Backgrounders

Current political and economic issues succinctly explained.

Author: Steven J. Markovich

U.S. space exploration inspired a generation of students and innovators, but NASA's role may transition amid a new set of national priorities and constraints, explains this Backgrounder.

See more in United States; Space

Author: Steven J. Markovich

Postsecondary education has significant public and private benefits, but debate continues over the extent of federal student lending, explains this Backgrounder.

See more in United States; Education

Renewing America

Renewing America

The U.S. Immigration Debate

Author: Brianna Lee

Ongoing arguments over U.S. immigration policy play out against concerns about curbing illegal immigration, changing demographics, and maintaining the country's global competitive edge, explains this Backgrounder.

See more in Immigration; United States

Renewing America

Renewing America

Gasoline Prices

Author: Toni Johnson

With the Middle East unrest ongoing and the global economy recovering, gasoline prices are rising considerably. But policies to ease U.S. consumer impact take time and policymakers are divided over the course of action.

See more in United States; Oil; Energy Policy

Author: Steven J. Markovich

Spending on research and development is cited as important to a globally competitive economy. But a crucial U.S. advantage appears to be eroding, explains this Backgrounder.

See more in United States; Innovation

Author: Steven J. Markovich

Income inequality is generating high-level attention and debate in the United States, but the causes are complex and the policy remedies so far are modest, explains this Backgrounder.

See more in United States; Poverty

Renewing America

Renewing America

The Dodd-Frank Act

Author: Steven J. Markovich

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act ("Dodd-Frank"), signed into law in July 2010, is one of the most significant regulatory reform measures since the Great Depression.

See more in United States; Financial Regulation

Author: Steven J. Markovich

In the face of persistently high unemployment, policymakers and workers look to innovation and entrepreneurship to create new jobs. This Backgrounder discusses how entrepreneurs create and finance the startups that power U.S. job growth, and the ramifications of policies such as the JOBS Act.

See more in United States; Entrepreneurship; Financial Markets

Renewing America

Renewing America

U.S. Rail Infrastructure

Author: Elizabeth Dovell

Rail infrastructure is a critical component of a transportation network capable of helping the United States compete in global markets. Efforts to expand and modernize U.S. rail, particularly to include high-speed trains, are under debate as lawmakers weigh costs and benefits.

See more in Infrastructure; United States