With each passing release of housing-related data, the picture becomes bleaker for the estimated 1.8 million homeowners with subprime mortgages whose interest rates have reset this year or are due to reset before the end of next year. Many of these borrowers and their families hold the 22 percent of adjustable rate subprime loans currently delinquent or the 3.84 percent of subprime loans that entered foreclosure in the second quarter of this year. For those still current on their loans, they can look forward to increases in monthly payments averaging 30 percent to 50 percent when their rates reset. There have been a number of proposals offered to help these and other troubled borrowers, but the range of solutions suggested to date still leaves a significant number of families without any solution to their problems. For more of CAP's work on the current housing crisis please visit THE CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS http://www.AMERICANPROGRESS.org
Heather Boushey of the Center for American Progress debunks some of the myths and falsehoods making the rounds of talk radio & the cable news programs on the stimulus bill.
This recession has the potential to be deeper and more protracted than most other recessions. The Federal Reserve can normally encourage economic activity by lowering the cost of borrowing, but these tools are not as effective as they are in more typical recessions because of the crisis facing the financial sector.
The Federal Reserve has already used up its most common ammunition to boost the economy—the Federal Funds Rate. It lowered the Federal Funds Rate to about zero percent in December 2008 from 5.25 percent in August 2007. Even so, economists are forecasting that economic growth will continue to be negative in 2009, and the end of the economic downturn is nowhere in sight.
What’s more, U.S. families began this recession with less to fall back on than in prior recessions because of existing economic weaknesses. Income growth had been weak, and Americans had more debt and fewer assets than at the beginning of prior recessions. Since consumers make up over 70 percent of the U.S. economy, the weakness of family finances will likely hamper the economy’s ability to recover quickly.
Why does a stimulus and recovery plan help?
The recovery and reinvestment package is designed to break the cycle of job loss and economic decline. An economy suffering from lack of demand needs a jump-start. The stimulus allows the government to step in and create demand by making purchases itself; it directly puts people back to work and gets money into people’s pockets so they can spend again. Businesses begin, in turn, to hire and make investments as they regain confidence that there is a market for what they produce. The downward spiral becomes an upward spiral.
What are the criteria for an effective stimulus?
An economic recovery package should be large enough to address the problem, timely, targeted to cost-effective uses, and use taxpayer dollars responsibly.
Large enough to address the problem
Economists are now generally convinced that the stimulus package must be equal to at least 2 to 4 percent of gross domestic product, which is about $300 to $600 billion annually.
Head of President Obama’s National Economic Council Lawrence Summers suggested in early 2008 that any stimulus package must be “timely, targeted, and temporary.” This logic was applied to the stimulus package passed in March 2008, which provided $160 billion of tax rebate checks. Yet economic conditions have continued to worsen and it is clear that it will take more than a few months to solve the problems facing our economy. A “timely” recovery package should therefore be focused on the next 18 to 24 months.
Investments should increase demand and generate jobs. If the problem is that firms are not seeing demand for goods and services, the most effective package will create demand. The best demand and job creators are investments in infrastructure and green jobs, as well as aid to the states. Such investments will also indirectly increase demand because every dollar spent is spent again by whomever receives the funds.
The government can only spend so much responsibly in a short period of time, however. Tax cuts are therefore a useful addition to the package—although they would otherwise be a second-best approach—because they put money into people’s pockets that, if spent, will spur demand. The most effective tax cuts are those that go to lower- and middle-income families that need the money most and are thus most likely to spend it. (See Krugman, Romer, and Bernstein, and Zandi.)
The government is committing trillions of dollars to the economic recovery through a stimulus package and by shoring up the financial sector. It is imperative that the public knows this money is being well spent. This can be accomplished both by having appropriate supervision of the spending and by keeping the public and media well informed about where the money goes.
On September 29, TechAmerica and the Career College Association hosted a CEO Roundtable focused on Building the Health IT Workforce in the U.S. House of Representatives Rayburn Office Building in Washington, DC.
Health IT is much on the minds of policymakers for lowering healthcare costs and improving quality. At every rung of the healthcare delivery ladder, IT-enabled devices and systems have the potential to make a critical difference. And with the Obama Administration poised to make major investments in this field, the stakes are higher than ever.
Are the people in place with the education and skills needed to realize the potential of healthcare IT? How will it change the state of practice? How will healthcare delivery models evolve? Will the human capital be readily available to assure successful implementation and longer term maintenance? Will healthcare practitioners from physicians to technicians have the education and skills necessary to realize the upside potential? TechAmerica, in partnership with the Career College Association, is pleased to host an event designed to explore the human capital side of the healthcare IT equation.
Moderated by Claire Shipman, Senior National Correspondent, ABC News, this event features:
Aneesh Chopra, Assistant to the President and CTO, Executive Office of the President
U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz
Harris N. Miller, CEO/President, Career College Association
Phil Bond, President, TechAmerica
JoAnn Klinedinst, Vice President, Education, HIMSS
Dr. Art Keiser, Chancellor, Keiser University
Duncan Anderson, President and CEO, Education Affiliates
Linda Kloss, CEO, American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)
Geoff Brown, CIO, Inova Health System
W. Stephen Love, CEO, Dallas-Ft. Worth Hospital Council
Category: Science & Technology
The Partnership for Public Service presented nine Service to America Medals to outstanding civil servants for their high-impact contributions critical to the safety, health and well-being of Americans – at a Washington, D.C. gala held in their honor, September 19.
The Service to America Medals have earned a reputation as one of the most prestigious awards dedicated to celebrating America’s civil servants.
The top medal - Federal Employee of the Year - went to Dr. Douglas Lowy and Dr. John Schiller, renowned NIH scientists whose discoveries led to new cervical cancer vaccines. Cervical cancer is the number two cause of death among women, worldwide.
Additional Service to America Medals were awarded to public servants who boast achievements in fighting nuclear terrorism; cancer research; weapons technology; nuclear waste cleanup; foreign affairs; public housing – and helping wounded soldiers use technology to re-enter the workforce, through the world’s largest electronics accommodations program.
Medalists come from the Departments of Justice, Defense, State, Energy, HUD, Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, and the Navy. They work and live in Washington D.C., Annapolis, Cincinnati, Denver, and Tampa.
“The Service to America Medals are important because they tell the true stories of the remarkable work that our federal employees do each and every day. There is not a day that passes where government does not touch our lives in some way – whether it is securing our homeland, or conducting cutting edge research to cure disease,” said Max Stier, Partnership for Public Service President.
"Working New York" is a half-hour talk show designed to inform the general public of policies, issues and initiatives important to working men and women and their families. The program airs the first and third Wednesday of each month. The program is hosted by New York State AFL-CIO President Denis Hughes and addresses a wide range of social, political and economic issues from the point of view of working people. The show attracts a diverse collection of guests from the worlds of politics, literature, entertainment, and of course labor.