urban institute nonprofit social and economic policy research

First Tuesdays

First Tuesdays imageFirst Tuesdays is a series of public policy events on a wide variety of current topics. Drawing from Institute researchers and area experts, these lunchtime discussions offer authoritative analysis and audience interaction on topics ranging from social services and politics to faith well-being.

For more information on First Tuesdays events, contact UI public affairs.

Audio or video webcasts are available for most First Tuesdays events.

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First Tuesday: Deciphering the Conflicting Values Shaping the U.S. Social Safety Net
January 05, 2010

As the recession sends more and more people into the ranks of the impoverished and vulnerable, the public is left to ponder the inadequate support available when hard times hit and why help comes from a patchwork of programs instead of from an integrated system. Panelists will discuss the oftentimes incongruous values, attitudes, and philosophies that drive the intricate U.S. safety net and the difficulties in providing effective services to people with complex needs.

First Tuesday: The $750 Billion Question: Does Our Government Promote Economic Mobility?
December 01, 2009

While economic opportunity and upward mobility form the core of the American dream, we know too well that many Americans don’t move up the income ladder, and recent trends in wages warn of serious obstacles ahead. Urban Institute research, supported by Pew’s Economic Mobility Project, also shows that most government spending doesn’t advance a mobility agenda.

First Tuesday: Who Moves, Who Stays, and the Resilience of Low-Income Communities
November 03, 2009

Community organizations, local governments, foundations, businesses, and social service providers rely on residential stability in their efforts to alleviate the plight of impoverished families in hard-pressed neighborhoods. While trading up to a better neighborhood may improve an individual family’s circumstances, frequent churning of residents may have negative effects for communities. A forthcoming examination of evidence from the Making Connections initiative, a decade-long effort sponsored by the Annie E. Casey Foundation to improve neighborhoods in 10 cities, will be the starting point for a debate about the intersection of poverty, neighborhood quality, and economic advancement.

The Financial and Economic Consequences of an Exploding Debt
October 06, 2009

The Congressional Budget Office's most recent long-term budget outlook declared that "current policies are unsustainable." Translation, according to tax scholar Len Burman: if we don’t change course, we're doomed. America will celebrate its tricentennial with IOUs 6.5 times its total economic output if current policies continue, CBO says, and that is under implausibly optimistic assumptions about the economy.

First Tuesday: Is There a Fair Way to Cap the Tax Exclusion of Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance?
June 02, 2009

Health reform - the "let’s do lunch" of public policy - is on everyone's lips in Washington. But like many long-postponed, obligatory meals, who is going to pick up the check? Capping the tax exclusion of employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) - an idea loved and loathed by politicians from both parties - is on the table to pay for subsidies for the uninsured and to moderate companies’ incentives to offer high-end coverage.

First Tuesday: Democracy and Security in Pakistan: The Ground Game
May 05, 2009

Local governments sit at the confluence of formal and informal governance systems in Pakistan. Law and order, service delivery, and citizen interaction with the state take place in villages, towns, and cities, where families, tribes, political parties, religious organizations, and government officials share dominion. In 2001, then-President Pervez Musharraf called for the creation of local governments better attuned to citizen preferences and adept at providing improved services. Today, this autonomy initiative is up for grabs as Pakistan’s provinces reconsider the role of local government and the nation readies for fall elections.

First Tuesday: Preventing Veteran Homelessness
April 07, 2009

Nearly 154,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. Another half million are at risk of homelessness because rent consumes more than half their income. In his run for the White House, President Obama pledged to deliver on a zero-tolerance policy for veteran homelessness. But for low-income veterans who fall in between homelessness and homeownership, there is little to help them afford rental housing. That lack of affordable housing, research shows, is the primary driver of homelessness for veterans and civilians alike.

First Tuesday: Forensic Failure: Case Reopened?
March 03, 2009

One of the worst-kept secrets in law enforcement - that there is little science behind many standard investigative practices - is getting the sunshine treatment. A new National Research Council study concludes that crime-investigation practices across the country are inconsistent: who collects the evidence, how it is processed, and how it is interpreted vary from coast to coast. Moreover, no current scientific method ensures the accuracy of many common investigative tools.

First Tuesday: Frozen Pensions and Falling Stocks
February 03, 2009

Our panel of experts will bring us up to date on how employers are adjusting their retirement plans to this changing economic environment, how recent and prospective changes in pension offers and market values will affect workers' retirement, and how policymakers might respond to improve financial security for new and future retirees.

First Tuesday: Help Unwanted
January 06, 2009

At this event, an array of experts looks beyond the broad employment landscape to see how those at-risk groups fare in good times and bad, what might be ahead for them, what the public and private sectors should do to brighten the outlook for jobs, and what would-be workers can do to improve their chances of securing employment.

First Tuesday: Are State and Local Governments Nearing a New Tax Revolt?
October 07, 2008

Thirty years after Proposition 13 passed, some signs point to another tax revolt. Officially known as the "People's Initiative to Limit Property Taxation," California’s ground-shifting Proposition 13 was widely heralded in 1978 as a model for citizen-driven regulation of state and local taxes. In fact, while Proposition 13 stabilized property tax bills, it shifted power from local governments to the state. The initiative also set rules that contribute to California repeatedly missing its budget deadline, including this year’s delay of almost three months.

First Tuesday: Are You Better Off? Changing Risks and Rewards in Modern America
June 03, 2008

For most of the last generation, economists, policymakers, and journalists trained their sights on a U.S. economy that had recovered from the stagflation of the 1970s and deep recession of the early 1980s to produce sustained, if unevenly distributed, prosperity. But in the last year, prosperity has given way to something that looks much like recession and, worse yet, to the sort of intertwined problems of inflation, stagnating growth, and financial market fragility reminiscent of the 1970s. To date, most explanations for what’s gone wrong have focused on a set of exotic financial schemes, the bursting of a housing bubble, and imbalances in trade and the government budget.

First Tuesday: Dollars for Defense - War, Taxes, and Sacrifice
May 06, 2008

Our time has witnessed the unprecedented combination of tax reductions at home and war abroad. War and Taxes, released May 6 by the Urban Institute Press, chronicles the political arguments, economic conditions, and public opinions that made it possible for previous presidents and Congresses to raise taxes, sell bonds, and cut domestic spending to pay for wars.

First Tuesday: Can Tax Credits Be a Linchpin for Health Reform?
April 02, 2008

In a policy field notoriously beset by ideological and partisan division, one of the few ideas enjoying support across the philosophical spectrum is the use of federal income tax credits to cover the uninsured. The only credit of this sort now available—the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC), serving workers displaced by international trade—aids no more than 15 percent of eligible households. Our expert panel considered what is behind the HCTC's problems and successes; whether Congress should abandon tax credits; and how (if at all) should future tax credits included in health reform be structured to replicate the HCTC's accomplishments and avoid its problems?

First Tuesday: iCame, iSaw, iCrime: Exploring the Personal Technology-Violent Crime Connection
March 04, 2008

Contrary to what many policymakers and citizens may think, complex social forces are not always behind a rise or fall in the crime rate. An Urban Institute analysis (available at http://www.urban.org/url.cfm?ID=411552) offers evidence that the explosion in the use of iPods and other new devices may have triggered the spike in violent crime in 2005 and 2006.

First Tuesday: When Interconnected Needs Confront Fragmented Services
February 05, 2008

Children with disabilities are more likely than other children to live in poverty, live with only one parent, or have parents who are in poor health or unemployed. Our panel of experts discussed the maze of programs and problems confronting children with disabilities and recommended some ways to better coordinate services for this special population.

First Tuesday: Special-Needs Housing for the Frail Elderly and Homeless
January 08, 2008

Panelists discussed the needs of the frail elderly and homeless populations, the missing pieces in housing options, design solutions that can improve accommodations, and ways to better a delivery system that is highly fragmented across jurisdictions and target populations.

First Tuesday: Who Will Hire Me When I'm 64?
December 04, 2007

In recent years, the century-long trend toward lower labor force participation rates at older ages has reversed course, while improved health, jobs' reduced physical demands, relatively lower Social Security benefits, and a continued decline in traditional pension benefits will encourage more people to work longer. But will the right jobs for older workers be there?

First Tuesday: Houston, Do We Really Have a Problem Here?
November 06, 2007

Fifty years after Sputnik went into space and launched thousands of young men and women into science and engineering careers, many are calling for a new "Sputnik Spike" to ensure America's continuing supremacy in global science, engineering, and innovation. But a growing number of researchers contend that U.S. students do quite well compared with students in other countries.

First Tuesday: Next Steps in Providing Benefits to Low-Wage Workers
October 02, 2007

Panelists discussed what is missing from the debate about improving the income, benefits, and related work supports for low-wage workers, especially those with children.

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