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.


Click Here for the PDF Version Overview Throughout the 20th century, our national network of roads, bridges, and transit systems connected once isolated regions and led to economic growth from large cities to small towns. Yet today, our transportation infrastructure…

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67% of funding in the Farm Bill is spent on nutrition programs.

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Click here for the PDF version Overview The House and Senate often use annual budget bills to communicate their broad visions for the size and role of the federal government. Even so, the rules governing the budget process can remove…

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Food and Drug Administration spending from user fees.

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  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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