First Tuesdays is a series of public policy events on a wide variety of current topics. Drawing from Institute researchers and area experts, these lunchtime discussions offer authoritative analysis and audience interaction on topics ranging from social services and politics to faith well-being.
For more information on First Tuesdays events, contact UI public affairs
Audio or video webcasts are available for most First Tuesdays events.
First Tuesday: What We Talk about When We Talk about FairnessMay 01, 2012
This forum will tackle the many dimensions of fairness through multiple lenses: economics, history, and philosophy, especially as they come into play in debates over taxes, spending, and public policy more generally. With election season heating up and candidates drafting their stump speeches, they’ll be making a lot of claims about fairness. Are there ways to assess these claims beyond whether the policy prescriptions agree with ours?
First Tuesday: Are There Too Many NonprofitsApril 03, 2012
The vast and varied assembly of 1.8 million nonprofit organizations -- about 1 nonprofit for every 175 Americans -- faces a triple threat. From one direction comes reduced funding from government at all levels and diminished foundation grant making. From another comes harsh competition for corporate and individual donors. And from another comes an ever increasing demand for safety net and other services. One response is to declare that there are simply too many nonprofits, they are inefficient, and some need to merge, consolidate, or close to rationalize the sector. But are there other responses that will put nonprofits on surer footing? This forum will look in all directions for options for a nation that provides myriad services through nonprofit groups.
First Tuesday: Unemployment Insurance for Tomorrow's EconomyMarch 06, 2012
Many states' unemployment insurance programs, which fund the first 26 weeks of benefits, are near bankruptcy. In a fragile recovery with still high unemployment rates, the choice is coming down to raising taxes or cutting benefits to keep the programs afloat. Several states have already opted to reduce benefits.
First Tuesday: Can Boomer Women Afford to Retire?February 07, 2012
Many boomers, the 77 million or so Americans born between 1946 and 1964, face daunting retirement challenges. Traditional employer-sponsored pensions have been disappearing, replaced by 401(k)-type plans whose payouts depend on unpredictable investment returns. The 2008 stock market crash wiped out trillions of dollars in retirement savings, and the worst housing slump since the Great Depression has suppressed home equity values. Rising health care costs and potential Social Security cutbacks add to boomers' concerns.
First Tuesday: Nonprofit Outlook: Where's the Light at the End of the Tunnel?October 04, 2011
The recession and its aftermath continue to ravage many nonprofits with a trifecta of troubles: reduced giving from individuals, government funding cuts, and increased demand for services. Mix in bruised foundation and corporate philanthropy, unemployment rates stuck over 9 percent, rising poverty levels, the desperate status of most state budgets, and the politics of the federal deficit and you have an environment choking the nonprofit sector.
First Tuesdays: Bringing the Oasis to Urban Food DesertsMay 03, 2011
This forum will explore the extent of limited food access in the United States, the health implications of living far from affordable nutritious food, innovative ways to provide healthier food choices, the divide between nutrition education and dietary habits, and more.
Can We Boost Retirement Security for Low-Income Workers?April 05, 2011
About 40 percent of all wage and salary workers age 25–59 are in jobs that don’t offer retirement plans. This forum explores ways to help low-income workers boost their retirement savings, including expanding their access to employer-sponsored defined benefit and defined contribution plans and instituting automatic individual retirement accounts.
First Tuesdays: The Credit Needs of Low-Income Families at Tax TimeMarch 01, 2011
Nearly 20 million tax filers—many of whom count themselves among the working poor—are expected to use a refund anticipation loan (RAL) or refund anticipation check (RAC) this tax season, racking up more than $1.5 billion in short-term credit fees. Some will turn to these devices because they need money fast to pay bills, especially just after the holidays; others need part of the expected tax refund to pay for tax preparation.
First Tuesdays: What Policymakers, The Public, The Press, and Parents Need to Know about Economics... in 90 Minutes or LessFebruary 01, 2011
Everybody has something to say about economics and a lot of it is outdated, out of bounds, even outrageous. To help those making economic decisions all of us, really five outstanding scholars and scribes will distill the essence of their field in less time than it takes to watch Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. They’ll cover what you need to know now from the theories that explain economic fundamentals to the taxes that fuel government programs, from the hum and hiccups of the American economic engine to the bottom line on how government uses your dollars.
Mr. Mayor! Here's What Research Says About the Challenges Facing the District of ColumbiaJanuary 04, 2011
Vincent Gray takes the helm in the District of Columbia January 2 as its sixth mayor. The District's unique role as a state and a city means he will have to contend with both the challenges facing many big-city mayors – such as citizen concerns about crime and public safety, and a tumultuous housing market in which many hard-pressed families face foreclosure - and the big fiscal and policy issues of health care and budget balancing that confront new governors. And unlike any other city, county, or state leader, the District's chief executive must deal with the additional layer of congressional oversight and veto.
First Tuesdays: Tax Reform and Deficit Reduction: Proposals of Recent Budget CommissionsDecember 07, 2010
Panelists who have participated in these debt reduction efforts will discuss the tax changes their groups have proposed and the role of tax reform in shrinking deficits. They will address such questions as: Why do we need to raise additional revenues instead of relying simply on spending restraint? Why is the current federal tax system inadequate to the task of raising additional revenues? How should tax changes be structured to reduce the debt without harming the economy? To what extent should new taxes, such as a value-added tax or a tax on carbon-based fuels, be part of the solution?
First Tuesday: Challenges for New Governors: Healing Battered Budgets and Employment WoesNovember 02, 2010
On November 2, 37 states will hold gubernatorial and legislative elections, with two dozen or more new governors expected when the day is done. Beleaguered state budgets, high unemployment, and a slow economic recovery are posing difficulties coast to coast, so what's in store for these new executives and what can they expect to accomplish in the aftermath of the Great Recession? Panelists will discuss the expenditure-revenue gap facing states, the dreary employment situation, job creation strategies, and their budgetary implications.
First Tuesday: When the Pantry Is Bare: Emergency Food Assistance and Hispanic Children October 05, 2010
Last year, 14 million children (1 in 5 children in the United States) lived in a family that used emergency food assistance through Feeding America, the nation's largest network of emergency food providers. Hispanic and black children received help at rates about triple that of white children, reflecting greater poverty rates for minorities.Hispanic Heritage Month offers a fitting opportunity to examine the economic status of Hispanic children. This forum will examine economic need among Hispanic families, the role of private food assistance in supplementing the government's nutrition safety net, and ways to increase income and reduce food insecurity during this recession and beyond.
First Tuesday: Pounding the Pavement, Hitting the Books: The Black-White Divide after High SchoolJune 01, 2010
An estimated 3.3 million young men and women will leave high school in June with - or without - a diploma. The speed with which they secure steady employment or a seat in another classroom differs markedly by race. Black high school graduates, for instance, will take 20 percent longer than their white counterparts to land a job lasting six or more months, according to forthcoming research from the Urban Institute.
The Big Disconnect: Spending Policies, School Priorities, and Student AchievementMay 04, 2010
Imagine a high school that spends $328 per student for math courses and $1,348 per cheerleader for cheerleading activities. Or a school where the average per-student cost of offering ceramics was $1,608; cosmetology, $1,997; and such core subjects as science, $739. These schools are not anomalies. Marguerite Roza and colleagues at the Center on Reinventing Public Education regularly found a much greater per-pupil investment in sports and electives than in core subjects. They also found -- in Austin, Baltimore, Dallas, Denver, Cincinnati, Houston, Seattle, and many other cities -- that teacher salaries average $1,000 to $5,000 higher in schools with fewer poor students than in the highest-poverty schools in the same district.
First Tuesday: Double Trouble: Metro Areas Wracked by Housing and Job ShocksApril 06, 2010
The nation's loss of over 6.4 million jobs between 2007 and late 2009 coincided with a 12 percent drop in home values and a dramatic increase in foreclosures. But the recession's pain has not been uniformly distributed. Why are some metro areas in the grip of "double trouble"—big declines in house prices coupled with severe job losses—while others are coming through the downturn relatively unscathed, with flat house prices and much smaller job losses (or even small employment gains)? This forum will dig beneath the data—found on MetroTrends, a new Urban Institute resource about conditions in the nation's metropolitan regions—and discuss what the public and private sectors should (or shouldn't) do to lift population centers out of their doldrums.
First Tuesday: Desperately Seeking RevenueMarch 02, 2010
The numbers are, simply put, mind numbing. The federal deficit will total $6.7 trillion this decade under current law, the Congressional Budget Office projects. The figure will nearly double to $12.7 trillion if the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts are not allowed to sunset as scheduled in 2011 and Congress, once again, "patches" the alternative minimum tax.