“In this episode Dr. Glennon and I talk about how water markets work in the United States. We take a look back at the American legal history that makes water trades difficult and sometimes impossible. Focusing on his new paper “Shopping for Water” prepared for The Hamilton Project we discuss solutions to overcoming that history in order to make water markets a more viable solution for re-allocating water among farmers and between agricultural, industrial, and municipal uses. As well as going in-depth about how trades of water work in the U.S., Glennon shares simple ways we can all conserve water in our daily lives, because it is the first step to making conscious decisions about water at a policy level.”
“Mr. Obama could still make a number of decisions during the rest of his term that affect the production of fossil fuels, from leasing federal land for coal mining and oil and gas drilling to easing the ban on exports of U.S. crude. One potential area for this approach: Michael Greenstone, an economist at the University of Chicago, reckons that the climate damage of coal mined from the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming is five times as great as its market value. The federal government could take those damages into consideration when calculating leases and royalty rates on federal land.”
“Not only do the tax-cutting plans offered by the leading Republican candidates create eye-popping deficits, but some Democratic tax hike proposals don’t quite add up, either. As the Washington Post economics columnist Robert Samuelson reported last week, a Brookings Institution [Gale / Kearney / Orszag] study found that even if the top income tax rate were increased to 50 percent from 39.6 percent, it would cover less than a quarter of the deficit for the 2015 fiscal year, let alone generate funds for increased investment.”
“Washington-based Brookings Institution senior fellow Melissa Kearney said rapidly advancing computer power and automation technology will "change the nature of work and the future of the economy." "Our nation will face new and pressing challenges about how to educate more people for the jobs of the future, how to foster creation of high-paying jobs, and how to support those who struggle economically during the transition," she said in a recent research paper.”
“To get a better breakdown, I consulted the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project, which helpfully compiles career earnings for 80 different college majors, including “philosophy and religious studies.” You can’t compare the earnings for a particular major to a particular occupation, but I charted the median annual earnings for philosophy majors against that of people with an associate’s degree or a high school degree/GED. The associate’s degree data in particular is similar to the BLS data on mean annual wages for welders. (Associate’s degree holders earn slightly more, but it’s close enough to give you an idea.)”
“The Hutchins Center for Fiscal and Monetary Policy at Brookings is having a conference on Tuesday launching an important new volume on federal debt management policy. Just as in the Great War it became clear that war is too important to be left to generals, so too in the Great Recession it became clear that (government) debt management is too important to be left to the parochial world of debt managers.”
“The Hamilton Project, a think tank affiliated with the Brookings Institution, examines the “jobs gap” every month, or the number of jobs needed to return to prerecession employment levels while accounting for new workers entering the labor force.
It estimated that at the end of October, the economy needed around 2.9 million jobs to reach workforce-adjusted, prerecession employment levels. Using the pace of job growth over the prior year, it would take until March 2017 to reach that mark.”
The good news is that recently health care inflation has been at historic lows. As Jason Furman, the chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, put it in a speech to the Hamilton Project last month, “Health care prices have grown at an annual rate of 1.6 percent since the Affordable Care Act was enacted in March 2010, the slowest rate for such a period in five decades, and those prices have grown at an even slower 1.1 percent rate over the 12 months ending in August 2015.”
"The Hamilton Project, a think tank affiliated with the Brookings Institution, examines the “jobs gap” every month, or the number of jobs needed to return to prerecession employment levels while accounting for new workers entering the labor force.
It estimated that at the end of October, the economy needed around 2.9 million jobs to reach workforce-adjusted, prerecession employment levels. Using the pace of job growth over the prior year, it would take until March 2017 to reach that mark."
“A May 2014 policy memo from the Hamilton Project of the Washington, D.C. think tank the Brookings Institution found that in 2010 the United States spent more than $80 billion on corrections expenditures at the federal, state, and local levels. The memo stated in part: ‘Corrections expenditures fund the supervision, confinement,and rehabilitation of adults and juveniles convicted of offenses against the law, and the confinement of persons awaiting trial and adjudication (Kyckelhahn 2013). Total corrections expenditures more than quadrupled over the past twenty years in real terms, from approximately $17 billion in 1980 to more than $80 billion in 2010. When including expenditures for police protection and judicial and legal services, the direct costs of crime rise to $261 billion.”’
“Few consumers get this much help. When researchers at the University of Pennsylvania examined the Obamacare online marketplaces last year, they found only a few that provided some of the tools consumers need. Most marketplaces presented plans in order of the cost of the premium, which doesn’t take other cost sharing into account. (However, California ranked plans according to total cost, Kentucky listed them randomly, and Minnesota ranked them based on best match according to a series of preference questions, similar in spirit to an approach recommended by University of California, Berkeley economists in a recent Brookings [Hamilton Project] policy paper.)”
“Rents, in economics parlance, are extra returns above and beyond what we’d expect in a competitive market. A new paper by Jason Furman, chair of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, and Peter Orszag, former director of the Office of Management and Budget and a current Vice Chairman at Citigroup Inc., presents some evidence that not only have rents increased, but they provide a fundamentally important explanation for rising inequality.”
“Inequality, in other words, has different causes, and, as a result, different cures. Take the U.S. Higher taxes on the rich would help, but maybe not as much as you think. Economists William Gale, Melissa Kearney, and Peter Orszag found that even raising the top tax rate to 50 percent would only undo 3 to 18 percent of the increase in inequality the last 35 years. So while it's true that lower taxes on the rich have played a role in why they have more money after taxes, the bigger one is the fact that they have so much more before taxes. Why is that? Well, it's not clear. The usual suspects are new technologies and globalization, which have created winner-take-all markets. But Orszag, together with Council of Economics Chair Jason Furman, has found that this might be more about winner-take-all companies.”
“If global warming isn’t checked, the team expects average global incomes will be slashed by a quarter by 2100. So whether you’re an Indonesian rice farmer baking in the hot sun or a tech jockey sitting in a cool Silicon Valley office, you can expect your economic prosperity to decline. “The results indicate that societies will need to adapt in ways that are likely to be expensive, or [they will] face even greater damages in terms of lost GDP,” said economist Michael Greenstone of the University of Chicago, who wasn’t involved in the project.”
“In a thought-provoking piece for the Brookings Institution, economist Douglas Elmendorf wrote that it would be unfair to raise the retirement age for low-income workers. “We should protect people of modest means by imposing most of the burden of changes on those who are more affluent,” Elmendorf wrote.”
“The preparation for such legislation can proceed quickly. There is no lack of ideas for upgrading the workforce, backed by thoughtful, credible studies. Examples include the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution, where research has focused on public investment, income inequality, social mobility, and education; or work done at the American Enterprise Institute that focuses on the earned income tax credit, relocation assistance, and work sharing. In addition, there may be programs at the state or municipal level that could be examined for effectiveness and scalability and should be ingredients in this new legislation.”
“The passage of the bill would benefit both prisoners and taxpayers. The U.S. government spends $80 billion federally on prison operations nationwide each year. Taxpayers contribute an estimated $260 per capita on prisons annually, according to a report by The Hamilton Project.”
“The promise of reference pricing goes beyond prescription drugs. In a [Hamilton Project] paper presented at Brookings this month, the Harvard economist Amitabh Chandra, the University of Michigan law professor Nicholas Bagley and I proposed extending the approach to a wider range of medical technologies.”
“Almonte may not have known it, but according to the Federal Reserve - yes, the stately U.S. Federal Reserve - things bode well for her relationship. The Fed recently looked at the correlation between credit scores and relationship duration, in a working paper entitled "Credit Scores and Committed Relationships" by researchers Jane Dokko, Geng Li and Jessica Hayes (1.usa.gov/1PC9Ken). It uncovered some fascinating tidbits.”
“For those reasons, the GAO recommended this summer that Congress consider alternatives to the debt limit. Around the same time, two respected Washington veterans at the Bipartisan Policy Center — former Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico, a Republican, and former Federal Reserve Vice Chairwoman Alice Rivlin, a Democrat — proposed automatically increasing the debt limit when Congress passes a budget.”
“Here's another potential factor to add to the list: credit scores. No, really. A [Jane Dokko] working paper from the Federal Reserve Board, which we originally found via the Washington Post, finds a link between having a high credit score and the likelihood of both entering into a committed relationship, and staying in one…”
“As the world’s financial policymakers convene for their annual meeting on Friday in Peru, the dangers facing the global economy are more severe than at any time since the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers in 2008.”
A new report by The Hamilton Project, an initiative of the Brookings Institution, looks at a proposal to improve the charity-care system in the U.S. Three researchers at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management—David Dranove, Craig Garthwaite, and Christopher Ody—argue that the supply and demand for charity care are not geographically aligned. That is, hospitals with the most resources to offer charity care aren’t in the places where people most need it. In high-income areas, hospitals are better funded and more able to provide charity care. But it’s in the hospitals in low-income areas where the demand is highest.
“David Rubenstein, co-founder and co-chief executive officer at The Carlyle Group, discusses his call for one or two percent U.S. growth in the next year and explains why the country can expect a recession within the next three years. He speaks on "Bloomberg ‹GO›."