Addressing the "Benefits Cliff" and Encouraging Work for Welfare Recipients (Testimony)
In this testimony before the State of Vermont Committee on Human Resources, Heather Hahn discusses proposed changes to Vermont's TANF program, and more generally, the "benefits cliff" and work incentives that participants experience as they strive for self-sufficiency. Hahn explains how the key policy levers - asset tests and the earned income disregard - reduce the benefits cliff and promote work. She also places Vermont's Reach Up rules in the context of other states' TANF rules and discusses other important issues to consider in conjunction with changes in these rules.
The Future of Long-Term Care Policy: Continuing the Conversation (Testimony)
|Publication Date: February 26, 2014|
In testimony before the US Senate Special Committee on Aging Feder speaks about a path forward for long-term services and supports. She establishes that there is much work to be done. Although policymakers are grappling with the challenges of assuring Americans affordable access to quality health care, they have yet to seriously tackle the equally important issue of long-term services and supports.
Housing Finance Reform: Fundamentals of Transferring Credit Risk in a Future Housing Finance System (Testimony)
|Publication Date: December 18, 2013|
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac both recently completed deals in which they transferred some of the risk from their guarantor book of business to private investors. As we contemplate a new housing finance system in which private entities take the first loss, backed up by a catastrophic government guarantee, the obvious question arises: how are these deals applicable to the new housing finance structure? While lessons can be learned from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac deals, there are additional considerations in an environment without government-sponsored enterprises.
Testimony Before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform U.S. House of Representatives (Testimony)
|Publication Date: December 10, 2013|
In this testimony before the US House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) impact on premiums and provider networks, Feder concludes that by filling the gaps in the current financing structure and slowing the growth in health care costs, the ACA has enormous potential to address the flaws in the country's health care system. The biggest barrier Feder sees to realizing the law’s potential is the political resistance to the law’s implementation.
Closing the Wealth Gap: Empowering Minority-Owned Businesses to Reach Their Full Potential for Growth and Job Creation (Testimony)
|Publication Date: December 12, 2013|
The racial wealth gap grows sharply with age. When people are in their 30s and 40s, whites have about 3.5 times more wealth than people of color. By the time people reach their 60s whites have about 7 times more wealth. Skewed federal subsidies exacerbate wealth disparities and the racial wealth gap. Five suggestions to close the racial wealth gap are: make homeownership tax subsidies more progressive; promote retirement savings through IRAs and expand the Saver's Credit; reauthorize the Assets for Independence program; increase access to high-quality education; and improve access to micro and small business capital for low-wealth groups.
Cyclical Stabilization and the Structure of Mortgage Finance (Testimony)
|Publication Date: September 18, 2013|
Jim Stock, a member of the Council of Economic Advisors and a Senior Advisor to the President, discusses housing finance reform from a macroeconomic perspective. Specifically, elaborating on the need for the mortgage finance system to provide liquidity at reasonable rates during good and bad economic times. Stock refers to this property as cyclical resilience.
Simplifying Federal Student Aid: Toward a More Effective Federal Grant Program for Students (Testimony)
|Publication Date: November 13, 2013|
In this testimony before the House Education and the Workforce Committee, Sandy Baum states that federal student aid has made college a reality for millions of students, but the programs can be improved for both students and taxpayers. Aid programs should be designed so that that the students who have the most potential to benefit know about them, understand them, can predict and count on their benefits, and can access them without undue difficulty. Moreover, it is not enough to put postsecondary enrollment in financial reach. We must ensure that aid programs provide the appropriate incentives and supports for both students and institutions to succeed in meeting the educational goals of our nation and its students.
Oversight of the Bureau of Prisons & Cost-Effective Strategies for Reducing Recidivism (Testimony)
|Publication Date: November 13, 2013|
In this testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Justice Policy Center Director Nancy La Vigne presents the findings from a new Urban Institute report in which the authors project the population and cost savings impact of a variety of strategies designed to reduce the inmate population without compromising public safety. They find that the most effective approach is a combination of strategies, including early release for current prisoners and reducing the length of stay for future offenders, particularly those convicted of drug trafficking.
'Stand Your Ground' Laws: Civil Rights and Public Safety Implications of the Expanded Use of Deadly Force (Testimony)
|Publication Date: November 06, 2013|
Stand your ground laws, which extend the right to use deadly force in self-defense beyond the home, exacerbate racial disparities in the rate at which homicides are found to be justified, John Roman told a Senate subcommittee. In homicides of blacks committed by whites, 11.4 percent were found to be justified, while in homicides of whites committed by blacks, only 1.2 percent were found to be justified. The racial disparity is larger in states with stand your ground laws, and racial disparities increase in stand your ground states after the law is enacted.
Retirement Income Challenges in the Twenty-First Century (Testimony)
|Publication Date: October 29, 2013|
Richard Johnson describes the key challenges to retirement security in this testimony to the U.S. Senate's Special Committee on Aging. Although median retirement incomes will continue to rise in inflation-adjusted terms for generations retiring through the 2030s, increasing shares of Americans will see their living standards fall as they enter retirement because retirement incomes are not keeping pace with earnings. High out-of-pocket medical and especially long-term care costs pose the greatest threat to older Americans’ economic security. Income inequality is also growing at older ages and many seniors have difficulty turning retirement account balances into lifelong income.
|Publication Date: September 25, 2013|