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Housing Finance At A Glance: A Monthly Chartbook (Fact Sheet / Data at a Glance)
Laurie Goodman, Ellen Seidman, Jim Parrott, Sheryl Pardo, Jun Zhu, Wei Li, Bing Bai, Taz George, Maia Woluchem, Alison Rincon

The August edition of At A Glance, our reference guide for mortgage and housing market data, includes a special quarterly feature of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan composition, default rates, and repurchase activity.

Posted to Web: August 20, 2014Publication Date: August 20, 2014

Tax Expenditures for Asset Building in 2014 (Article/Tax Facts)
C. Eugene Steuerle, Caleb Quakenbush

Government directs a large amount of resources toward helping families build assets in the form of home equity, retirement savings, human capital, and business ownership. This Tax Fact summarizes the cost of different asset-building tax subsidies. These tax expenditures total to more than $370 billion in 2014 and are projected to grow to more than $500 billion over the next 5 years. Deductions and exclusions for homeownership and retirement savings form the majority of subsidies, with education coming in a distant third. Smaller subsidies for small business and other personal savings round out the total.

Posted to Web: August 20, 2014Publication Date: August 20, 2014

Corporate Inversions (Article)
Kimberly A. Clausing

Recently, there has been a spate of corporate inversions, where U.S. multinational corporations have combined with foreign companies, arranging their corporate structure to locate the residence of the resulting corporation in a foreign country with an attractive corporate tax climate. This paper will discuss both the longstanding features of the U.S. tax system that provide incentives for corporate inversions and the reasons for the present surge in inversions. If unfettered, corporate inversions are likely to undermine the U.S. tax base, so swift policy action is likely warranted. Inversions can be effectively addressed in a targeted fashion.

Posted to Web: August 20, 2014Publication Date: August 20, 2014

A Realistic Assessment of Housing Finance Reform (Commentary)
Laurie Goodman

In August 2008, the GSEs went into conservatorship, and the clear intent was that they were never going to re-emerge; a new system, with a larger role for private capital providers was to take its place. Nearly six years later, GSE reform remains a dream: the government essentially guarantees 80% of new mortgage debt, and credit availability is limited. In this paper, we take a look at the current system, evaluate the proposals for GSE reform, and offer some thoughts on what is being done and what more can be done without a legislative solution.

Posted to Web: August 18, 2014Publication Date: August 01, 2014

Guarantee Fees - An Art, Not a Science (Commentary)
Laurie Goodman, Jim Parrott, Ellen Seidman, Jun Zhu

This commentary examines the potential impact of increasing the guarantee fees that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac charge lenders. We identify the three most important assumptions made in determining the fees, conclude that transparency regarding these assumptions is critical, and that, under any reasonable set of assumptions, the fees should not be increased for the least risky loans. We also conclude that the GSEs' mission should be taken into account in determining the appropriate capital requirement.

Posted to Web: August 14, 2014Publication Date: August 14, 2014

Marketplace Competition & Insurance Premiums in the First Year of the Affordable Care Act (Research Report)
John Holahan, Linda J. Blumberg

The Affordable Care Act has resulted in considerable competition. In a large number of markets, this has resulted in lower premiums than expected, though there is considerable variability within each metal tier. This analysis assesses the variation in premiums within markets and the effects of competition in 10 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, and West Virginia. Four of the states have fairly limited competition, while the other six were very competitive, especially in urban, more populated markets.

Posted to Web: August 14, 2014Publication Date: August 14, 2014

Early 2014 Stakeholder Experiences with Small-Business Marketplaces in Eight States (Survey Brief)
Linda J. Blumberg, Shanna Rifkin

Participation of employers in the small group Marketplaces, or Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), has started very slowly. The reasons for this are largely consistent across the states, and many of them lend themselves to reversal or improvement. Significant challenges remain, but it would be inappropriate to judge the long term prospects of SHOP merely on its first-year experiences. This analysis of early implementation experiences is based on case study interviews in eight states: Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Rhode Island. Interviews were conducted with a broad array of stakeholders in each state.

Posted to Web: August 14, 2014Publication Date: August 14, 2014

Understanding the Implications of Raising the Minimum Wage in the District of Columbia (Research Report)
Gregory Acs, Laura Wheaton, Maria E. Enchautegui, Austin Nichols

The minimum wage establishes a lower bound on what employers must pay their workers. The federal minimum wage is currently set at $7.25 an hour, but 22 states and the District of Columbia (DC) have established minimum wages above the federal minimum. Today, DC’s minimum wage is set one dollar higher than the federal minimum ($8.25), while the minimum wage in the neighboring jurisdictions of Maryland and Virginia use the federal minimum wage. However, DC and two neighboring counties in Maryland (Prince George’s County and Montgomery County) have passed legislation raising their minimum wages to $11.50 an hour by 2016 and 2017, respectively. This report examines the potential effects of raising DC’s minimum wage on DC workers, their families, and on the government programs that serve them.

Posted to Web: August 12, 2014Publication Date: June 30, 2014

Effects of a Higher Minimum Wage in the District of Columbia (Research Report)
Austin Nichols, Jonathan Schwabish

Over the next two years, the minimum wage in DC will increase in stages, ultimately reaching $11.50 in July 2016, and thereafter DC’s minimum wage will increase with inflation. Based on historical patterns for the DC metro area and an analysis of workers in the food service industry nationwide, we find little evidence that even a substantial increase in minimum wages in DC would result in lower employment. Our estimates of the relationship are imprecise, however, and we cannot rule out modest negative impacts.

Posted to Web: August 12, 2014Publication Date: June 30, 2014

What is the Result of States Not Expanding Medicaid? (Policy Briefs/Timely Analysis of Health Policy Issues)
Stan Dorn, Megan McGrath, John Holahan

In states not expanding Medicaid, 6.7 million residents will remain uninsured in 2016 as a result. These states are foregoing $423.6 billion in federal Medicaid funds from 2013 to 2022, lessening economic activity and job growth. Their hospitals are also losing $167.8 billion in Medicaid revenue. Every comprehensive state-level fiscal analysis that we could find concluded that expansion helps state budgets, generating savings and revenues that exceed increased Medicaid costs. Future federal cuts to ACA's high federal match rate are unlikely. Of more than 100 federal Medicaid cuts since 1980, just one lowered the federal share of Medicaid spending.

Posted to Web: August 07, 2014Publication Date: August 07, 2014

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