Publications

Publications

A National Infrastructure Bank: A Road Guide to the Destination

Download the entire memo. President Obama has proposed a National Infrastructure Bank, a simple declarative sentence that left most listeners wondering what he meant. The confusion arises partly because the administration did not follow up the president’s remarks with a specific proposal, but also because the operations of such a bank have never been fully…

Union Voters and Democrats

Top Democratic and union leaders play host this week to prospective 2012 Congressional candidates, highlighting labor’s status as a critical cog in progressive campaigns. Some observers believe that, in the aftermath of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s efforts to strip the state’s public unions of collective-bargaining rights, labor has found both renewed public sympathy and political…

A Thumb on the Scales: Outside Spending in 2010 Senate Races

In 2010, the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission forever changed the landscape of political spending. The Court’s ruling to allow virtually unlimited contributions to outside political groups1 unleashed a record $290 million in outside spending in 2010 (not counting spending by party committees).2 According to the Center for Responsive…

Obstacle Course: Obama and the 2012 Electoral Landscape

As the 2012 election gets underway, President Obama is still waiting to see who his opponent will be. Candidates and campaigns matter hugely, of course, but we should also pay attention to the field on which the match will be played—and at first glance, the lay of the political land doesn’t look so favorable to…

Underwater: Home Values in 2012 Battleground States

As the 2012 election approaches, the nation’s unemployment rate will continue to drive the political debate and, in turn, the fortunes of President Obama and his GOP rivals. Despite the central focus on unemployment, however, another number deserves equal attention as a barometer of the nation’s overall economic health: housing values. As catastrophic as it…

The Credit Gap: Easing the Squeeze on the Smallest Businesses

Among the many casualties of the 2007-2008 financial meltdown were small businesses. As the financial system virtually shut down, millions of small business owners across America found themselves unable to get the credit they desperately needed to run their businesses, let alone expand. As a result, thousands of otherwise flourishing firms were forced into bankruptcy…

It’s About (the) Time: Ending the Nonstop Campaign

Somewhere in the last two decades, politicians began to believe that the way to win an electoral majority is not to prove that you can govern well, but to prove that you can campaign. Today, politicians are caught in an ever-escalating, never-ending, 24-hour, 365-day campaign cycle dominated by the burden of raising enough money to…

Policy Brief: Another Kick in the Teeth: Loan Limits and the Housing Market

For weeks, August 2—the date on which the U.S. Treasury might have defaulted on its debts—was the deadline that drove policymakers toward a deal on raising the debt ceiling and lowering the nation’s spiraling debt and deficits. Another pending deadline—October 1—has won far less attention. But it too could have far-reaching impacts on the U.S.…

Political Memo: The “Centrist Premium”: The High Cost of Moderation

For most of the last 30 years, self-described ideological moderates have comprised a plurality of the American electorate. While the share of moderates has dropped slightly in recent years, 38 percent of voters in 2010 still described themselves as such. In Congress, on the other hand, moderates are decidedly—and increasingly—a minority. Among Democrats, the moderate…

Rebuilding America Is Job One

Amid the high drama of fiscal brinkmanship in Washington, it's easy to forget that reducing budget deficits isn't the biggest economic challenge we face. Even more important is kick-starting the great American job machine and reversing our country's slide in global competition. Critical to both goals is shoring up the decaying physical foundations of national…