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 The U.S. federal government consists of over 450 different agencies — in total, employing 4.4 million people and spending over $6 trillion per year. While the Constitution authorizes the President to lead the…

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Click here for the PDF version Overview The failure of the 2011 Congressional “Super Committee” to craft a deficit reduction plan set into motion a process called “sequestration”, which requires approximately $85 billion in federal spending cuts between March 1…

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Click here for the PDF version Overview As Congress has engaged less in proactive policymaking in recent years, Washington has focused increasingly on avoiding impending deadlines that require more immediate legislative action. The federal government reaching the statutory debt limit—often…

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Click here for the PDF version Overview Debates in Washington are too often over before they begin, as both parties refuse to agree on a set of facts to trust. In an era of increasing polarization, even the most independent…

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While data from all sides are used to inform debates over whether proposals will increase the deficit or save taxpayers money, budget estimates from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) become the final, authoritative word.

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U.S. corporation profits being held abroad

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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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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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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 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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*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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