Brief Analyses

Restricted to two letter-size pages, a Brief Analysis summarizes some aspect or aspects of a public policy issue, presenting points for consideration in policy debates or responding to points that have been raised during these debates.

Foreign Investment in the United States and Three Latin American Countries

Individuals and businesses in one country may transfer wealth to another country by investing in its business enterprises; this kind of wealth transfer is called foreign direct investment. Similarly,…

Government Spending Crowds the Private Sector Out and In

Most people assume that increased government spending aids the economy and that cuts in spending will hurt it. Even more fear that government spending cuts might push the economy into a recession. The…

Limiting Retirement Account Growth Would Punish Saving

President Obama’s proposed 2014 budget includes a limit on the growth of tax-advantaged retirement accounts. Though Congress is unlikely to adopt his budget proposal, the idea of limiting retirement a…

Are Corporate Bonds Worth a Look?

In this age of low returns on certificates of deposit and jitters over the stock market, many investors wonder where to put their money. One option is corporate bonds. Corporations issue bonds to fina…

The Pitfalls of Internet Sales Tax Collection

Internet sales accounted for a growing share of consumer spending over the last decade. Now smart phones and wireless networks provide an almost unlimited ability to shop and purchase goods electronic…

The Payroll Tax Holiday

In December 2010 President Obama traded Congress a two-year extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for a one-year, 2 percentage-point payroll tax holiday and additional unemployment benefits. The “Tempora…

The Fiscal Cliff and the Next Recession

On January 1, 2013, taxes will go up and federal spending will be cut as a result of an agreement last summer between House Republicans and President Obama. Under current law, increases in the top rat…

Understanding Job Statistics

Employment dropped dramatically in 2008 and 2009. The economic recovery (in gross domestic product) began in June 2009, but it has been an unusually slow recovery, with job growth even slower. As a re…