Global Economy, Money & Finance, Government Finance
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 is small and imperfect, but the fact that there is a deal at all in such a deeply divided Congress is progress. The two-year framework would result in approximately $23 billion in net deficit reduction over 10 years. It contains $85 billion in savings through spending cuts and new revenue.
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement is the most extensive trade deal ever signed by Canada, and could be a template for the TTIP between the EU and the United States. The agreement will abolish most tariffs on merchandise trade between the largest consumer market in the world and tiny Canada, but it will also have far-reaching implications for investment, service trade, labor markets and regulations on both sides of the Atlantic.
Global Economy, Economic Environment, Energy, Money & Finance, Government Finance
Once typified by the ribbons of new asphalt that completed the interstate highway system, transportation infrastructure in the United States now bears the sorry image of falling bridges and endless traffic jams. A breakdown in the federal financing mechanisms for highway construction explains this state of affairs. The three factors contributing to the weakening of the Highway Trust Fund are declining demand for gasoline, rising costs for new construction, and resistance to raising federal gas taxes.
Global Economy, Competitiveness, Foreign Trade, Imports & Exports
When completed, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will lift trade between the U.S. and the EU beyond an already elevated level. Could this heightened trade and investment intensity offer a natural hedge to cyclical variation for American (and European) multinationals? In other words, when business sours in the U.S., can American industrial multinationals look to Europe for more receptive markets for exports and/or production? One way to search for a hedge is through countercyclical business conditions on both sides of the Atlantic. Possibilities can be filtered into two broad categories.
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the UK is positively infatuated with the United States. Two years ago, the UK essentially copied U.S. anti-corruption laws by adopting the UK Bribery Act—a British version of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act—to criminalize corporate corruption. The UK has seemingly dusted off its copiers again in the form of newly adopted legislation creating deferred prosecution agreements and allowing their use starting in early 2014. This is good news for global companies operating in the UK because it provides a legal “middle ground” for companies to cure a recognized financial misstep, including bribery, fraud, or money laundering.
What happened to displaced manufacturing workers following the 2008-2009 recession? Did they find new jobs? If so, in what industries? The Great Recession of 2008-2009 took an enormous toll on manufacturing workers. From December 2007 to December 2009, the total number of manufacturing jobs fell by 2.3 million, a 17% reduction. To put the job loss in perspective, non-manufacturing total employment declined only 5% in the recession.
Public dialogue on the multidimensional U.S. job growth challenge often overlooks the vital issues of entrepreneurial dynamism and the health of the small business sector. These are critical omissions. Research supports the importance of new businesses for employment recovery and employment expansion. Further, the health of the small business sector is well known to be of importance for general economic vitality.
Global Economy, Competitiveness, Foreign Trade, Imports & Exports, Economic Environment, Energy
Canada boasts the world’s third largest oil reserves, after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. This standing rests on the country’s oil sands in the Western provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, the large-scale exploitation of which began a decade ago. The U.S. is currently the near-exclusive non-domestic outlet for Canadian oil, in the form of crude as well as raw and upgraded bitumen (or synthetic crude): it buys 97-99 percent of Canada’s crude oil exports. Canadian refining capacity is limited, and no real network exists—yet—to move oil economically and efficiently within Canada.
Finance, Tax, U.S. Tax, Federal Tax Rules & Regulations, U.S. Tax Policy, Leadership, Human Resources, Benefits, Health Benefits
Proposed rules released by the IRS explain how large employers will be assessed if they fail to provide affordable health insurance coverage to their full-time employees and dependents. Understanding the definitions for these terms is key to what the rules do. A “large employer” has more than 50 full-time employees. “Full-time employees” work at least 30 hours per week, but two employees who each work 15 hours per week equal one full-time employee for purposes of the calculation. “Affordable coverage” depends on the employee’s income and the benefits offered, which should exceed an as-yet undefined level of minimum essential coverage. And the benefits must be offered to dependents.