Urban Institute experts weigh in on current social and economic policy issues.Apprenticeships Could Help U.S. Workers Gain a Competitive Edge
, Posted: May 08, 2013
In this Washington Post commentary, Robert Lerman and Stuart Eizenstat argue that the U.S. manufacturing sector is poised for a comeback, but faces serious workforce challenges. To avoid squandering the opportunity to sustain a manufacturing resurgence, the U.S. must match the quality and quantity of skills training achieved in many other countries. One way to do this is a 21st-century apprenticeship program. By training youth and adults through a combined work-based learning and classroom instruction program leading to a recognized and valued occupational credential, apprenticeships can increase employment, while insuring a close match between the skills learned and the skills required.
Poverty in America: How We Can Help Families Posted: May 08, 2013
In this commentary for BlogHer.com, Urban Institute fellow Olivia Golden discusses a two-generation policy agenda that can help promote young children's development and low-wage workers' economic stability, which should start with a national focus on the first year of life.
Taxing Private Equity Funds as Corporate 'Developers' Posted: January 21, 2013
Private equity funds manage vast amounts of money: $2.5 trillion in 2010, much more than the $100 billion in 1994. They earn immense profits, largely from selling the stock of acquired and improved companies. This article focuses on the character of the funds' profits. It recommends that the IRS write new regulations to treat the funds' profits as ordinary income in light of the law, Congress's original intent, and tax policy.
Is the Trillion-Dollar Platinum Coin Clever or Insane? Posted: January 09, 2013
In a contribution to CNNMoney, Donald Marron argues that minting a $1 trillion platinum coin if Congress refuses to raise the debt ceiling sounds crazy. But it might actually work if done in smaller denominations.
One Policy Change, Please: Remove the Fiscal Cliff Scenario Posted: December 17, 2012
The president must call congressional leaders and top members of the major taxing and spending committees to a summit that agrees to enough deficit reduction to stabilize the debt-to-GDP ratio by 2024, Rudolph Penner declares in a commentary in The International Economy journal.
The Next Big Question Facing Cities: Will Millennials Stay? Posted: September 11, 2012
Do neighborhoods work like habitat for different kinds of households? City populations have rebounded in the past two decades as people who like city habitats have grown in numbers and in their share of the population. Mostly these are the Millennials - adults roughly 20 to 34-years-old, also known as Generation Y or the Echo Boom - who have delayed childbearing, marriage, and even household formation because of a combination of changing culture and economic necessity. Urban living makes sense for these young people. This article explores one of the most interesting questions for cities in the next 10 to 20 years: How many Millennials will stay there?
Welfare Waivers Give States a Choice Posted: September 19, 2012
The Department of Health and Human Services' waiver policy allows states to rigorously test new welfare-to-work pathways. That's good news for the bipartisan goal of work. Learning from state innovation is just what the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program needs, Institute fellow Olivia Golden explains in a commentary for The Hill.
Five Myths About the 47 Percent
, Posted: September 21, 2012
As Mitt Romney recently noted, about 47 percent of U.S. households do not pay federal income taxes. Some see this as evidence of a welfare state run amok. Others think that gimmicks and loopholes let both rich and poor Americans duck their taxes. This commentary corrects some misconceptions about this group, now colloquially called the 47 percent.
Payment Reform: Bundled Episodes vs. Global Payments
, , Posted: September 18, 2012
There is widespread agreement that the current fee-for-service approach to paying for health care is problematic, but there is a lack of consensus on what should replace it. Medicare is pursuing bundled episode payments, and proponents like Francois de Brantes of the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute have been laying the groundwork for implementation. But other experts, such as the Urban Institute's Robert Berenson, worry that the current interest in bundled payments will distract policy-makers from moving more decisively away from fee-for-service. In this Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded paper, de Brantes and Berenson debate the benefits and drawbacks of bundled payments and global capitation.
Welfare-to-Work: Results are Better than Red Tape
, Posted: August 13, 2012
In our research at the Urban Institute, state officials express frustration that caseworkers must spend too many hours tracking paperwork rather than pushing people toward employment, Olivia Golden and Heather Hahn explain in this commentary for the McClatchy Newspapers. It’s better to give states leeway to test new ideas about getting people from welfare into jobs and tying this flexibility to results.