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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
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.
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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.
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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?
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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.
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The Global Financial Crisis: Analysis and Policy Implications

The Global Financial Crisis: Analysis and Policy Implications

Date: July 2, 2009
Creator: Nanto, Dick K.
Description: The world has entered a global recession that is causing widespread business contraction, increases in unemployment, and shrinking government revenues. The process for coping with the crisis by countries across the globe has been manifest in four basic phases. The first has been intervention to contain the contagion and restore confidence in the system. The second has been coping with the secondary effects of the crisis, particularly the global recession and flight of capital from countries in emerging markets and elsewhere that have been affected by the crisis. The third phase of this process is to make changes in the financial system to reduce risk and prevent future crises. The fourth phase of the process is dealing with political, social, and security effects of the financial turmoil. The role for Congress in this financial crisis is multifaceted. This report describes this role, as well as the financial crisis in general, in detail.
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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.
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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.
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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 China's mixed record on human rights: major human rights problems, new human rights legislation, and the development of civil society, legal awareness, and social and political activism. This report discusses major areas of interest but does not provide an exhaustive account of all human rights abuses or related incidents.
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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.
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The Global Financial Crisis: Analysis and Policy Implications

The Global Financial Crisis: Analysis and Policy Implications

Date: July 10, 2009
Creator: Nanto, Dick K.
Description: The world has entered a global recession that is causing widespread business contraction, increases in unemployment, and shrinking government revenues. The crisis has exposed fundamental weaknesses in financial systems worldwide, demonstrated how interconnected and interdependent economies are today, and has posed vexing policy dilemmas. This report describes the financial crisis in detail, including various countries' methods of coping with and adapting to the situation; the role of Congress in the solution and recovery process; and the Obama Administration proposal for financial regulatory reform.
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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.
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East Asia's Foreign Exchange Rate Policies

East Asia's Foreign Exchange Rate Policies

Date: July 16, 2009
Creator: Martin, Michael F.
Description: This report examines the de facto foreign exchange rate policies adopted by the monetary authorities of East Asia. In some cases, there is a perceived discrepancy between the official (de jure) exchange rate policy and the observed de facto exchange rate policy. This report will focus primarily on the de facto exchange rate policies.
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Financial Regulatory Reform: Analysis of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) as Proposed by the Obama Administration and H.R. 3126

Financial Regulatory Reform: Analysis of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) as Proposed by the Obama Administration and H.R. 3126

Date: July 17, 2009
Creator: Carpenter, David H. & Jickling, Mark
Description: This report provides a brief summary of the President's Consumer Financial Protection Agency Act of 2009 (the CPFA Act or the Act) and delineates some of the substantive differences between it and H.R. 3126, as introduced. It then analyzes some of the policy implications of the proposal, focusing on the separation of safety and soundness regulation from consumer protection, financial innovation, and the scope of regulation. The report then raises some questions regarding state law preemption, sources of funding, and rule-making procedures that the Act does not fully answer.
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The OECD Initiative on Tax Havens

The OECD Initiative on Tax Havens

Date: July 24, 2009
Creator: Jackson, James K.
Description: This report examines the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and its role in changes to U.S. laws related to bribery, tax havens.
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China's Holdings of U.S. Securities: Implications for the U.S. Economy

China's Holdings of U.S. Securities: Implications for the U.S. Economy

Date: July 30, 2009
Creator: Morrison, Wayne M. & Labonte, Marc
Description: This report examines the importance to the U.S. economy of China's investment in U.S. securities, as well as U.S. concerns over the possibility that China might unload a large share of those holdings, the likelihood that this would occur, and the potential implications such action could have for the U.S. economy. The report concludes that a large sell-off of Chinese Treasury securities holdings could negatively affect the U.S. economy, at least in the short-run.
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Financial Regulation and Oversight: Latin American Financial Crises and Reform Lessons from Chile

Financial Regulation and Oversight: Latin American Financial Crises and Reform Lessons from Chile

Date: August 11, 2009
Creator: Hornbeck, J. F.
Description: This report discusses Latin American financial crises and the lessons from comprehensive regulatory reform undertaken by Chile.
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Insurance Regulation: Issues, Background, and Legislation in the 111th Congress

Insurance Regulation: Issues, Background, and Legislation in the 111th Congress

Date: August 19, 2009
Creator: Webel, Baird
Description: This report discusses congressional and action on insurance regulation in the wake of the recent financial crisis. Although the financial crisis has changed the focus of the debate surrounding insurance regulatory reform, many of the pre-crisis pressures for regulatory changes continue.
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Social Security Administration: Administrative Budget Issues

Social Security Administration: Administrative Budget Issues

Date: August 20, 2009
Creator: Scott, Christine
Description: The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers the Social Security program (Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance, or OASDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, and provides administrative support to Medicare and several other federal programs. Total SSA spending in FY2008 was about $658 billion, about 99% of which was mandatory spending on benefit payments. This report focuses on SSA’s administrative spending, which is discretionary and amounts to about 1% of SSA’s total spending. This funding is provided in the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill.
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Social Security: What Would Happen If the Trust Funds Ran Out?

Social Security: What Would Happen If the Trust Funds Ran Out?

Date: August 20, 2009
Creator: Scott, Christine
Description: This report looks at ways to overhaul the Social Security system due to a projected lack of system funds, which are estimated to become exhausted in 2041.
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The Global Financial Crisis: Analysis and Policy Implications

The Global Financial Crisis: Analysis and Policy Implications

Date: August 21, 2009
Creator: Nanto, Dick K.
Description: This report provides a historical account and analysis of the crisis through August 17, 2009. While business contraction appears to have abated, unemployment is shown to be on the rise and many businesses and countries are still facing difficulties.
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Financial Market Supervision: European Perspectives

Financial Market Supervision: European Perspectives

Date: August 25, 2009
Creator: Jackson, James K.
Description: This report addresses the European perspectives on a number of proposals that are being advanced for financial oversight and regulation in Europe. The European experience may be instructive because financial markets in Europe are well developed, European firms often are competitors of U.S. firms, and European governments have faced severe problems of integration and consistency across the various financial structures that exist in Europe.
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The Fall and Rise of Household Saving

The Fall and Rise of Household Saving

Date: September 1, 2009
Creator: Cashell, Brian W.
Description: This report begins by showing how the household saving rate has varied in recent years. Next, it explains how household saving is measured, and it provides some detail on how saving varies across the income distribution. Finally, it discusses factors that may account for the long decline in household saving, as well as prospects for its recovery.
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Financial Regulatory Reform: Analysis of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) as Proposed by the Obama Administration and H.R. 3126

Financial Regulatory Reform: Analysis of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) as Proposed by the Obama Administration and H.R. 3126

Date: September 9, 2009
Creator: Carpenter, David H. & Jickling, Mark
Description: This report provides a brief summary of the President's Consumer Financial Protection Agency Act of 2009 and delineates some of the substantive differences between it and H.R. 3126, as introduced. It then analyzes some of the policy implications of the proposal, focusing on the separation of safety and soundness regulation from consumer protection, financial innovation, and the scope of regulation.
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The Global Financial Crisis: Analysis and Policy Implications

The Global Financial Crisis: Analysis and Policy Implications

Date: October 2, 2009
Creator: Nanto, Dick K.
Description: This report provides a historical account and analysis of the crisis through September 25, 2009. While business contraction appears to have abated, unemployment is shown to be on the rise and many businesses and countries are still facing difficulties.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department