metallic tiers." (The tiers—bronze, silver, gold, and platinum—refer to the percentage of medical expenses a particular plan pays.) The video also explains that families may have to switch plans repeatedly because, as circumstances change, a plan that fits within a tier one year may not fit in any tier in a later year.

Please see Dr. Graboyes’ op-ed on this issue (Under Obamacare, Americans Will Continue to Lose Coverage) http://www.usnews.com/opinion/economic-intelligence/2014/09/22/under-obamacare-americans-will-continue-to-lose-coverage

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