Basics

Most of the issues facing our country are multi-faceted and extraordinarily complex. Insert politics into the equation, and the complexity increases exponentially. In order to understand these policy issues and the various perspectives around them, members of Congress, the public, industry and nonprofits must first have a basic knowledge that is rooted in fact. With our Basics series, Center Forward presents complicated issues in a non-partisan and easy-to-understand manner that provides decision makers with alternative viewpoints.


  Overview   In much of the recent coverage of the country’s fiscal situation, the terms “deficits” and “national debt” are used interchangeably by policymakers and the media, even though they mean very different things.   What’s the Deficit?  …

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Click here for the PDF version Overview Among the many casualties of the economic downturn are the uninsured. From 2007 to 2010, the number of working-age adults without insurance increased by 6.3 million, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. In…

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Click here for the PDF version Overview Nearly 1 in 3 Americans receives health insurance from the federal government. Three major programs provide this coverage: Medicare, Medicaid and the military health care system. How many Americans does the government cover?…

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Click here for the PDF version Overview The Great Recession has been tough on American workers. Not only has unemployment stayed stubbornly high, workers’ wages are failing to keep pace with the cost of living. After adjusting for inflation, average…

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Click here for the PDF version Overview In 1961, one in three American jobs were in manufacturing. Today it’s 1 in 10. While many see this figure as cause for alarm, it also demonstrates a profound shift both in the…

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Click here for the PDF version Overview   Two years after the official end of the recession, policymakers are still struggling to tackle the nation’s persistently high jobless rate. Unlike in prior downturns, the current job market’s weakness is both…

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*Updated October 2013 Click here for the PDF version Overview Nearly every year, gas prices become an added burden for Americans anxious over tight family budgets. Many factors affect what you pay at the pump, which can make gas prices…

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Click here for the PDF version Overview Almost every debate around tax reform eventually raises the issue of closing “loopholes.” But many of these “loopholes”—technically known as “tax expenditures”—have been an important feature of the tax code for both American…

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Click here for the PDF version Overview In current debates over corporate tax reform, you’ve likely heard that U.S. corporate tax rates are among the highest in the world. As true as this is, the full story is more complex….

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Click here for the PDF version Overview In upcoming battles over tax reform, one question sure to spark heated debate is whether the current system is “fair.” Do wealthy Americans pay “enough”? Does the middle class pay too much? Who…

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*Updated October 2013 Click here for the PDF version Overview With gas prices still far above $3 a gallon nationwide, some lawmakers have called for a dramatic expansion in domestic drilling to bring down prices and reduce our dependence on…

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*Updated October 2013 Click here for the PDF version Overview Among the many conveniences of modern life, there are few things we take for granted more than turning on the lights. As a consequence, Americans are voracious consumers of electricity….

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