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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
The Bush Tax Cuts and the Economy
The George W. Bush Administration enacted a series of tax cuts through the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 and the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003. This report examines these tax cuts within the context of the current and long-term economic environment. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31367/
The Mexican Economy After the Global Financial Crisis
This report provides an overview of Mexico's economy post-financial crisis, effects of the global economic downturn, structural and other challenges in the Mexican economy, and implications for the United States. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31368/
Trade Preferences: Economic Issues and Policy Options
Since 1974, Congress has created multiple trade preference programs designed to foster economic growth and development in less developed countries. Congress conducts regular oversight of these programs, often revising and extending them. This report discusses the major U.S. trade preference programs, their possible economic effects, stakeholder interests, and legislative options. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31379/
The TANF Emergency Contingency Fund
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 created an Emergency Contingency Fund (ECF) within the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant. The fund expired on September 30, 2010. It helped states, Indian tribes, and territories pay for additional costs of providing economic aid to families during the current economic downturn for FY2009 and FY2010. This report describes the TANF ECF as well as proposals offered in 2010 to extend and modify TANF emergency funding. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29579/
China's Sovereign Wealth Fund: Developments and Policy Implications
China's ruling executive body, the State Council, established the China Investment Corporation (CIC), a sovereign wealth fund, in September 2007 to invest $200 billion of China's then $1.4 trillion in foreign exchange reserves. Congress and financial analysts raised concerns about the CIC after its creation, partly because it was a comparatively large sovereign wealth fund, partly because it was government-owned, and partly because it reported directly to the State Council. These concerns raise question about U.S. policies on inward foreign direct investment (FDI) and the global competitiveness of U.S. financial institutions. Certain commentators suggest that more should be done to protect the United States from China's rising role in international capital markets. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29612/
North Korea: Legislative Basis for U.S. Economic Sanctions
This report discusses the economic sanctions the United States imposes on North Korea for activities related to weapons proliferation, destabilizing the region, anti-terrorism, and undemocratic governance. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29611/
U.S. International Trade: Trends and Forecasts
This report discusses the U.S. trade deficit in light of the 2008 global financial crisis, with emphasis on international trade and U.S. trade policy, most recent developments in trade of goods and service, trade forecasts for the future, and how issues such as the U.S. trade deficit and international trade, particularly with China, are commonly perceived. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29678/
Turkmenistan: Recent Developments and U.S. Interests
This report examines the political, economic, and foreign policies undertaken by Turkmenistan's President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, who came to power in late 2006. The report discusses U.S. policy and assistance and provides basic facts and biographical information. It may be updated. Related products include CRS Report RL33458, Central Asia: Regional Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29503/
Turkmenistan: Recent Developments and U.S. Interests
This report examines the political, economic, and foreign policies undertaken by Turkmenistan's President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, who came to power in late 2006. The report discusses U.S. policy and assistance and provides basic facts and biographical information. It may be updated. Related products include CRS Report RL33458, Central Asia: Regional Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29504/
Job Growth During the Recovery
Congress in recent years passed a number of bills intended in part to jump-start a recovery in the labor market from the recession that began in December 2007. Policymakers are interested in how employment has responded to stimulus measures to determine how effective the legislation has been and to decide whether additional job creation legislation is warranted. This report discusses this topic in brief. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29610/
The Federal Debt: An Analysis of Movements from World War II to the Present
This report will define the measures of debt, discuss the reasons why debt levels change, and use historical examples to illustrate the factors causing debt movements over the last seven decades. Recent policies that have affected the budgetary outlook and the debt will also be discussed. Finally, this report will examine the long-term U.S. debt outlook and implications of rising federal debt levels. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29718/
Structure and Functions of the Federal Reserve System
This report examines the structure and operations of the major components of the Federal Reserve System and provides an overview of congressional oversight activities. The report identifies the provisions of P.L. 111-203 (the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act) that affect the structure and operations of the system. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29727/
The Bush Tax Cuts and the Economy
The George W. Bush Administration enacted a series of tax cuts through the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 and the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003. This report examines these tax cuts within the context of the current and long-term economic environment. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29603/
The Bush Tax Cuts and the Economy
The George W. Bush Administration enacted a series of tax cuts through the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 and the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003. This report examines these tax cuts within the context of the current and long-term economic environment. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29604/
The Debt Limit: History and Recent Increases
This report discusses how the total debt of the federal government can increase, an historical overview of debt limits, and how the current economic slowdown has led to higher deficits and thereby a series of debt limit increases, as well as legislation related to these increases. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29646/
U.S. Government Agencies Involved in Export Promotion: Overview and Issues for Congress
This report provides an overview of the federal agencies that participate in U.S. export promotion efforts and the issues that they raise for Congress. It proceeds first by discussing the coordination, budgets, and functions of federal government agencies involved in promoting exports. Next, the report provides an overview of the missions and activities of key federal government agencies that support exports. The last section of the report discusses agency-related issues for Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29636/
Financial Regulatory Reform: Analysis of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) as Proposed by the Obama Administration and H.R. 3126
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26183/
Countercyclical Job Creation Programs
To counter the effect of recessions on workers, Congress has passed legislation to spur job creation through increased spending on public works (infrastructure) and public service programs, revenue sharing with state governments, and employment tax credits. Although the economic stimulus measure enacted during the 110th Congress did not include these direct job creation approaches, additional spending on infrastructure in particular was considered before Congress recessed. (See CRS Report RL34349, Economic Slowdown: Issues and Policies, coordinated by Jane G. Gravelle et al.) Infrastructure spending continues to be mentioned in the context of a second stimulus package, as do state and local government revenue sharing and a jobs tax credit. The focus of this report is on the four countercyclical job creation approaches and related legislation enacted since the Great Depression's end. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26027/
The Iran Sanctions Act (ISA)
This report discusses the increasing international pressure on Iran to curb its nuclear program and how that pressure discourages foreign firms from investing in Iran's energy sector, hindering Iran's efforts to expand oil production. This report discusses the history and progress of the formal U.S. effort to curb energy investment in Iran, which began with the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) in 1996. This report also discusses U.S. concerns that other nations, e.g., U.S. allies, Russia, and China, are not as strict with their economic sanctions against Iran, and how U.S. policymakers are combating this reticence with various pieces of legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26309/
The Labor Market during the Great Depression and the Current Recession
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26169/
The Financial Crisis: Impact on and Response by the European Union
According to the most recent National Threat Assessment, the global financial crisis and its geopolitical implications pose the primary near-term security concern of the United States. Over the short run, both the EU and the United States are attempting to resolve the financial crisis while stimulating domestic demand to stem the economic downturn. These efforts have born little progress so far as the economic recession and the financial crisis have become reinforcing events, causing EU governments to forge policy responses to both crises. This report discusses this situation in detail and also discusses individual efforts by both the U.S. and EU to combat the effects of the crisis. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26139/
The Global Financial Crisis: Analysis and Policy Implications
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26286/
Canada's Financial System: An Overview
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26178/
China and the Global Financial Crisis: Implications for the United States
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26347/
Panama: Political and Economic Conditions and U.S. Relations
This report discusses the current political and economic conditions in the country of Panama, which has made notable political and economic progress since the 1989 U.S. military intervention that ousted the regime of General Manuel Noriega from power. The United States has close relations with Panama, stemming in large part from the extensive linkages developed when the canal was under U.S. control. This report describes the U.S.-Panama relationship at length, including trade relations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26063/
The Former Soviet Union and U.S. Foreign Aid: Implementing the Assistance Program, 1992-1994
In fiscal year 1994, the new states of the former Soviet Union became collectively the second largest recipient of U.S. foreign assistance made available from all sources. Whether and how the assistance program is helping to bring about democratic systems and free market economies is increasingly a question of interest to Congress and the public at large. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26073/
China-U.S. Trade Issues
This report discusses the U.S.-China economic relationship and China's rapid expansion as a global economic market, both with respect to the current global economic crisis. It also examines major U.S.-China trade issues and related legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26239/
Russia's Economic Performance and Policies and Their Implications for the United States
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? digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26276/
The United Arab Emirates (UAE): Issues for U.S. Policy
This report describes the open economy and society of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as well as U.S. concern over proliferation of advanced technology due to said open economy and the UAE's lax export controls. This report describes these issues in relation to a recently-signed U.S.-UAE civilian nuclear agreement. It also provides a general description of the UAE's government and political structure, as well as the effects of the recent global economic downturn on the UAE in general and on the city of Dubai in particular. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26321/
North Korea: Economic Leverage and Policy Analysis
This report discusses the current political and economic state of North Korea, especially in regards to cooperative international efforts to dismantle North Korea's nuclear program and its trading relationships with China and Russia, especially. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26219/
The Size and Role of Government: Economic Issues
The appropriate size and role of the government is one of the most fundamental and enduring debates in American politics. What role does the state play in economic activity? How is the economy affected by government intervention? Many of the arguments surrounding the proper size of government are economic in nature, and they will be discussed in this report. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26213/
China's Currency: A Summary of the Economic Issues
This report explores various aspects of the Chinese economy, including specific policies that some Members of Congress consider a form of currency manipulation, the U.S.-China economic relationship, and the state of the Chinese economy with respect to the current global economic crisis. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26318/
Financing the U.S. Trade Deficit: Role of Foreign Governments
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26324/
The Global Financial Crisis: Analysis and Policy Implications
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26285/
Iceland's Financial Crisis
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10825/
"Fast Track" Parliamentary Procedures of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act
The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (Division A of H.R. 1424, P.L. 110-343) empowers the Secretary of the Treasury to purchase certain "troubled assets" as a means to stabilize the economy. This report examines this procedure and explains how it differs from the regular parliamentary mechanisms of the House and Senate. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10823/
The Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIG TARP)
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). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10817/
The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act's Insurance for Troubled Assets
Many observers trace the root cause of recent instability in financial markets to uncertainty surrounding the value of widely held securities that are based on mortgages and mortgage-related assets. The introduction of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (EESA) was designed to address said financial instability through a variety of measures, including an insurance program for "troubled assets." This report briefly summarizes and analyzes the insurance program contained in the enacted version of the EESA. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10806/
Financial Turmoil: Comparing the Troubled Asset Relief Program to the Federal Reserve's Response
As financial conditions have deteriorated over the past year, the Federal Reserve (FeD) has greatly increased its lending to financial firms. It has also expanded the scope of eligible borrowers to include non-bank financial firms. Some have asked why these loans have not restored financial stability, and if the purchase of up to $700 billion of distressed assets through the recently enacted Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) might lead to a different result. Financial assistance to financial firms entails considerable risks to taxpayers. This report analyzes the risks and possible benefits of federally-assisted loans to banks and financial firms, especially in light of the financial crisis that came to a head in September 2008. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10804/
The U.S. Financial Crisis: Lessons from Sweden
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10800/
Financial Market Intervention
Financial markets continue to experience significant disturbance and the banking sector remains fragile. Efforts to restore confidence have been met with mixed success thus far. After attempting to deal with troubled institutions on a case-by-case basis, Treasury has proposed a plan to purchase mortgage-related assets to alleviate stress in financial markets and in the banking system. This report provides answers to some frequently asked questions concerning the financial disruptions of September 2008 and the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) in H.R. 3997. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10801/
The U.S. Financial Crisis: Lessons from Chile
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10799/
The U.S. Financial Crisis: Lessons from Japan
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10798/
Proposal to Allow Treasury to Buy Mortgage-Related Assets to Address Financial Instability
Financial markets underwent severe stress during the week of September 15 - 22, 2008. After Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy and AIG received a bridge loan from the Federal Reserve, policymakers reassessed their case-by-case approach to resolving financial problems. Secretary of the Treasury Paulson announced a plan to allow Treasury to purchase mortgage-related assets from U.S. financial institutions. The announced intent of the plan is to unclog financial markets, increase the health of the banking sector, and reduce ongoing risks to the economy. This report discusses a draft of the proposal as it stood on September 21, 2008, and analyzes frequently asked questions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10796/
The Cost of Government Financial Interventions, Past and Present
In response to ongoing financial turmoil that began in the subprime mortgage-backed securities market, the federal government has intervened with private corporations on a large scale and in an ad hoc manner three times from the beginning of 2008 through September 19, 2008. These interventions have prompted questions regarding the taxpayer costs and the sources of funding. The federal government may or may not end up seeing a positive fiscal contribution from the recent interventions. The results of previous government financial interventions are summarized in this report. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10795/
U.S. Foreign Aid to the Palestinians
In response to ongoing financial turmoil that began in the subprime mortgage-backed securities market, the federal government has intervened with private corporations on a large scale and in an ad hoc manner three times from the beginning of 2008 through September 19, 2008. These interventions have prompted questions regarding the taxpayer costs and the sources of funding. The federal government may or may not end up seeing a positive fiscal contribution from the recent interventions. The results of previous government financial interventions are summarized in this report. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10794/
H.R. 6076: Home Retention and Economic Stabilization Act of 2008
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10787/
China's Economy and the Beijing Olympics
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10782/
Inflation: Core vs. Headline
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10704/
Who Are the "Middle Class"?
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10697/