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Tax Credit Bonds: A Brief Explanation

Description: This report provides a brief explanation on tax credit bonds (TCBs). The first section of this report examines the mechanics of TCBs in more detail. The second section of this report analyzes the market for TCBs relative to municipal and corporate bonds.
Date: August 20, 2008
Creator: Maguire, Steven
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008

Description: This report discusses the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, P.L. 110-289, which changes many laws affecting both the housing and mortgage markets. It also surveys the most important changes caused by the act.
Date: August 19, 2008
Creator: Weiss, N. E.; Getter, Darryl E.; Jickling, Mark; Keightley, Mark P. & Foote, Bruce E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Tax Expenditures and the Federal Budget

Description: This report discusses tax expenditures, the federal budget and the reform of the federal tax system and provides tax expenditure analysis. The perception that the federal tax system is too complex and unfair could lead to public support for tax reform. Past efforts to reform the federal tax system have included policies to rein in the use and expense of tax expenditures--the special deductions, exclusions, exemptions, and credits resulting in revenue losses.
Date: August 19, 2008
Creator: Hungerford, Thomas L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Comparing Global Influence: China's and U.S. Diplomacy, Foreign Aid, Trade, and Investment in the Developing World

Description: This report compares the People's Republic of China's (PRC) and U.S. projections of global influence, with an emphasis on non-coercive means or "soft power," and suggests ways to think about U.S. foreign policy options in light of China's emergence.
Date: August 15, 2008
Creator: Lum, Thomas; Blanchard, Christopher M.; Cook, Nicolas & Coipuram, Thomas, Jr.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Foreign Direct Investment in the United States: An Economic Analysis

Description: Foreign direct investment in the United States1 declined sharply after 2000, when a record $300 billion was invested in U.S. businesses and real estate. In 2007, according to Department of Commerce data, foreigners invested $237 billion. Foreign direct investments are highly sought after by many State and local governments that are struggling to create additional jobs in their localities. While some in Congress encourage such investment to offset the perceived negative economic effects of U.S. firms investing abroad, others are concerned about foreign acquisitions of U.S. firms that are considered essential to U.S. national and economic security.
Date: August 15, 2008
Creator: Jackson, James K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

U.S. Direct Investment Abroad: Trends and Current Issues

Description: 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.
Date: August 15, 2008
Creator: Jackson, James K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Multilateral Development Banks: U.S. Contributions FY1998-2009

Description: This report shows in tabular form how much the Administration requested and how much Congress appropriated during the past 11 years for U.S. payments to the multilateral development banks (MDBs). It also provides a brief description of the MDBs and the ways they fund their operations. It will be updated periodically. Three companion reports provide further information on the MDBs. See CRS Report RS20793, Multilateral Development Banks: Basic Background, CRS Report RS20791, Multilateral Development Banks: Procedures for U.S. Participation, and CRS Report RS22134 International Financial Institutions: Funding U.S. Participation.
Date: August 8, 2008
Creator: Sanford, Jonathan E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Campus-Based Student Financial Aid Programs Under the Higher Education Act

Description: This report begins by providing a brief description of each of the campus-based programs, including the terms under which financial aid is awarded to students and the procedures under which federal funds are allocated to institutions for that purpose. It then provides historical information on federal funds appropriated for each of the programs, an analysis of the number and types of students served, and selected program statistics. It concludes with a discussion of amendments to the campus-based programs proposed in S. 1642 and H.R. 4137.
Date: July 30, 2008
Creator: Smole, David P.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Credit Default Swaps: Frequently Asked Questions

Description: Credit default swaps are contracts that provide protection against default by third parties, similar to insurance. These financial derivatives are used by banks and other financial institutions to manage risk. The rapid growth of the derivatives market, the potential for widespread credit defaults (such as defaults for subprime mortgages), and operational problems in the over-the-counter (OTC) market where credit default swaps are traded, have led some policymakers to inquire if credit default swaps are a danger to the financial system and the economy. This report defines credit default swaps, explains their use by banks for risk management, and discusses the potential for systemic risk.
Date: July 30, 2008
Creator: Murphy, Edward Vincent
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Islamic Finance: Overview and Policy Concerns

Description: The international market for Islamic finance has grown between 10% to 15% annually in recent years. Islamic finance historically has been concentrated in the Persian Gulf countries, but has expanded globally to both Muslim and non-Muslim countries. There is a small but growing market for Islamic finance in the United States. Through international and domestic regulatory bodies, there has been effort to standardize regulations in Islamic finance across different countries and financial institutions, although challenges remain. Critics of Islamic finance express concerns about possible ties between Islamic finance and political agendas or terrorist financing and the use of Islamic finance to circumvent U.S. economic sanctions. Proponents argue that Islamic finance presents significant new business opportunities and provides alternate methods for capital formation and economic development.
Date: July 29, 2008
Creator: Ilias, Shayerah
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Future Role of U.S. Trade Policy: An Overview

Description: The United States has become increasingly integrated with the rest of the world economy. This integration has offered benefits and presented challenges to U.S. business, agriculture, labor, and consumers. Those who can compete in the more integrated economy have enjoyed opportunities to broaden their success, while those who are challenged by increased foreign competition have been forced to adjust and some have exited the market or relocated overseas. Some observers contend that, in order to remain globally competitive, the United States must continue to support trade liberalization policies, while assisting those hurt by trade. Others have raised doubts over whether free trade policies benefit the U.S. economy. This report provides an overview and background on the debate over the future course of U.S. trade policy.
Date: July 24, 2008
Creator: Morrison, Wayne M. & Cooper, William M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

China's "Hot Money" Problems

Description: China has experienced a sharp rise in the inflow of so-called "hot money," foreign capital entering the country supposedly seeking short-term profits, especially in 2008. Chinese estimates of the amount of "hot money" in China vary from $500 billion to $1.75 trillion. The influx of "hot money" is contributing to China's already existing problems with inflation. Efforts to reduce the inflationary effects of "hot money" may accelerate the inflow, while actions to reduce the inflow of "hot money" may threaten China's economic growth, as well as have negative consequences for the U.S. and global economy.
Date: July 21, 2008
Creator: Martin, Michael F. & Morrison, Wayne M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Campaign Finance Law and the Constitutionality of the "Millionaire's Amendment": An Analysis of Davis v. Federal Election Commission

Description: In a 5-to-4 decision, the Supreme Court struck down a provision of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), also known as the McCain-Feingold law, establishing increased contribution limits for congressional candidates whose opponents significantly self-finance their campaigns. This provision is frequently referred to as the "Millionaire's Amendment." The Court found that the burden imposed on expenditures of personal funds is not justified by the compelling governmental interest of lessening corruption or the appearance of corruption and, therefore, held that the law is unconstitutional in violation of the First Amendment.
Date: July 17, 2008
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Depreciating Dollar: Economic Effects and Policy Response

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.
Date: July 17, 2008
Creator: Elwell, Craig K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Community Development Block Grants: Legislative Proposals to Assist Communities Affected by Home Foreclosures

Description: In response to the rising number of home mortgage foreclosures, several bills have been introduced during the 110th Congress that would provide additional federal assistance to state and local governments with high concentrations of foreclosed homes, subprime mortgage loans, and delinquent home mortgages. At least one of these proposals, H.R. 3221, as passed by the Senate, includes provisions that would use the framework of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to channel an additional $4 billion in assistance to state and local governments. This provision faces an uncertain future; objections to it have been raised by the Bush Administration and others, contending that the assistance will result in the rescue of lenders and speculators.
Date: July 15, 2008
Creator: Boyd, Eugene & Gonzales, Oscar R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's Financial Problems: Frequently Asked Questions

Description: Recent turmoil in the housing and financial markets have caused concern over the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are chartered by Congress as government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) and are widely believed to have an implicit guarantee from the federal government. The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) -- the GSEs safety and soundness regulator -- has repeated assurances that Fannie and Freddie have adequate capital, but as highly leveraged financial intermediaries, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have limited resources against losses. This report analyzes various aspects of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in relation to the financial turmoil that began in September 2008.
Date: July 15, 2008
Creator: Weiss, N. Eric
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Highway Bridges: Conditions and the Federal/State Role

Description: This report examines the federal and state roles in the maintenance, inspection, reconstruction, and replacement of the nation's highway bridge infrastructure, as well as the emergency response and reconstruction role of the Department of Transportation (DOT). The report first describes what is known about the condition of the nation's bridges and whether the problem of structural deficiency is improving or worsening. It then briefly describes the programmatic and budgetary context, including federal efforts to reduce the number of deficient bridges, and examines highway bridge spending. The report discusses issues Congress is facing face in light of the I-35W bridge collapse and the emergence of questions about the appropriateness and effectiveness of related federal infrastructure policies, programs, and spending. Finally, the report describes a number of legislative initiatives that have been proposed.
Date: July 15, 2008
Creator: Kirk, Robert S. & Mallett, William J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Primer on Energy Derivatives and Their Regulation

Description: Prices of oil and other energy commodities are set in futures and derivatives markets, where producers, commercial users, and financial speculators buy and sell contracts whose value is linked to the price of the underlying commodity. Trading occurs on regulated futures exchanges and in a largely unregulated over-the-counter (OTC) market; both forms of trading are global in scope. This report presents basic information about these markets, the instruments traded, the regulatory framework, speculation, and current legislative proposals.
Date: July 15, 2008
Creator: Jickling, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Foreign Direct Investment: Current Issues

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.
Date: July 14, 2008
Creator: Jackson, James K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Foreign Investment in U.S. Securities

Description: This report analyzes the extent of foreign portfolio investment in the U.S. economy and assesses the economic conditions that are attracting such investment and the impact such investments are having on the economy.
Date: July 14, 2008
Creator: Jackson, James K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Future Role of U.S. Trade Policy: An Overview

Description: The United States has become increasingly integrated with the rest of the world economy. This integration has offered benefits and presented challenges to U.S. business, agriculture, labor, and consumers. Those who can compete in the more integrated economy have enjoyed opportunities to broaden their success, while those who are challenged by increased foreign competition have been forced to adjust and some have exited the market or relocated overseas. Some observers contend that, in order to remain globally competitive, the United States must continue to support trade liberalization policies, while assisting those hurt by trade. Others have raised doubts over whether free trade policies benefit the U.S. economy. This report provides an overview and background on the debate over the future course of U.S. trade policy.
Date: July 14, 2008
Creator: Morrison, Wayne M. & Cooper, William M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Public-Private Partnerships in Highway and Transit Infrastructure Provision

Description: This report begins with a brief discussion of the surface transportation system and its financing needs as background to the debate on public-private partnerships (PPPs). That is followed by sections describing the different types of PPPs, with details of a few prominent examples, and the development of federal legislation with respect to PPPs. The report then discusses the main issues of contention with the construction and longterm leasing of highways by the private sector, particularly as they relate to the funding, planning, and operation of the surface transportation system, before providing some policy options Congress may wish to consider.
Date: July 9, 2008
Creator: Mallett, William J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department