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Corporate Expatriation, Inversions, and Mergers: Tax Issues
This report discusses relevant portions of the U.S. corporate income tax system and how inversions have commonly been structured. It also looks at how Congress and Department of the Treasury have reduced the benefits of inversions, including The American Jobs Creation Act, as well as post-2004 inversions and treasury regulations, and policy options.
The State of Campaign Finance Policy: Recent Developments and Issues for Congress
This report includes updated material that emphasizes the issues most prominently before the 113th Congress. It also discusses foundational information about major elements of campaign finance policy.
Tolling U.S. Highways
This report provides a brief history of tolling on federal roads and current law. The report discusses financial realities on toll roads and tolling policy issues.
Changing the Federal Reserve's Mandate: An Economic Analysis
This report discusses a number of implementation issues surrounding an inflation target. These include what rate of inflation to target, what inflation measure to use, whether to set a point target or range, and what penalties to impose if a target is missed.
Changing the Federal Reserve's Mandate: An Economic Analysis
This report discusses a number of implementation issues surrounding an economic inflation target. These include what rate of inflation to target, what inflation measure to use, whether to set a point target or range, and what penalties to impose if a target is missed.
China's Holdings of U.S. Securities: Implications for the U.S. Economy
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, including 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. As a result, such a move could diminish U.S. demand for Chinese products and thus could lower China's economic growth as well.
Evaluating the Current Stance of Monetary Policy Using a Taylor Rule
Oversight of the Federal Reserve's (Fed's) monetary policy decisions rests with Congress. But oversight is encumbered by the absence of a straightforward relationship between interest rates and economic performance. Further, the Fed's policy decisions are discretionary, meaning there is no objective, transparent “yardstick” for evaluating their decisions. A simple rule of thumb guide to monetary policy decisions called a “Taylor rule” is an intuitive way to judge actual policy against some objective, albeit simplistic, ideal. Taylor rules prescribe a federal funds target based on inflation and the output gap (i.e., the difference between actual gross domestic product [GDP] and potential GDP) and can be adjusted to reflect a variety of policy goals.
Finance and the Economy: Occupy Wall Street in Historical Perspective
This report presents examples of political statements about the fundamental costs and benefits of finance and recent economic research that points to aspects of financial activity that may not be advantageous to the real economy. The report does not attempt a comprehensive survey of either literature, but provides a reminder of the breadth of the historical debates that have shaped congressional oversight of financial institutions and markets.
Iraq’s Debt Relief: Procedure and Potential Implications for International Debt Relief
This report discusses the Iraqi debt problem in three parts: [1] overview of the Iraq debt situation following the ouster of the Saddam regime; [2] subsequent debt relief negotiations and their resolution; [3] possible implications for future debt relief cases that arise from Iraq's experience. The implications are: a willingness by the international community to grant a stay on the enforcement of creditor rights; an increased flexibility in Paris Club debt relief decisions; and an unwillingness by successor regimes to claim that their debt is odious and repudiate it.
IMF Reforms: Issues for Congress
Report that provides information about the reforms made by the Board of Governors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in December 2010, Congress's role in the reform process, and how the reforms could affect U.S. interests at the IMF.
Funding and Financing Highways and Public Transportation
This report begins with a discussion of the problems associated with the trust fund financing system (which supports both federal highway and public transportation programs) and then explores possible options for financing surface transportation infrastructure.
Foreign Direct Investment in the United States: An Economic Analysis
Foreign direct investment in the United States declined sharply after 2000, when a record $300 billion was invested in U.S. businesses and real estate. [Note: The United States defines foreign direct investment as the ownership or control, directly or indirectly, by one foreign person (individual, branch, partnership, association, government, etc.) of 10% or more of the voting securities of an incorporated U.S. business enterprise or an equivalent interest in an unincorporated U.S. business enterprise. 15 CFR § 806.15 (a)(1).]
Globalization, Worker Insecurity, and Policy Approaches
This report discusses the trends driving global economic integration, sources of worker insecurity and policy approaches. There appears to be a range of views on the merits of each of these policy approaches and the extent to which they can be designed and implemented in a way that would reduce worker insecurity without undermining the benefits of globalization.
Globalization, Worker Insecurity, and Policy Approaches
Today's global economy, or what many call globalization, has a growing impact on the economic futures of American companies, workers, and families. The current wave of globalization is supported by three broad trends: technology, increase in world supply of labor, and reduced government policies to international trade and investment.
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act: Title VII, Derivatives
This report describes some of the requirements placed on the derivatives market by the Dodd-Frank Act, which provides exceptions to the clearing and trading requirements for commercial end-users, or firms that use derivatives to hedge the risks of their nonfinancial business operations.
Community Services Block Grants (CSBG): Background and Funding
The Administration's FY2012 budget would zero-out certain national activities related to Community Service Block Grant (CSBG), including Rural Community Facilities and Job Opportunities for Low-Income Individuals (JOLI). The budget requests $20 million for Community Economic Development (down from the FY2010 level of $36 million but more than the final FY2011 level of $18 million), and would target these funds toward the multiagency Healthy Food Financing Initiative. The Administration would fund Individual Development Accounts (IDAs, also known as Assets for Independence) at $24 million in FY2012, which is the same level as in FY2010 and FY2011.
An Economic Analysis of Large-Scale Mortgage Refinancing Proposals: A Brief Overview of S. 3522 and S. 3085
This report provides a brief overview of policy proposals for the large-scale refinancing of mortgages for borrowers shut out of traditional financing methods.
Economic Stimulus: Issues and Policies
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.
Federal Securities Law: Insider Trading
Insider trading in securities may occur when a person in possession of material nonpublic information about a company trades in the company's securities and makes a profit or avoids a loss. This report discusses various regulations regarding insider trading violations.
The 2007-2009 Recession: Similarities to and Differences from the Past
According to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the U.S. economy was in a recession for 18 months from December 2007 to June 2009. It was the longest and deepest recession of the post-World War II era. This report provides information on the patterns found across past recessions since World War II to gauge whether and how this recession might be different.
The Fall and Rise of Household Saving
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.
The U.S. Newspaper Industry in Transition
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.
Ending Cash Flow Financing to Egypt: Issues for Congress
This report analyzes this proposed change in U.S. foreign assistance to Egypt; it provides background on the history of cash flow financing (CFF) and reviews various issues for Congress.
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.
Terrorism Risk Insurance: Issue Analysis and Overview of Current Program
Report that looks at the background and current Congressional status of Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002.
Financial Deregulation: Current Status and Legislative Issues
This report reviews deregulation to date and its effects on financial markets. Current policy issues are also identified.
Puerto Rico's Current Fiscal Challenges: In Brief
This report discusses the current state of Puerto Rico's public finances. Puerto Rico faces several fiscal hurdles in 2015. Concerns regarding the sustainability of Puerto Rico's public finances have intensified over the past year, despite several measures taken by the island's government to reduce spending, increase revenues, and restructure its obligations.
Proposals for a Congressional Commission on the Financial Crisis: A Comparative Analysis
This report provides a comparative analysis of six proposed congressional advisory commissions that would investigate various aspects of the recent financial crisis and economic downturn. The report specifically discusses the membership structure, appointment structure, rules of procedure and operation, duties and reporting requirements, powers of the commission, staffing issues, and funding.
Farm Credit Services of America Ends Attempt to Leave the Farm Credit System
This report discusses Farm Credit Services of America's (FCSA) attempt at leaving the Farm Credit System (FCS) — a government-sponsored enterprise — to be bought by a private company. The option to leave the System is allowed by statute under the Farm Credit Act of 1971, as amended, but has been exercised only once, and did not involve an outside purchaser.
Selected Legislative Proposals to Reform the Housing Finance System
This report briefly explains the different approaches to housing finance reform proposed by the three bills, focusing on efforts to replace Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and reform FHA.
Trends in Discretionary Funding
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.
The U.S. Newspaper Industry in Transition
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.
"Robo-Signing" and Other Alleged Documentation Problems in Judicial and Nonjudicial Foreclosure Processes
Recent depositions involving major servicers, including GMAC Mortgage, J.P. Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo, have raised concerns about "robo-signing" -- the practice of having a small number of individuals sign a large number of affidavits and other legal documents submitted to courts and other public authorities by mortgage companies to execute foreclosure. This report explores concerns related to these issues by explaining the mortgage market process, procedural problems that have surfaced during foreclosure proceedings, and other relevant information.
Reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank: Issues and Policy Options for Congress
This report provides background information and potential issues and options for Congress relating to the reauthorization of Ex-Im Bank. The scope of this report is limited to Ex-Im Bank reauthorization issues.
Multilateral Development Banks: How the United States Makes and Implements Policy
This report analyzes how the United States makes policy towards the multilateral development banks (MDBs) and identifies ways by which Congress can shape U.S. policy and influence the activities of the banks themselves.
Economic Crisis in Greece
This report briefly discusses the current economic situation in Greece. Questions about whether Greece will stay in the Eurozone have resurfaced, as the government's stalemate with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Eurozone creditors has reached a critical point.
The Single European Payments Area (SEPA): Implementation Delays and Implications for the United States
This report presents a brief background on the efforts to create the Single European Payments Area (SEPA) by the European government and the banking industry. It assesses the current electronic payments systems from the wholesale (large value) level and the retail (small value) level of payments. The report then examines the attempts to develop the pan- European automated clearinghouse system (PEACH).
Export-Import Bank: Background and Legislative Issues
This report discusses the Export-Import Bank (Ex-In Bank), the chief U.S. government agency that helps finance American exports of manufactured goods and services with the objective of contributing to the employment of U.S. workers.
Multilateral Development Banks: U.S. Contributions FY2000-FY2011
This report shows in tabular form how much the Administration has requested and how much Congress has appropriated for U.S. payments to the multilateral development banks (MDBs) since 2000. It also provides a brief description of the MDBs and the ways they fund their operations. It will be updated periodically as annual appropriation figures are known.
Campaign Financing
This is one report in the series of reports that discuss the campaign finance practices and related issues. Concerns over financing federal elections have become a seemingly perennial aspect of our political system, centered on the enduring issues of high campaign costs and reliance on interest groups for needed campaign funds. The report talks about the today’s paramount issues such as perceived loopholes in current law and the longstanding issues: overall costs, funding sources, and competition.
The U.S. Financial Crisis: The Global Dimension with Implications for U.S. Policy
This report examines the global ramifications of the financial crisis, which exposed fundamental weaknesses in financial systems worldwide, and despite coordinated easing of monetary policy by governments and trillions of dollars in intervention by governments and the International Monetary Fund, the crisis continues.
Iceland's Financial Crisis
This report discusses the banking collapse in Iceland. Iceland's banking system had collapsed as a result of 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 raised questions for U.S. leaders and others about supervising banks that operate across national borders, especially as it has become increasingly difficult to distinguish the limits of domestic financial markets.
China's Currency Devaluation
This report discusses China's recent changes to its method for determining the value of its currency (the renminbi). On Tuesday, August 11, 2015, the People's Bank of China (PBC), China's central bank, surprised global financial markets by lowering the reference rate of the renminbi, effectively depreciating the currency.
Glass-Steagall Act: Commercial vs. Investment Banking
This report discusses debate over reform of the Nation's financial structure in the 100th Congress includes re-examination of "the separation of banking and commerce." This separation was mandated by the Glass-Steagall Act (part of the Banking Act of 1933); and was carried forward into the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended in 1970 and thereafter. The resulting isolation of banking from securities was designed to (1) maintain the integrity of the banking system; (2) prevent self-dealing and other financial abuses; and (3) limit stock market speculation. By half a century later, the "wall" it created seemed to be crumbling, as bankers created new financial products resembling securities, and securities firms innovated new financial products resembling loans and deposits. The ongoing process of "financial deregulation" has evoked calls for Congress to give depository institutions new powers, especially in the securities field. Financial deregulation in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Japan has put additional pressure on Congress to re-examine this Act. Concerns over a seemingly fragile system of depository institutions persist, however, tending to place counter-pressure on Congress to maintain the Act.
The Stability of the International Banking System
No Description Available.
The Stability of the International Banking System
No Description Available.
Effects of Flat Taxes and Other Proposals on Housing: An Overview
Studies have estimated that some of these revisions would cause a decline in demand for houses and significant reduction in house prices--perhaps in excess of 15 percent. These studies, however, presumed a fixed supply of housing; even a limited supply response would greatly decrease predicted asset price effects. Supply response is likely to be large in the long run and not insignificant in the short run. Effects on housing demand might also be mitigated by increases in savings rates and lower interest rates. Thus, effects of the flat tax on housing prices are likely to be limited in the short run and very small in the long run. Rental housing demand, on the other hand, would be encouraged with a shift to a consumption tax base.
The Abandoned Mine Land Fund: Grants Distribution and Issues
The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA, P.L. 95-87), enacted in 1977, established reclamation standards for all coal surface mining operations, and for the surface effects of underground mining. It also established the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) program to promote the reclamation of sites mined and abandoned prior to the enactment of SMCRA. To finance reclamation of abandoned mine sites, the legislation established fees on coal production. These collections are divided into federal and state shares; subject to annual appropriation, AML funds are distributed annually to states with approved reclamation programs. This report describes the distribution of these funds and the various issues that arise from said distribution.
U.S. Direct Investment Abroad: Trends and Current Issues
The United States is the largest investor abroad and the largest recipient of direct investment in the world. Some observers believe U.S. firms invest abroad to avoid U.S. labor unions or high U.S. wages, however, 70% of U.S. foreign direct investment is concentrated in high income developed countries. Even more striking is the fact that the share of investment going to developing countries has fallen in recent years. Most economists conclude that direct investment abroad does not lead to fewer jobs or lower incomes overall for Americans and that the majority of jobs lost among U.S. manufacturing firms over the past decade reflect a broad restructuring of U.S. manufacturing industries.
Financing the U.S. Trade Deficit
The U.S. merchandise trade deficit is a part of the overall U.S. balance of payments, a summary statement of all economic transactions between the residents of the United States and the rest of the world, during a given period of time. Some Members of Congress and other observers have grown concerned over the magnitude of the growing U.S. merchandise trade deficit and the associated increase in U.S. dollar-denominated assets owned by foreigners. This report provides an overview of the U.S. balance of payments, an explanation of the broader role of capital flows in the U.S. economy, an explanation of how the country finances its trade deficit or a trade surplus, and the implications for Congress and the country of the large inflows of capital from abroad.