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How Much Can Later Retirement Help?
As the average age of the population continues to rise in industrialized nations, the fiscal impacts of aging demand ever-closer attention. Closing the Deficit examines one oft-discussed approach to the issue encouraging people to work longer than they now do.
Workers would spend more years paying taxes and fewer years drawing pension and health benefits. But how much difference to spending and revenues would longer working lives make? What steps could be taken to make longer working lives attractive? And what would happen to older Americans not in a position to prolong their work lives? Leading scholars examine these issues in Closing the Deficit, edited by Brookings economists Gary Burtless and Henry Aaron.
U.S. Telecommunications since the 1996 Telecom Act
The 1996 Telecommunications Act was an attempt to increase competition among telecommunications providers in the United States by reducing regulatory barriers to market entry. This competition was expected to drive innovation in the telecommunications sector and reap economic benefits for both American consumers and telecommunications providers. The legislation, however, had a markedly different impact. While many of the more aggressive providers enjoyed sharp short-term rises in stock market values, they soon faced sudden collapse, leaving consumers with little or no long-term benefit.
In Competition and Chaos, Robert W. Crandall analyzes the impact of the 1996 act on economic welfare in the United States and how the act and its antecedents affected the major telecommunications providers. He argues that the act was far too stringent, inviting the Federal Communications Commission and state regulators to micromanage competitive entry into local telecommunications markets. Combined with the bursting of the dot.com and telecom stock market bubbles, this aggressive policy invited new and existing firms to invest billions of dollars unwisely, leading to the 200102 collapse of equity values throughout the sector. New entrants into the market invested more than $50 billion in unproductive assets that were quickly wiped out through massive failures. The 1996 act allowed the independent long-distance companies, such as MCI and AT& T, to live a few years longer. But today they are a threatened species, caught in a downward spiral of declining prices and substantial losses. The industry is preparing for an intense battle for market share among three sets of carriers: the wireless companies, the local telephone carriers, and the cable television businesses. Each has its own particular advantage in one of the three major segments of the market voice, data, and video but none is assured a clear path to dominance. Although the telecom stock market collapse is now history and the survivors are investing once again, Crandall concludes that the regulators have failed to adapt to the chaos to which they contributed.
Weak States and U.S. National Security
Former Brookings Senior Fellow Susan E. Rice spearheads an investigation of the connections between poverty and fragile states and the implications for American security. Coedited by Rice and former Brookings colleagues Corinne Graff and Carlos Pascual, Confronting Poverty is a timely reminder that alleviating global poverty and shoring up weak states are not only humanitarian and economic imperatives, but key components of a more balanced and sustainable U.S. national security strategy.
Rice elucidates the relationship between poverty, state weakness, and transnational security threats, and Graff and Pascual offer policy recommendations. The book's overarching conclusions highlight the need to invest in poverty alleviation and capacity building in weak states in order to break the vicious cycle of poverty, fragility, and transnational threats.
Confronting Poverty grows out of a project on global poverty and U.S. national security that Rice directed at Brookings from 2002 through January 2009, before she became U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations.
It has been nearly a half century since President Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty. Back in the 1960s tackling poverty "in place" meant focusing resources in the inner city and in rural areas. The suburbs were seen as home to middle- and upper-class families affluent commuters and homeowners looking for good schools and safe communities in which to raise their kids. But today's America is a very different place. Poverty is no longer just an urban or rural problem, but increasingly a suburban one as well. In Confronting Suburban Poverty in America, Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube take on the new reality of metropolitan poverty and opportunity in America.
After decades in which suburbs added poor residents at a faster pace than cities, the 2000s marked a tipping point. Suburbia is now home to the largest and fastest-growing poor population in the country and more than half of the metropolitan poor. However, the antipoverty infrastructure built over the past several decades does not fit this rapidly changing geography. As Kneebone and Berube cogently demonstrate, the solution no longer fits the problem.
The spread of suburban poverty has many causes, including shifts in affordable housing and jobs, population dynamics, immigration, and a struggling economy. The phenomenon raises several daunting challenges, such as the need for more (and better) transportation options, services, and financial resources. But necessity also produces opportunity in this case, the opportunity to rethink and modernize services, structures, and procedures so that they work in more scaled, cross-cutting, and resource-efficient ways to address widespread need. This book embraces that opportunity.
Kneebone and Berube paint a new picture of poverty in America as well as the best ways to combat it. Confronting Suburban Poverty in America offers a series of workable recommendations for public, private, and nonprofit leaders seeking to modernize poverty alleviation and community development strategies and connect residents with economic opportunity. The authors highlight efforts in metro areas where local leaders are learning how to do more with less and adjusting their approaches to address the metropolitan scale of poverty for example, integrating services and service delivery, collaborating across sectors and jurisdictions, and using data-driven and flexible funding strategies.
"We believe the goal of public policy must be to provide all families with access to communities, whether in cities or suburbs, that offer a high quality of life and solid platform for upward mobility over time. Understanding the new reality of poverty in metropolitan America is a critical step toward realizing that goal." from Chapter One
Shaping the Law to Realize America's Promise
"Bill Coleman's story is one that younger generations should mark and inwardly digest, lest they forget the pioneers who helped to make a better America possible." From the Foreword by Stephen G. Breyer
William Coleman has spent a lifetime opening doors and breaking down barriers. He has been an eyewitness to history; moreover, he has made history. This is his inspiring story, in his own words.
Americans of color faced daunting barriers in the 1940s. Despite graduating first in his class at Harvard Law and clerking for Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, Coleman was shut out of major East Coast law firms. But as the Philadelphia native writes, "The times, they were a'changing." He not only benefited from that change he helped propel it, by way of dogged determination, undeniable intellect, and stellar accomplishment.
Coleman's legal work with Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund helped jumpstart the civil rights movement in the 1950s. He was the first American of color to clerk for the Supreme Court, and later served as senior counsel to the Warren Commission, investigating the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In 1975 he was appointed secretary of transportation by President Gerald Ford the first American of color to serve in a Republican cabinet and in 1995 he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Bill Clinton.
At his core, Bill Coleman is a lawyer. He strives to be a "counsel for the situation" an advocate able to take on major matters in a variety of legal disciplines while upholding the highest traditions of justice and the public interest. He is fiercely proud of the legal profession's role in a democratic society and free economy, and he is grateful for the opportunities that profession has afforded him in the court room, the board room, and the corridors of power. It is through this prism that he relates his own story his life and the law.
The results speak for themselves, and in this immensely entertaining chronicle, the Counsel for the Situation speaks for himself.
Art Works in Economic Development
Urban and regional planners, elected officials, and other decisionmakers are increasingly focused on what makes places livable. Access to the arts inevitably appears high on that list, but knowledge about how culture and the arts can act as a tool of economic development is sadly lacking. This important sector must be considered not only as a source of amenities or pleasant diversions, but also as a wholly integrated part of local economies. Employing original data produced through both quantitative and qualitative research, Creative Communities provides a greater understanding of how art works as an engine for transforming communities.
"Without good data and analysis much of it grounded in economic theory we cannot hope to strengthen communities through the arts or to achieve any of the other goals we set for the National Endowment for the Arts, the largest nationwide funder of the arts." from the Foreword by Rocco Landesman
Contributors: Hasan Bakhshi (Nesta UK), Elisa Barbour (University of California, Berkeley), Shiri M. Breznitz (Georgia Institute of Technology), Roland J. Kushner (Muhlenberg College), Rex LaMore (Michigan State University), James Lawton (Michigan State), Neil Lee (Nesta UK), Richard G. Maloney (Boston University), Ann Markusen (University of Minnesota), Juan Mateos-Garcia (Nesta UK), Anne Gadwa Nicodemus (Metris Arts Consulting), Douglas S. Noonan (Indiana UniversityPurdue University Indianapolis), Peter Pedroni (Williams College), Amber Peruski (Michigan State), Michele Root-Bernstein (Michigan State), Robert Root-Bernstein (Michigan State), Eileen Roraback (Michigan State), Michael Rushton (Indiana University), Lauren Schmitz (New School for Social Research), Jenny Schuetz (University of Southern California), John Schweitzer (Michigan State), Stephen Sheppard (Williams College), Megan VanDyke (Michigan State), Gregory H. Wassall (Northeastern University)
U.S.-European Strategy for the Greater Middle East
The greater Middle East region is beset by a crescent of crises, stretching from Pakistan through Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Together, these five crises pose the most pressing security challenges faced by the United States and its European allies ranging from terrorism and weapons proliferation to the rise of fundamentalism and the lack of democracy. Until now, Europe and the United States have approached these issues (indeed, the Middle East as a whole) in differing ways, with little effective coordination of policy. In fact, how best to deal with the greater Middle East has emerged as one of the most contentious issues in U.S.-European relations. The need for a common approach to the region is more evident than ever. This book brings together some of Europe and America's leading scholars and practitioners in an effort to develop a common approach to resolving the five major crises in the region. European and American authors provide succinct and fact-filled overviews of the different crises, describe U.S. and European perspectives on the way forward, and suggest ways in which the United States and Europe can better cooperate. In the conclusion, the editors synthesize the different suggestions into a roadmap for U.S.-European cooperation for addressing the challenges of the Greater Middle East in the years ahead. Contributors include Stephen Cohen (Brookings Institution), James Dobbins (RAND), Toby Dodge (University of London), Martin Indyk (Saban Center at Brookings), Kenneth Pollack (Saban Center at Brookings), Jean-Luc Racine (Center for the Study of India and South Asia), Barnett Rubin (New York University), Yezid Sayigh (University of Cambridge), and Bruno Tertrais (Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique).
Strategic Approaches to Cooperation
Approaching an uncertain future without Fidel Castro, and still reeling from a downturn at the end of the cold war, Cuba must act decisively to improve its economy and living conditions. One of the major challenges facing the impoverished island nation is securing access to energy resources that are sufficient to meet the needs of its revitalization and development goals. What steps can Cuba take to achieve both short- and long-term energy sustainability and self-sufficiency? In this timely analysis, Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado and his colleagues answer that question.
Cuba's Energy Future sets the geostrategic context within which Cuba is operating. The book provides an overview of the evolving relations among Caribbean states and explains why Cuba and its longtime nemesis the United States should look for ways to cooperate on developing energy resources. The possible role of oil companies is explored, as is Cuba's energy relationship with Hugo Chavez's Venezuela.
The second section of Cuba's Energy Future features economic and technical appraisals, economic projections, and trends affecting Cuba's energy needs, including oil and natural gas potential, the country's antiquated electric power sector, and the role of biofuels such as sugarcane ethanol. The concluding section focuses on the conditions necessary for, and the mutual benefits of, greater cooperative engagement with the United States.
Contributors: Juan A. B. Belt (Chemonics International, formerly USAID), Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado (University of NebraskaOmaha and University of Georgia), Amy Myers Jaffe (Rice University), Jorge R. Piñón (Florida International University), Ronald Soligo (Rice University).
Organized Crime and Political Finance in Latin America and Beyond
The relationship between criminal syndicates and politicians has a long history, including episodes even from the earliest years of America's colonies. But while organized crime may not get the headlines it once did in North America, the resurgence of such criminal activity in Latin America, and in some European nations, has grabbed the public's attention.
In Dangerous Liaisons noted scholars describe and analyze the role of organized crime in the financing of politics in selected democracies in Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Mexico) and in Europe (Bulgaria and Italy). The book seeks to unravel the myths that have developed around crime in these locales, while providing facts and informing the debate on how organized crime corrupts democratic institutions, especially in relation to the funding of political parties and their activities.
Among the subjects studied in detail are the role of organized crime in political finance through the lens of Argentina's presidential campaigns of 1999 and 2007; Brazil's elected officeholders and their role in corruption; the weakness of Colombia's democracy; the growing role of money in Costa Rica's politics; the destructive effects of drug money on Mexican institutions; the link between organized crime narrowly and broadly understood and political financing in Bulgaria; and crime and political finance in Italy.
The work of the scholars corrects what volume editor Kevin Casas-Zamora calls "a glaring gap in the literature on the role of organized crime in the corruption of democratic institutions." That is, the funding of political parties and their activities which in these cases are mostly election campaigns. The chapters not only present the evidence but also can be regarded as a call to action.
Contributors include Leonardo Curzio (CISAN/UNAM), Donatella della Porta (European University Institute), Delia Ferreira Rubio (a member of the international board of directors of Transparency International), Mauricio Rubio (a researcher at the External University of Colombia), Daniel Smilov (Center for Liberal Strategies, Sofia), Bruno Wilhelm Speck (University of Campinas), and Alberto Vannucci (University of Pisa).
The Case for Limited National Missile Defense
Arms control and missile defense are once again at the forefront of the American national security agenda. Not surprisingly, the debate has broken down along well-worn lines. Arms control advocates dismiss the idea of missile defense as a dangerous and costly folly. Missile defense advocates argue that the U.S. should move aggressively to defend itself against missile attack. With clear and lively prose free of partisan rhetoric, Defending America provides reliable, factual analysis of the missile defense debate. Written for a general audience, it assesses the current and likely future missile threat to the United States, examines relevant technologies, and suggests how America's friends and foes would react to a decision to build a national missile defense. Lindsay and O'Hanlon reject calls for large-scale systems as well as proposals to do nothing, instead arguing for a limited national missile defense.