An Analysis of Federal Employee Retirement Data

Source: Office of Personnel Management, March 2008

This paper discusses Federal retirement statistics in order to gain a better understanding of the future makeup of the Federal workforce. A significant number of employees are eligible or will become eligible to retire in the near future, making a deeper analysis of the retirement of Federal civilians more timely and meaningful. The findings will hopefully provide valuable insight into workforce planning as the workforce ages and the needs of the Federal Government continue to evolve.

Included among the findings is the median number of years an employee stays with the Government after first becoming eligible to retire is four years. Nearly 25 percent remain for nine or more years.

Managing Risk in Jails

Source: Mark D. Martin, Claire Lee Reiss, U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Corrections, NIC Accession Number 022666, April 2008

From the summary:
“This manual will help jails both to understand risk and its implication for jails and to develop a formal, effective risk management program that uses all of the jail’s basic resources (i.e., human, financial, property, partners, and reputation” (p. v). Chapters following an introduction are: understanding risk and its implications for jails; jail risk management issues and strategies; developing a risk management program; and organizational investments for managing risk. Appendixes provide recommended resources, worksheets (Risk Register, Risk Control Implementation Schedule, and Risk Control Action Plan), and evaluating financing options.
See also:
National Institute of Corrections – Corrections Library

Unemployment Insurance Financing: Examining State Trust Funds Facing Recession

Source: Rick McHugh and Andrew Stettner, National Employment Law Project, Briefing Paper, May 2008

As state UI trust funds face a looming economic downturn, NELP has released a briefing paper today that looks at overall UI financing as well as giving a state-by-state breakdown of current trust fund reserves compared with common UI solvency measures. “Unemployment Insurance Financing: Examining State Trust Funds Facing Recession” looks at the current status of state trust funds and examines the question of why states are less solvent in 2008 than they were prior to the 2001 recession. NELP also describes policies that states should adopt to strengthen their UI financing mechanisms so that UI programs can better assist both jobless workers and a state’s economy during recessions.

Included in the paper are explanations of how UI solvency is measured, comparisons of current state solvency status with each state’s solvency situation prior to the 2001 recession, and findings that 21 states have adequately solvent trust funds while as many as 18 states face serious solvency challenges in an upcoming recession. Michigan, Missouri, New York, and Ohio are the states with the nation’s lowest UI trust fund solvency at this time.

More Older Americans are Poor than the Official Measure Suggests

Source: Sheila R. Zedlewski, Barbara Butrica, Urban Institute, May 15, 2008

From the abstract:
The number of poor adults age 65 and older has declined dramatically since the official poverty rate was designed back in the 1960s. Today the federal government considers fewer than 1 in 10 older adults to be poor, compared with about 1 in 3 in the 1960s. These estimates show the share of people with insufficient income to meet basic living expenses, such as food and housing. However, substantial research shows that the official poverty measure no longer reflects the true resources or needs of older adults.

The lack of an accurate poverty measure for older adults hampers efforts to reform Medicare and Social Security, which face significant revenue shortfalls. Reform proposals often aim to reduce costs by combining benefit cuts with increased cost sharing for older adults. To target any cuts or increased costs to older adults with the greatest ability to pay, an accurate measure of economic well-being is critical.
See also:
Improving The Medicare Savings Programs Would Help Low-Income Seniors Cope With Higher Medical Expenses
Source: Edwin Park and Danilo Trisi, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, May 20, 2008

Insuring New Jersey’s Uninsured

Source: Devon Herrick and John O’Keefe, National Center For Policy Analysis, Brief Analysis, No. 618, May 20, 2008

From the summary:
Individual health insurance policies in New Jersey are among the most costly in the United States due to over-regulation and expensive mandates. Two radically different bills have been proposed recently to reduce the number of uninsured in the state by making health coverage more affordable. One proposal would mandate that individuals purchase insurance. It would also create a comprehensive, state-sponsored plan for those with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid. The other proposal would allow New Jersey residents to purchase low-cost coverage from insurers licensed in other states.

State Handbook of Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Indicators 2008

Source: David Baer, AARP Public Policy Institute, Research Report, Pub ID: D19014, April 2008

From the summary:
As state and local economic conditions and demographic patterns change, policymakers may consider adjusting their policies on taxes and spending programs. These adjustments become more difficult when economic and demographic changes depart from historical trends.

Policymakers, public officials, policy analysts and others concerned about such issues will find useful state-level data on population, poverty rates, per capita state personal income, state and local revenues, expenditures, tax rates, and property tax relief programs in this seventh edition of the AARP Public Policy Institute’s biennial databook by David Baer. Since 1993, the reference book has been contributing to more informed public policy decisions by providing economic, demographic, and fiscal information.

The handbook facilitates state-by-state and state-national comparisons, featuring economic, demographic, and fiscal summaries of the entire United States, each state, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Gender and age comparisons are provided for some of the data. Tables and maps of selected data are included.

School Enrollment in the United States: 2006

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division,
Education & Social Stratification Branch, May 08, 2008

From the press release:
A national-level update of characteristics of the nation’s more than 75 million students. Eight tables include number of students by attributes such as age, sex, race, Hispanic origin, family income, type of college and vocational course enrollment. This Internet-only release comes from data collected each October as part of the Current Population Survey. The full report with analysis of the details is expected later this summer.

Capital Budgeting

Source: Jeffrey Holland and David Torregrosa, Congressional Budget Office, May 2008

This Congressional Budget Office (CBO) paper, prepared at the request of the Chairman of the House Committee on the Budget, analyzes the advantages and disadvantages of adopting a capital budget at the federal level. It also examines implementation issues, including options for defining capital spending.

Employer Health Costs In a Global Economy

Source: Len Nichols, Sarah Axeen, New America Foundation, May 2008

Although most Americans get health insurance through their employers, business leaders are increasingly united in their belief that rising health care costs threaten America’s competitiveness in the global economy. Business support for comprehensive health reform has been growing as a result.

However, economists generally believe that it is workers — rather than employers — who pay for health care through lower wages. Although this proposition may hold true in the long run, employers face a variety of constraints that may make it difficult for them to fully shift health costs in the short run.

Health care costs would not burden firms if they could be shifted to consumers through higher prices. But with globalization and increased competition in international markets, this is not feasible. If employers cannot fully shift health costs onto workers or into prices, then how much they pay matters.

As a percentage of payroll, the employer cost of health benefits has exploded over the past few decades. In addition, employer health costs for manufacturing firms in the United States, $2.38 per worker per hour, were much higher than the foreign trade-weighted average of $0.96 per worker per hour in 2005. Employer health costs make the United States less competitive than it could otherwise be.
See also:
Policy Paper: Employer Health Costs in a Global Economy
Issue Brief: Employer Health Care Burden

Capital Gains and Dividends Tax Cuts Offer Almost No Benefit to Middle-Income Americans and Add to the Nation’s Fiscal Problems

Source: Robert S. McIntyre, Citizens for Tax Justice, May 13, 2008

Presidential candidates, reporters and pundits have lately perpetuated two myths about tax cuts for capital gains and dividends. The first myth is that the middle class benefits from these tax cuts for investment income. The second myth is that these tax cuts, particularly the tax cut for capital gains, have caused federal revenue to actually increase.
See also:
State-by-State Fact Sheets