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 Decade: 2000-2009
 Year: 2008
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
The Depreciating Dollar: Economic Effects and Policy Response

The Depreciating Dollar: Economic Effects and Policy Response

Date: July 17, 2008
Creator: Elwell, Craig K.
Description: This report addresses the concern about the health of the U.S. economy regarding the depreciation of the dollar and examines the likely reasons for the dollar's fall, the effects the depreciating currency could have on the economy, and possible policy responses that could be considered to attempt to alter the dollar's path if needed.
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The U.S. Trade Deficit: Causes, Consequences, and Cures

The U.S. Trade Deficit: Causes, Consequences, and Cures

Date: April 23, 2008
Creator: Elwell, Craig K.
Description: This report examines the U.S. trade deficit, paying special attention to what causes the imbalance, why it may be a problem, and what can be done to correct it.
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Nonforeign Cost-of-Living Allowances and Possible Transition to Locality Pay

Nonforeign Cost-of-Living Allowances and Possible Transition to Locality Pay

Date: December 1, 2008
Creator: Ginsberg, Wendy R.
Description: This report provides an overview of the history of the nonforeign COLA and locality pay programs; identifies and describes potential changes to the existing nonforeign COLA system, including the possibility of instituting locality pay; and analyzes the potential effects of keeping the existing system or adopting a nonforeign COLA phase-out plan.
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Inflation: Causes, Costs, and Current Status

Inflation: Causes, Costs, and Current Status

Date: May 6, 2008
Creator: Labonte, Marc & Makinen, Gail E.
Description: This report discusses inflation including its causes and effect on the economy. In particular, it brings together broad knowledge from economists to discuss the real costs of inflation on the economy.
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Transatlantic Regulatory Cooperation: A Possible Role for Congress

Transatlantic Regulatory Cooperation: A Possible Role for Congress

Date: November 7, 2008
Creator: Ahearn, Raymond J. & Morelli, Vincent
Description: This report focuses on the creation of the Transatlantic Economic Council; the role of legislatures in the regulatory process; and the Transatlantic Legislators' Dialogue and its new role as an advisor to transatlantic regulatory efforts.
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U.S. Foreign Trade in Services: Definition, Patterns and Policy Challenges

U.S. Foreign Trade in Services: Definition, Patterns and Policy Challenges

Date: July 7, 2008
Creator: Cooper, William H.
Description: This report provides background information and analysis on U.S. foreign trade in services. It includes an examination of definitions and examples of services to indicate their nature and scope; a review of the importance of services to the U.S. economy including U.S. foreign trade; and an analysis of the policy challenges that confront the United States, especially the challenge of negotiating a set of international rules on trade in services and the challenge of resolving disputes over trade in services with trading partners.
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Emergency Economic Stabilization Act: Preliminary Analysis of Oversight Provisions

Emergency Economic Stabilization Act: Preliminary Analysis of Oversight Provisions

Date: October 31, 2008
Creator: Copeland, Curtis W.
Description: This report discusses the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, which provides authority for the Secretary of the Treasury to purchase and insure "troubled assets" to provide stability and prevent disruption in the economy and financial system.
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Inequality in the Distribution of Income: Trends and International Comparisons

Inequality in the Distribution of Income: Trends and International Comparisons

Date: October 20, 2008
Creator: Cashell, Brian W.
Description: This report examines the distribution of income in the United States, including factors that may help explain it, how it has changed over time, and how it compares with those of other countries.
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The Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIG TARP)

The Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIG TARP)

Date: November 5, 2008
Creator: Burrows, Vanessa K.
Description: This report discusses the Special Inspector General provisions in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, H.R. 1424, which was enacted as P.L. 110-343 on October 3, 2008. This Act created a Special Inspector General (SIG) for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). This report will compare the duties and authorities of the SIG TARP to those of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) and the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), as well as statutory IGs under the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended (IG Act).
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Foreign Direct Investment: Current Issues

Foreign Direct Investment: Current Issues

Date: July 14, 2008
Creator: Jackson, James K.
Description: This report presents an overview of current issues related to foreign direct investment in the economy and the development of U.S. policy toward inward and outward direct investment. This report also assesses the role of foreign direct investment in the economy and the costs and benefits of direct investment.
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Economic Slowdown: Issues and Policies

Economic Slowdown: Issues and Policies

Date: October 17, 2008
Creator: Gravelle, Jane G.; Hungerford, Thomas L.; Labonte, Marc; Murphy, Edward V.; Weiss, N. Eric & Whittaker, Julie M.
Description: This report first discusses the current state of the economy, including measures that have already been taken by the monetary authorities, and assesses the need for and potential consequences of fiscal stimulus. The second part of the report reviews the proposals discussed during debate on the recently enacted fiscal stimulus, both those adopted and those considered but not adopted. The various stimulus packages differed somewhat, and the report briefly describes those differences. This section also includes a discussion of the potential elements of a second stimulus proposal, and concludes with a discussion of the macroeconomic effects of the proposals. The final section of the paper discusses recent and proposed financial interventions.
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Financial Market Turmoil and U.S. Macreconomic Performance

Financial Market Turmoil and U.S. Macreconomic Performance

Date: December 3, 2008
Creator: Elwell, Craig K.
Description: This report looks at causes of the 2008 financial crisis and ways that government policy can help to fix it.
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Inflation: Core vs. Headline

Inflation: Core vs. Headline

Date: May 1, 2008
Creator: Labonte, Marc
Description: Inflation measures the rate of change in all prices. Maintaining low and stable inflation is one of the primary goals of macroeconomic policy. But how should inflation be measured? Policymakers, particularly at the Federal Reserve, often refer to core inflation in their policy decisions. Core inflation is commonly defined as a measure of inflation that omits changes in food and energy prices. However, several studies have failed to find core inflation to be a good forecaster of future inflation, casting doubt on the very rationale for relying on it. This report outlines the differences between core inflation and headline inflation.
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Income and Poverty Among Older Americans in 2007

Income and Poverty Among Older Americans in 2007

Date: October 3, 2008
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Description: This report describes the income and poverty status of the 36.8 million Americans age 65 and older who were living in households in 2007. The report also describes how the proportion of total income received from each source differs between high-income individuals and households and low-income individuals and households.
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The Size and Role of Government: Economic Issues

The Size and Role of Government: Economic Issues

Date: March 5, 2008
Creator: Labonte, Marc
Description: This report discusses some of the arguments surrounding the proper size of government that are economic in nature, including the questions of what role the state plays in economic activity and how the economy is affected by government intervention.
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Broadband Internet Regulation and Access: Background and Issues

Broadband Internet Regulation and Access: Background and Issues

Date: May 27, 2008
Creator: Gilroy, Angele A. & Kruger, Lennard G
Description: This is one part in the series of reports that provide a background and analysis, and most recent developments regarding broadband or high-speed Internet access. The report starts out by answering questions; what is broadband and why is it important? This report also discusses broadband technologies, the status of broadband deployment and the related policy issues, as well as the legislation in congress.
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Current Economic Conditions and Selected Forecasts

Current Economic Conditions and Selected Forecasts

Date: May 20, 2008
Creator: Gail E. Makinen
Description: This report contains information regarding the Current Economic Conditions, Recent Macroeconomic Developments, Posture of Monetary and Fiscal Policy, Summary of Current Developments, Sources of GDP Growth, Economic Forecasts 2001, and Promotion of Economic Growth.
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Federal Reserve Interest Rate Changes: 2001-2008

Federal Reserve Interest Rate Changes: 2001-2008

Date: October 29, 2008
Creator: Labonte, Marc & Makinen, Gail E.
Description: The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) decided at its scheduled meeting held on October 29 to lower the target rate for federal funds to 1% from 1½% set at its unscheduled meeting of October 8, 2008. In making its decision to reduce the target, the FOMC stressed the following factors: (1) the pace of economic growth appears to have slowed markedly owing importantly to a softening of consumer spending; (2) business equipment spending and industrial production have weakened; (3) economic slowdowns abroad have dampened the prospects for U.S. exports; (4) intensified strains in financial markets are also likely to further reduce spending; and (5) inflation prospects have improved due to declines in energy and other commodity prices. The next schedule meeting of the FOMC is set for December 11, 2008.
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Who Are the "Middle Class"?

Who Are the "Middle Class"?

Date: October 22, 2008
Creator: Cashell, Brian W.
Description: There is no consensus definition of "middle class," neither is there an official government definition. What constitutes the middle class is relative, subjective, and not easily defined. The mid-point in the distribution is the median, and in 2007 the median household income was $50,233. How far above and below that amount the middle stretches remains an open question. This report explores the various definitions of the middle class and what salary ranges those definitions encompass, as well as related statistics and surveys that support this information.
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H.R. 6076: Home Retention and Economic Stabilization Act of 2008

H.R. 6076: Home Retention and Economic Stabilization Act of 2008

Date: August 29, 2008
Creator: Murphy, Edward Vincent
Description: The Home Retention and Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 would defer foreclosure for eligible mortgage borrowers for up to 270 days. If passed, the bill would give extra time to some borrowers and lenders to consider alternatives to foreclosure, including traditional loss mitigation and participation in the new Federal Housing Administration (FHA) program for refinancing troubled loans. Some policymakers believe that a moratorium on foreclosures could help stabilize housing markets and alleviate problems from the subprime financial turmoil. This report explores this issue in detail and analyzes the individual aspects of the relevant legislation.
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China's Economy and the Beijing Olympics

China's Economy and the Beijing Olympics

Date: August 6, 2008
Creator: Martin, Michael F.
Description: China hosted the 2008 Olympic Summer Games from August 8 to 24, 2008. This report outlines the expected short- and long-term benefits to China's economy, as well as how the Games could possibly enhance China's international image. The report also explores China's current economic conditions and the relative experiences of past host cities.
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The U.S. Financial Crisis: Lessons from Chile

The U.S. Financial Crisis: Lessons from Chile

Date: September 29, 2008
Creator: Hornbeck, J. F.
Description: From 1981-1984, Chile experienced a banking crisis that in relative terms had a cost comparable in size to that perhaps facing the United States today. The Chilean Central Bank acted quickly and decisively in three ways to restore faith in the credit markets. It restructured firm and household loans, purchased nonperforming loans temporarily, and facilitated the sale or liquidation of insolvent financial institutions. These three measures increased liquidity in the credit markets and restored the balance sheets of the viable financial institutions. This report explores this incident in detail and in relation to the current financial situation in the U.S.
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The U.S. Financial Crisis: Lessons from Japan

The U.S. Financial Crisis: Lessons from Japan

Date: September 29, 2008
Creator: Nanto, Dick K.
Description: Japan's five bank bailout packages in the late 1990s may hold some lessons for the United States. Overcoming the crisis in Japan's banks took a combination of capital injections, new laws and regulations, stronger oversight, a reorganization of the banking sector, moderate economic recovery, and several years of banks working off their non-performing loans.
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The U.S. Financial Crisis: Lessons from Sweden

The U.S. Financial Crisis: Lessons from Sweden

Date: September 29, 2008
Creator: Jackson, James K.
Description: In the early 1990s, Sweden faced a large banking and exchange rate crisis which it eventually resolved. Four lessons that emerged from Sweden's experience are: 1) the resolution process must be transparent; 2) the resolution agency must be politically and financially independent; 3) market discipline must be maintained; and 4) there must be a plan to jump-start credit flows in the financial system. This report provides an overview of the Swedish banking crisis and an explanation of the measures Sweden used to restore its banking system to health.
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