Brookings Institution: “Now that Republicans control both Congress and the White House, talk of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (aka ‘Obamacare’) has accelerated. But as Americans nationwide voice concerns in congressional town halls about repeal, the process may not proceed as rapidly as ACA opponents had hoped. What are the pitfalls to repeal, and what are the possibilities for reform, of the Affordable Care Act? It’s a subject that Brookings experts have long-studied and on which they have many policy recommendations. A collection of some of the most recent analyses and recommendations are presented below…”
Bloomberg: “Lured by low interest rates, low gas prices, and a crop of seductive vehicles that are faster, smarter, and more efficient than ever before, American drivers are increasingly riding in style. Don’t be fooled by the curb appeal, though—those swanky machines are heavily leveraged.”
“The country’s auto debt hit a record in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, when a rush of year-end car shopping pushed vehicle loans to a dubious peak of $1.16 trillion. The combination of new car smell and new credit woes stretches from Subarus in Maine to Teslas in San Francisco.”
“Another way to look at: Every licensed driver in the U.S., on average, owes about $6,100 in car payments.”
Hayley Tsukayama: “We all know that the technology industry has a gender problem. But how do you move the needle from awareness to action?”
“Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, and Girls Who Code, a nonprofit tech group, have an idea: take the fight to the states.”
“‘What’s great about having these governors and state officials involved is that they set the educational agenda for their states,’ Sandberg said. And, she said, reaching young kids — as Girls Who Code has done on a smaller scale — is key to improving tech’s gender problems long-term.”
New York Times: “At a recent global forum in Dubai, Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, said some of the economic pain ascribed to globalization was instead due to the rise of robots taking jobs. In his farewell address in January, President Barack Obama warned that ‘the next wave of economic dislocations won’t come from overseas. It will come from the relentless pace of automation that makes a lot of good middle-class jobs obsolete.'”
“Blaming robots, though, while not as dangerous as protectionism and xenophobia, is also a distraction from real problems and real solutions.”
“While breakthroughs could come at any time, the problem with automation isn’t robots; it’s politicians, who have failed for decades to support policies that let workers share the wealth from technology-led growth.”
New York Times: “…a new analysis of the web traffic of 148 news organizations shows something subtler: Publications across the political spectrum broadly cover the news events of the day, but their readers appear to gloss over the stories they don’t want to see.”
“That analysis comes from Chartbeat, a web analytics company used by hundreds of online media publishers, including The New York Times. Chartbeat’s real-time dashboards display the articles that are being read most at any given moment, along with where those readers came from and how long they stayed. Because so many organizations use the service, Chartbeat has insight into overall news traffic that few other companies have.”
“When then-Gov. Mike Pence faced the worst public health crisis to hit Indiana in decades, he turned to Obamacare — a program he vilified and voted against,” Brianna Ehley writes for Politico.
“In 2015, as a rash of HIV infections spread through rural southern Indiana, state health officials parachuted into Scott County and enrolled scores of people into Obamacare’s expanded Medicaid program so they could get medical care and substance abuse treatment. Many were addicted to opioids and had contracted HIV by sharing dirty needles.”
“Two years later, Pence is helping to lead the Republican effort to dismantle the program that helped him halt the deadly outbreak in an impoverished swathe of Indiana.”
Doyle McManus: “In a country controlled by the deep state, members of the armed forces and intelligence agencies can overthrow presidents they don’t like; that’s what happened in Egypt in 2013. They hold veto power over major decisions. They often run large parts of the economy, or at least enough government contracts to make their families rich. And they’re rarely held accountable for their actions. They act with impunity.”
“U.S. intelligence agencies, on the other hand, are restrained by law. Sometimes they overstep, but eventually they are reined in. The officials who leaked the details of Flynn’s conversations knew that Trump would order the FBI to track them down. They put themselves at risk.”
“Trump’s problem isn’t the deep state; it’s the broad state. He’s facing pushback not only from intelligence agencies, but from civilian bureaucracies, too.”
“U.S. oil companies didn’t merely survive OPEC’s attempt to drown them in low prices. The energy industry is emerging from this dark period of bankruptcies and job cuts much leaner and ready to thrive, even at prices that were once too low,” Matt Egan writes for CNN Money.
“OPEC’s decision in November to abandon its strategy of flooding the world with excess supply allowed oil prices to stabilize above $50 a barrel. That bottom in prices has allowed the U.S. shale oil producers that have driven the boom in American oil production over the past decade to once again start pumping more oil. And many have even started to rehire some of the thousands of workers laid off during the downturn.”
Gallup: “While President Donald Trump has previously questioned the relevance of NATO, 80% of Americans say the alliance should be maintained. This is up from 64% when Gallup last asked Americans about their views on NATO in 1995, and the highest reading since Gallup first asked the question in 1989.”
Quartz: “Robots are taking human jobs. But Bill Gates believes that governments should tax companies’ use of them, as a way to at least temporarily slow the spread of automation and to fund other types of employment.”
“In a recent interview with Quartz, Gates said that a robot tax could finance jobs taking care of elderly people or working with kids in schools, for which needs are unmet and to which humans are particularly well suited. He argues that governments must oversee such programs rather than relying on businesses, in order to redirect the jobs to help people with lower incomes. The idea is not totally theoretical: EU lawmakers considered a proposal to tax robot owners to pay for training for workers who lose their jobs, though on Feb. 16 the legislators ultimately rejected it.”
Doug Tieman: “The problem is so massive that it has no simple solution. It will require cooperation and coordination among policymakers, health care professionals, and communities. The 2016 passage of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act and the 21st Century Cures Act gives governors a unique opportunity to work with the federal government to obtain funds intended to address this epidemic. As governors prepare their budgets, which policies should they and their legislatures implement to help those in addiction’s throes?”
Tieman suggests improving physician training, partnering with schools to prevent future generations from abusing, improving care transitions to facilitate recovery, and expanding access to addiction medications.
“Just as the Fourth Geneva Convention has long protected civilians in times of war, we now need a Digital Geneva Convention that will commit governments to protecting civilians from nation-state attacks in times of peace. And just as the Fourth Geneva Convention recognized that the protection of civilians required the active involvement of the Red Cross, protection against nation-state cyberattacks requires the active assistance of technology companies. The tech sector plays a unique role as the internet’s first responders, and we therefore should commit ourselves to collective action that will make the internet a safer place, affirming a role as a neutral Digital Switzerland that assists customers everywhere and retains the world’s trust,” Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith writes.
“While there is no perfect analogy, the world needs an organization that can address cyber threats in a manner like the role played by the International Atomic Energy Agency in the field of nuclear non-proliferation. This organization should consist of technical experts from across governments, the private sector, academia and civil society with the capability to examine specific attacks and share the evidence showing that a given attack was by a specific nation-state. Only then will nation-states know that if they violate the rules, the world will learn about it.”
Washington Post: “Working-class whites are the biggest beneficiaries of federal poverty-reduction programs, even though blacks and Hispanics have substantially higher rates of poverty, according to a new study to be released Thursday by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.”
Pew Research: “Across a number of countries that are wrestling with the politics of national identity, younger people are far more likely than their elders to take an inclusive view of what it takes for people to be truly considered “one of us” – whether the measure is being born in their country, sharing local customs and traditions or being Christian.”