World Publics Welcome Global Trade — But Not Immigration

Source: Pew Global Attitudes Project, October 4, 2007

From the summary:
The publics of the world broadly embrace key tenets of economic globalization but fear the disruptions and downsides of participating in the global economy. In rich countries as well as poor ones, most people endorse free trade, multinational corporations and free markets. However, the latest Pew Global Attitudes survey of more than 45,000 people finds they are concerned about inequality, threats to their culture, threats to the environment and threats posed by immigration. Together, these results reveal an evolving world view on globalization that is nuanced, ambivalent, and sometimes inherently contradictory.

See also:
Trend Topline: Includes current results as well as trends from previous surveys

Influenza Pandemic: Further Efforts Are Needed to Ensure Clearer Federal Leadership Roles and an Effective National Strategy, August 14, 2007

Source: Report to Congressional Requesters, United States Government Accountability Office, GAO-07-781, August 2007

An influenza pandemic is a real and significant potential threat facing the United States and the world. Pandemics occur when a novel virus emerges that can easily be transmitted among humans who have little immunity. In 2005, the Homeland Security Council (HSC) issued a National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza and, in 2006, an Implementation Plan. Congress and others are concerned about the federal government’s preparedness to lead a response to an influenza pandemic. This report assesses how clearly federal leadership roles and responsibilities are defined and the extent to which the Strategy and Plan address six characteristics of an effective national strategy. To do this, GAO analyzed key emergency and pandemic-specific plans, interviewed agency officials, and compared the Strategy and Plan with the six characteristics GAO identified.

September 11: Improvements Needed in Availability of Health Screening and Monitoring Services for Responders, September 10, 2007

Source: Cynthia A. Bascetta, testimony before the Subcommittee on Government Management, Organization, and Procurement, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, House of Representatives, United States Government Accountability Office, GAO-07-1229T, September 10, 2007

Six years after the attack on the World Trade Center (WTC), concerns persist about health effects experienced by WTC responders and the availability of health care services for those affected. Several federally funded programs provide screening, monitoring, or treatment services to responders. GAO has previously reported on the progress made and implementation problems faced by these WTC health programs.

The Poor Will Always Be With Us, Just not on the TV news

Source: Steve Rendall and Neil deMause, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, September 7, 2007

According to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data, 37 million Americans–one in eight–lived below the federal poverty line in 2005, defined as an annual income of $19,971 for a family of four. Yet poverty touches a far greater share of the population over the course of their lives: A 1997 study by University of Michigan economist Rebecca Blank found that one-third of all U.S. residents will experience government-defined poverty within a 13-year period. The poorest age group is children, with more than one in six living in official poverty at any given time.

Recent Financial Market Disruptions: Implications for the Economy and American Families

Source: Brookings Institution, Hamilton Project Roundtable, September 26, 2007

In recent months, problems with subprime mortgages have spilled over to the housing sector and financial markets more generally. These events have created widespread concerns about the hardships facing homeowners and potential risks to the overall economy. They have also raised near-term questions about how to best address economic risk, and provoked longer-term questions about the adequacy of current regulations and consumer protections.

On September 26th, The Hamilton Project at The Brookings Institution will convene a roundtable discussion with experts to help frame the challenges currently facing housing and the financial markets- where we are, what it means for the U.S. economy, possible next steps for recovery, and ways to minimize future problems.

Socioeconomic Position and Health: The Differential Effects of Education versus Income on the Onset versus Progression of Health Problems

Source: Pamela Herd, Brian Goesling, James S. House, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Volume 48, Number 3, September 2007
(subscription required)

This article seeks to elucidate the relationship between socioeconomic position and health by showing how different facets of socioeconomic position (education and income) affect different stages (onset vs. progression) of health problems. The biomedical literature has generally treated socioeconomic position as a unitary construct. Likewise, the social science literature has tended to treat health as a unitary construct. To advance our understanding of the relationship between socioeconomic position and health, and ultimately to foster appropriate policies and practices to improve population health, a more nuanced approach is required–one that differentiates theoretically and empirically among dimensions of both socioeconomic position and health. Using data from the Americans’ Changing Lives Study (1986 through 2001/2002), we show that education is more predictive than income of the onset of both functional limitations and chronic conditions, while income is more strongly associated than education with the progression of both.

See also:
Education, Wealth Have Different Effects On Health
Source: Anne Harding, Reuters Health, September 28, 2007

“Crowd-Out” Is Not The Same As Voluntarily Dropping Private Health Insurance For Public Program Coverage

Source: Leighton Ku, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, September 27, 2007

As leading health policy experts have explained, under the fragmented U.S. health insurance system, virtually any effort to cover more of the uninsured — including efforts that rely on tax deductions or credits for the purchase of health insurance in the private market, as well as public program expansions — will result in some “crowd-out” (in the substitution of one type of health insurance for another) or in more heavily subsidizing people who are already insured, rather than in extending coverage to those who are uninsured. For example, an analysis of the Administration’s health tax proposals from last year by the noted health economist Jonathan Gruber estimated that 77 percent of the benefits would go to people who already are insured.

Navigating State and Local Finances

Source: Susan Kellam, Kim Rueben, Therese J. McGuire, Urban Institute, September 28, 2007

From the abstract:
Past trends will not foretell the future, but charting how state and local finances weathered the 2001 recession suggests viable ways to navigate going forward. Lacking the deficit finance ability of the federal government, states and localities must set a spending course based on anticipated taxes and revenues. An unexpected crisis–like the stock bubble burst at the beginning of this century and the subsequent economic slowdown–that throws budgets into fiscal chaos requires such unpopular bailouts as tax increases or cuts in services and welfare. Did that happen?

Changing Systems : Outcomes from the RWJF Reclaiming Futures Initiative on Juvenile Justice and Substance Abuse

Source: Jeffrey A. Butts, and John Roman, Urban Institute, September 26, 2007

From the abstract:
Reclaiming Futures (RF) is an initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) that seeks to improve outcomes for drug-involved youth in the juvenile justice system. The Urban Institute and Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago conducted biannual surveys in each of the ten communities participating in the initiative (December 2003 to June 2006) measuring the quality of juvenile justice and substance abuse treatment systems in each community. Positive and significant changes were reported in all ten communities. In several communities, most quality indicators measured by the evaluation improved significantly during the course of the initiative.

1,333 Unsafe Dams Threaten Nation’s Communities

Source: American Rivers, September 6, 2007

From the press release:
More than ten thousand dams across America could become killers if they fail and 1,333 of those dams are considered unsafe. This Sunday, the Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO) holds their annual conference in Austin, TX. Statistics developed by ASDSO show that an alarming number of dams in the United States pose a threat to human life and many of them are structurally unsafe.

Congress will soon consider the Dam Rehabilitation and Repair Act of 2007 (H.R 3224) which would direct $200 million to states for improving the safety of publicly-owned dams, through either repairing or removing problem dams. To date, only 11 members have signed on to co-sponsor the bill introduced by Congressman John Salazar (D-CO).
+ ASDSO Statistics