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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Financing Catastrophic Risk: Summary of the Homeowners' Defense Act of 2009 (S. 505 and H.R. 2555)

Financing Catastrophic Risk: Summary of the Homeowners' Defense Act of 2009 (S. 505 and H.R. 2555)

Date: July 1, 2009
Creator: King, Rawle O.
Description: This report discusses the drastic increase in demand for homeowners' insurance in Atlantic and Gulf Coast states following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. This report also discusses various measures and efforts underway to enhance insurer capacity, pursue alternative forms of risk transfer, and create a national catastrophe financing facility, the last of which is an issue under considerable debate.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Financing Recovery from Large-Scale Natural Disasters

Financing Recovery from Large-Scale Natural Disasters

Date: November 18, 2008
Creator: King, Rawle O.
Description: Two important issues before Congress are (1) securing the nation's capacity to prepare for, respond to, and recover/rebuild from natural catastrophe events, and (2) determining whether and how the federal government should intervene in catastrophe insurance markets. This report focuses on this issue at length, taking into consideration the Gulf Coast hurricanes of 2004 and 2005; a sequence of tornadoes, wildfire, earthquakes, Hurricanes Ike and Gustav, and the 2008 Midwestern floods; and the financial market turmoil in 2008.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Financing the U.S. Trade Deficit: Role of Foreign Governments

Financing the U.S. Trade Deficit: Role of Foreign Governments

Date: June 29, 2009
Creator: Labonte, Marc
Description: The nation's trade deficit is equal to the imbalance between national investment and national saving. The financial turmoil and economic contraction during 2008 reduced the gap between national saving and investment. The result was a decline in the trade deficit and the net inflow of capital. If total net capital inflows decline, mainstream economics suggests, all else held constant, that the dollar and trade deficit would decline, U.S. interest rates would rise, and U.S. spending on capital goods and consumer durables would fall, all else equal.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Hedge Funds: Should They Be Regulated?

Hedge Funds: Should They Be Regulated?

Date: July 2, 2007
Creator: Jickling, Mark
Description: In view of the growing impact of hedge funds on a variety of financial markets, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in October 2004 adopted a regulation that requires hedge funds to register as investment advisers, disclose basic information about their operations, and open their books for inspection. The regulation took effect in February 2006, but on June 23, 2006, a court challenge was upheld and the rule was vacated. S. 1402 and H.R. 2586 would reinstate the SEC's authority. H.R. 2683 would require defined benefit pension plans to disclose investments in hedge funds. In December 2006, the SEC proposed raising the "accredited investor" standard - to be permitted to invest in hedge funds, an investor would need $2.5 million in assets, instead of $1 million.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Hedge Funds: Should They Be Regulated?

Hedge Funds: Should They Be Regulated?

Date: July 13, 2009
Creator: Jickling, Mark
Description: Hedge funds are essentially unregulated mutual funds. They are pools of invested money that buy and sell stocks and bonds and many other assets, including foreign currencies, precious metals, commodities, and derivatives. Hedge funds are structured to avoid Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulation. In view of the growing impact of hedge funds on a variety of financial markets, the SEC in October 2004 adopted a regulation that required hedge funds to register as investment advisers, disclose basic information about their operations, and open their books for inspection. This report discusses various legislation before the 111th Congress that would impose various types and amounts of SEC regulation upon hedge funds.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Labor Market during the Great Depression and the Current Recession

The Labor Market during the Great Depression and the Current Recession

Date: June 19, 2009
Creator: Levine, Linda
Description: This report analyzes the labor market experiences of workers during the 1930s, which encompassed the almost five years of the Great Depression. Because it was a period very distant and different from today, considerable time is devoted to examining the employment and unemployment measures available at that time. The report ends by comparing the labor market conditions of the 1930s with those encountered by workers thus far during the recession that began in December 2007.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Canada's Financial System: An Overview

Canada's Financial System: An Overview

Date: June 26, 2009
Creator: Jackson, James K.
Description: This report discusses the relative stability of Canada's financial system in comparison to the financial systems of other nations around the globe that are suffering from the current financial crisis. This report presents an overview of Canada's financial system and its supervisory framework and draws some distinctions between that system and the current U.S. framework.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
China and the Global Financial Crisis: Implications for the United States

China and the Global Financial Crisis: Implications for the United States

Date: June 3, 2009
Creator: Morrison, Wayne M.
Description: This report discusses the economy of China and how it is has been affected by the recent economic downturn. China has recently enjoyed one of the world's fastest-growing economies and has been a major contributor to world economic growth, but several Chinese industries have been hard by the crisis, and millions of workers have been laid off. This report explores this issue in brief, including what actions the Chinese government is taking to combat the problem, as well as what actions China may take to assist in stabilizing the U.S. economy.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Economic Stimulus: Issues and Policies

Economic Stimulus: Issues and Policies

Date: July 6, 2009
Creator: Gravelle, Jane G.; Hungerford, Thomas L. & Labonte, Marc
Description: Recent policies have sought to contain damages spilling over from housing and financial markets to the broader economy, including monetary policy, which is the responsibility of the Federal Reserve, and fiscal policy, including a tax cut in February 2008 of $150 billion and two extensions of unemployment compensation in June and November of 2008. This report discusses this problem as well as certain interventional measures that the government has taken and is considering taking to combat it, including various fiscal stimulus packages.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Agricultural Disaster Assistance

Agricultural Disaster Assistance

Date: June 29, 2009
Creator: Chite, Ralph M. & Shields, Dennis A.
Description: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers several permanently authorized programs to help farmers recover financially from a natural disaster, including federal crop insurance, the noninsured assistance program (NAP), and emergency disaster loans. The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (otherwise known as the 2008 farm bill) includes authorization and funding for crop disaster programs, livestock assistance programs, and a tree assistance program. The new programs are designed to address the ad hoc nature of disaster assistance provided to producers during the last two decades.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Social Security: Raising the Retirement Age Background and Issues

Social Security: Raising the Retirement Age Background and Issues

Date: June 24, 2002
Creator: Kollmann, Geoffrey
Description: The Social Security "full retirement age" will gradually rise from 65 to 67 beginning with people who attain age 62 in 2000 (i.e., those born in 1938). Early retirement benefits will still be available beginning at age 62, but at lower levels. To help solve Social Security's long-range financing problems, it has been proposed that these ages be raised further.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America: An Overview and Selected Issues

Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America: An Overview and Selected Issues

Date: May 27, 2009
Creator: Villarreal, M. Angeles & Lake, Jennifer E.
Description: The Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) is a trilateral initiative that was launched in March 2005 for the purpose of increasing and enhancing security and prosperity in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. This initiative promoted communication and cooperation across several key policy areas of mutual interest, such as improving certain sectors of the economy, developing higher health and safety standards, and addressing environmental concerns. This report describes this initiative in brief detail, including summaries of several SPP-related meetings between the three countries' leaders.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Tax Credit Bonds: Overview and Analysis

Tax Credit Bonds: Overview and Analysis

Date: April 16, 2009
Creator: Maguire, Steven
Description: Tax Credit Bonds (TCBs) are a type of bond that offers the holder a federal tax credit instead of interest. This report explains the tax credit mechanism and describes the market for the bonds. It also discusses related pieces of legislation and what the most common uses of the proceeds from TCBs are.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Trends in Discretionary Funding

Trends in Discretionary Funding

Date: June 10, 2009
Creator: Austin, D. Andrew & Levit, Mindy R.
Description: Discretionary spending is essentially all spending on federal wages and salaries. Discretionary spending is often divided into defense, domestic discretionary, and international outlays. Defense and domestic discretionary spending compose nearly all of discretionary spending. The Obama Administration contends that many domestic priorities have been underfunded and has proposed some cuts in defense spending. The current economic and financial turmoil, which has led to several major federal interventions, is projected to increase non-defense spending over the next several fiscal years.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Russia's Economic Performance and Policies and Their Implications for the United States

Russia's Economic Performance and Policies and Their Implications for the United States

Date: June 29, 2009
Creator: Cooper, William H.
Description: As has been the case with most of the world's economies, the Russian economy has been hit hard by the current global financial crisis. Even before the financial crisis, however, Russia was showing signs of economic problems. Russian economic policies and performance raise important policy questions for the United States and the U.S.-Russian relationship which this report addresses. Might Russia's robust economic growth return? Is an economically strong Russia a threat or benefit to the United States? Is Russia following economic strategies that promote a market economy that underlies the international trade system manifested in the World Trade Organization?
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The U.S. Newspaper Industry in Transition

The U.S. Newspaper Industry in Transition

Date: July 8, 2009
Creator: Kirchoff, Suzanne M.
Description: This report analyzes the current crises that the U.S. newspaper industry is facing in light of the recent economic downturn and the increasing number of readers who turn to the Internet for their news instead of to traditional media. Congress has begun debating whether the financial problems in the newspaper industry pose a public policy issue that warrants federal action.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
El Salvador: Political, Economic, and Social Conditions and U.S. Relations

El Salvador: Political, Economic, and Social Conditions and U.S. Relations

Date: June 8, 2009
Creator: Seelke, Clare Ribando & Meyer, Peter J.
Description: This report discusses the state of the El Salvadoran government and recently elected President Mauricio Funes. This report also discusses the relationship between El Salvador and the United States, notably U.S. efforts to restore democracy and initiate economic reform in El Salvador. This report also briefly addresses the effects of the current financial crisis on El Salvador's economy, poverty levels, and crime rates.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Organized Crime in the United States: Trends and Issues for Congress

Organized Crime in the United States: Trends and Issues for Congress

Date: May 15, 2009
Creator: Finklea, Kristin M.
Description: This report discusses the threat of organized crime against the United States, most notably organized crime from criminal organizations in Russia, Asia, Italy, the Balkans, the Middle East, and Africa. The report explores the issue of organized crime in relation to the economic downturn and national security, namely terrorism. The report also discusses how Congress is currently working to address these issues and includes information on relevant pieces of legislation.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Preserving Homeownership: Foreclosure Prevention Initiatives

Preserving Homeownership: Foreclosure Prevention Initiatives

Date: July 6, 2009
Creator: Jones, Katie
Description: This report describes the consequences of foreclosure on homeowners, outlines recent foreclosure prevention plans implemented by the government and private organizations, and discusses the challenges associated with foreclosure prevention.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Iceland's Financial Crisis

Iceland's Financial Crisis

Date: November 20, 2008
Creator: Jackson, James K.
Description: On November 19, 2008, Iceland and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) finalized an agreement on a $6 billion economic stabilization program supported by a $2.1 billion loan from the IMF. Iceland's banking system had collapsed as a culmination of a series of decisions the banks made that left them highly exposed to disruptions in financial markets. The collapse of the banks also raises questions for U.S. leaders and others about supervising banks that operate across national borders, especially as it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish the limits of domestic financial markets.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
China and the Global Financial Crisis: Implications for the United States

China and the Global Financial Crisis: Implications for the United States

Date: November 13, 2008
Creator: Morrison, Wayne M.
Description: Over the past several years, China has enjoyed one of the world's fastest growing economies and has been a major contributor to world economic growth. However, the current global financial crisis threatens to slow China's economy. China is a major economic power and holds huge amounts of foreign exchange reserves, and thus it could play a major role in responding to the current crisis. For example, in an effort to help stabilize the U.S. economy, China might boost its holdings of U.S. Treasury securities, which would help fund the Federal Government's purchases of troubled U.S. assets. However, this could raise a number of issues and concerns for U.S. policymakers.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
China and the Global Financial Crisis: Implications for the United States

China and the Global Financial Crisis: Implications for the United States

Date: November 17, 2008
Creator: Morrison, Wayne M.
Description: Over the past several years, China has enjoyed one of the world's fastest growing economies and has been a major contributor to world economic growth. However, the current global financial crisis threatens to slow China's economy. China is a major economic power and holds huge amounts of foreign exchange reserves, and thus it could play a major role in responding to the current crisis. For example, in an effort to help stabilize the U.S. economy, China might boost its holdings of U.S. Treasury securities, which would help fund the Federal Government's purchases of troubled U.S. assets. However, this could raise a number of issues and concerns for U.S. policymakers.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Pakistan's Capital Crisis: Implications for U.S. Policy

Pakistan's Capital Crisis: Implications for U.S. Policy

Date: November 21, 2008
Creator: Martin, Michael F. & Kronstadt, K. Alan
Description: Pakistan - a key U.S. ally in global efforts to combat Islamist militancy - is in urgent need of an estimated $4 billion in capital to avoid defaulting on its sovereign debt. The Pakistani government is seeking short-term financial assistance from a number of sources, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), China, and an informal group of nations (including the United States) known as the "Friends of Pakistan." The current crisis has placed some strain on U.S.-Pakistan relations.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Pakistan's Capital Crisis: Implications for U.S. Policy

Pakistan's Capital Crisis: Implications for U.S. Policy

Date: November 7, 2008
Creator: Martin, Michael F. & Kronstadt, K. Alan
Description: Pakistan - a key U.S. ally in global efforts to combat Islamist militancy - is in urgent need of an estimated $4 billion in capital to avoid defaulting on its sovereign debt. The elected government of President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani is seeking short-term financial assistance from a number of sources, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), China, and an informal group of nations (including the United States) known as the "Friends of Pakistan." The current crisis has placed some strain on U.S.-Pakistan relations.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department