Focusing on Health Care and Trade

Source: Dean Baker, Challenge: The Magazine of Economic Affairs, January-February 2007, Vol. 50 no. 1 (subscription needed)

The Democrats regained control of Congress in November in part as a result of the corruption and incompetence of the Republicans, but also in part because of their promises to make things better for the average family. Their ability to stay in power will depend on their ability to make good on these promises. Two areas that are central to the economic security of average workers are health-care reform and trade policy. The Democrats will have to put forward a clear progressive agenda in these areas if they expect to be taken seriously in future elections.

The Capacities and Challenges of Faith-Based Human Service Organizations

Source: Richard M. Clerkin and Kirsten A. Grønbjerg, Public Administration Review, January/February 2007
(subscription needed)

The Charitable Choice provision of the 1996 welfare reform act under the Clinton administration and the Bush administration’s establishment of the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives in the White House have expanded the participation of overtly religious service organizations in the implementation of social policy. What has been the impact of these moves on human service-oriented religious congregations? Most of them seem unwilling to forego their sacred mission for the sake of receiving public funding, and for a few participating congregations, a measure of secularization may have crept into their service programs.

The Effects of Rounding on the Consumer Price Index

Source: Elliot Williams, Monthly Labor Review, Vol. 129 no. 10, October 2006

The Bureau of Labor Statistics rounds the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to a single decimal place before it is publicly released. Because the actual changes in the CPI have been small recently (the rate of inflation has been relatively low), the small differences in rounding the CPI index before calculating an inflation rate can create a significantly misleading picture of monthly price inflation. This article demonstrates how such problems can arise and investigates how frequently there is a discrepancy between inflation rates calculated from unrounded indexes and those calculated from rounded indexes under different possible rounding policies.