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Weekly Round Up: April 6 – 10, 2009

This week, CAP proposed smart ways to spend stimulus money, reform health care and the defense budget, and make the Treasury's toxic asset program work.

tim geithner

ECONOMY

Don’t Hamper Mortgage Modifications

The Treasury Department announced last week a Public-Private Investment Program to clean up the toxic asset mess, and this week Michael Ettlinger, Andrew Jakabovics, and David Min for implementing the program and ensuring that it succeeds. Christian Weller released his economic snapshot for April 2009, showing that the recession isn’t getting better yet, but that federal government actions are showing promise for turning the economy around. The recession has also caused many families to look for alternate forms of credit, and many are turning to payday loans. Amanda Logan explains what they are and what policymakers can do, and Raul Arce details the harmful effects of payday loans on minorities and low-income families.

electrician and power linesTECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION

Smart Grid, Smart Broadband, Smart Infrastructure

As economic stimulus funds start flowing into the economy, Peter Swire discusses how to meld different programs on the grid, broadband, and infrastructure to efficiently achieve a diverse set of closely related goals. These projects will also help to spur the creation of green jobs, which Bracken Hendricks, Andrew Light, and Benjamin Goldstein detail with a quick primer. On the international front, Jake Caldwell writes that achieving a global accord to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is an Obama administration foreign policy priority, and the United States is starting down the right track with legislation introduced last week by Reps. Henry Waxman and Ed Markey.

pharmacistHEALTH REFORM

Medicare’s Lessons for Health Reform

As the health care reform debate heats up, a CAP Action report from Marilyn Moon shows that Medicare’s experience offers a number of key lessons that can help in the development of affordable health coverage for all Americans. An interactive map from Ben Furnas showed how preexisting conditions lead to insurance discrimination for three chronic illnesses, emphasizing the growing need for a reformed system in which every American has access to good health care.

gates announcement

SECURITY AND DEFENSE

Getting the Defense Budget Under Control

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced a proposed budget earlier this week, largely following recommendations CAP has advocated for the last four years. Senior Fellow Lawrence J. Korb wrote that Gates’ proposal is an important but incomplete move toward a more responsible rebalancing of America’s defense priorities. New foreign policy priorities were also on display on President Obama’s visits to Europe last week, when, as Spencer Boyer and Ken Gude wrote, the president reminded us that America is strongest when we work together with a broad set of partners to advance our common goals—a distinct break from the previous administration.

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