10 things we learned at Brookings in June

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Last month at Brookings we published several reports and hosted many discussions on the most pressing global policy issues. Check out 10 of our favorite highlights below.

1. The Trump-Kim summit may not be as ground-breaking as we thought

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un prepare to shake hands at the Capella Hotel in Singapore.

In a special episode of the Brookings Cafeteria podcast, five Brookings scholars share their reactions to the recent Trump-Kim summit in Singapore. Listen to each scholar discuss their analysis of the event, what surprised them the most, and expectations of what comes next.

2. How artificial intelligence can be applied in the non-profit sector

Woman at a computer in Facebook's office
In a new piece for the TechTank blog, Governance Studies Vice President Darrel West and Chief Information Officer Theron Kelso write on the utility of artificial intelligence (AI) in the non-profit sector. They point out that while many non-profits lack the financial resources to support innovative technologies, there are good examples of AI and machine learning being applied in finance, human resources, communications, and more.

3. The Marshall Plan still guides U.S. global development strategy

USAID and Brookings panel on 70th anniversary of the Marshall Plan

On June 5, Senior Fellow Anthony Pipa moderated a panel on the Marshall Plan with Brookings President John Allen, U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green, and CARE USA President and CEO Michelle Nun. Reflecting on the plan 70 years after its passage, the panelists explain what lessons it can provide for U.S. global leadership today and why development is a worthwhile strategic investment.

4. Are US schools providing a quality civics education?

Children holding little American flags

The Brown Center on Education Policy released its annual report on American education in June, focused this year specifically on the state of civic and social studies education in U.S. schools. The research highlights modest improvements in eighth-grade civics, declining racial gaps in math and reading, and evidence that secondary social studies teachers are predominantly male when compared to English, math, and natural sciences teachers. Read more of the authors’ findings in their full report.

5. America’s white non-Hispanic population is declining

From the neck down view of young afro black man holding a smart phone, tapping the scree outdoor in the city - technology, social network, communication concept

In his analysis of new Census Bureau data, Senior Fellow William Frey breaks down some of the emerging shifts in U.S. demographics including an absolute decline of the nation’s white non-Hispanic population. “The new numbers show that for the first time there are more children who are minorities than who are white, at every age from zero to nine” Frey writes, adding that “we are on the cusp of seeing the first minority white generation.”

6. Economic growth is concentrated in metropolitan areas

Cover image for global metro monitor

In the annual Global Metro Monitor report, scholars from the Metropolitan Policy Program present research on the economic development of cities around the world. From their report we learned that large metro areas are disproportionate contributors to global economic growth, accounting for 66.9 percent of GDP growth and 36.1 percent of employment growth, and that there is significant variation between global regions. According to their research “between 2014 and 2016, just over half of the world’s 300 largest metropolitan economies were considered ‘pockets of growth,’ high-performing metro areas disproportionately accountable for employment and GDP per capita growth.”

7. Trump’s foreign policy is self-interested, perhaps at the cost of our allies

U.S. President Donald Trump boards Air Force One after his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RC13889AA630
In his analysis of President Trump’s approach diplomacy, Senior Fellow Bob Kagan argues that this administration disregards the post-World War II security bargain the United States created with its allies, and in doing so, is ignoring America’s prior moral, political, and strategic commitments. He writes: “The United States as rogue superpower, neither isolationist nor internationalist, neither withdrawing nor in decline, but active, powerful and entirely out for itself.

8. Trump’s tax overhaul creates short-term gains but increased inequality

U.S. President Donald Trump delivers a speech on tax reform after touring Sheffer Corporation in Blue Ash outside Cincinnati, Ohio February 5, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - HP1EE251J779I
Five authors from the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center break down the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) passed at the end of 2017, the largest tax overhaul bill that Congress has seen in decades. According to the authors, the bill provides short-term economic stimulation but little long-term impact on the GDP. After-income distributions will be more unequal as a result, and if the law is not matched with other spending cuts or taxes, the federal debt will increase.

9. New data suggest we should focus on Africa in global poverty reduction

Children fetch water from a borehole point at an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp on the outskirts of Maiduguri, northeast Nigeria June 6, 2017. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye - RC188C1E6B60
Homi Kharas, director of the Global Economy and Development program, along with Kristofer Hamel and Martin Kofer of the World Data Lab, write on what recent data from the World Poverty Clock tell us about the beginning of a new “global poverty narrative.” Their study shows, among other things, that the focus of ending extreme poverty is largely focused on Africa. “Already, Africans account for about two-thirds of the world’s extreme poor. If current trends persist, they will account for nine-tenths by 2030.”

10. Water infrastructure provides a pipeline to opportunity

Water workers

Joseph Kane and Adie Tomer, a researchers in the Metropolitan Policy Program, explain some of the challenges facing the United States’ water infrastructure workforce and the growing need to invest in new talent to manage America’s water systems. They also share five steps localities can follow to develop their water workforce such as conducting outreach efforts with community partners and recruiting younger, nontraditional candidates.

Lea Kayali contributed to this post.