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10 things we learned at Brookings in November

Fred Dews and Chris McKenna

As the temperature drops and everyone’s focus turns toward the holidays it is easy to become distracted, but Brookings scholars haven’t stopped their research. Check out 10 interesting things we learned in November.

1.  REPEALING THE ACA’S INDIVIDUAL MANDATE WOULD BE HARMFUL

doc and patient knee exam

The Senate GOP’s tax plan includes a provision to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate to obtain health insurance coverage or pay a penalty. The CBO has estimated that this could cause up to 13 million fewer people to have insurance. Health policy expert Matthew Fiedler says that the argument of this provision’s supporters suffers from two flaws, including the fact that the departure of healthy enrollees will cause others to involuntarily lose coverage or bear higher costs.

2.  LOCAL AUTHORITIES ARE ON THE FRONTLINE OF THE REFUGEE CRISES

Migrants rest at an temporary shelter in a sports hall in Hanau, Germany, September 29, 2015. When the flood of Middle Eastern refugees arriving in Europe finally ebbs and asylum-seekers settle down in their new homes, Germany could unexpectedly find itself housing the continent's largest Muslim minority. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - LR1EB9T14TXW2

Experts Bruce Katz and Jessica Brandt explain why city leaders need to play a role in addressing the refugee crises. Already, roughly 60 percent of the world’s 22 million refugees reside in cities, and providing housing, health care, and long-term integration for those displaced people will ultimately be the responsibility of local stakeholders.

3.  IMPROVING ACCESS TO AND OUTCOMES OF GIRLS EDUCATION

Around the world, girls and young women are held back at home, in school, and in the workplace by virtue of their gender. Through their research, the Global Echidna Scholars at Brookings are finding ways to improve the lives of the most marginalized girls in the developing world. Learn more about each scholar and their passion for girls’ education.

4.  A SOLUTION TO THE DE-DEMOCRATIZING FORCE OF TECHNOLOGY

A man is silhouetted against a video screen with an Facebook logo as he poses with an Samsung S4 smartphone in this photo illustration taken in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, August 14, 2013. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo - RTX2IVBO

Tom Wheeler, a Brookings visiting fellow and former FCC chair, says that “We exist in a time when technological capabilities and economic incentives have combined to attack truth and weaken trust.” He says that the Web is being exploited for “de-democratizing communities,” but one solution is adoption of open APIs by social media platforms.

5.  U.S. POLICYMAKERS NEED TO FORM AN EFFECTIVE, COHERENT CHINA STRATEGY

Soldiers carry a Chinese Communist Party flag and Chinese national flags before the military parade to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the foundation of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) at Zhurihe military base in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region

In a new report, Brookings experts weigh in on how the U.S. should approach its relationship with China moving forward, including when and how Washington should act to constrain Beijing’s growing ambitions. In the third installment of the Brookings Interview, Bruce Jones convened a panel of Foreign Policy experts to discuss how Washington should navigate the complex geopolitics of China’s rise in a way that is both constructive yet competitive, but most importantly, peaceful. Here are seven key findings from their discussion.

6.  CHINA IS MOVING TO OCCUPY AMERICA’S LEADERSHIP ROLE IN MULTILATERALISM AND FREE TRADE

Leaders pose for a group photo at the APEC economic leaders meeting in Danang, Vietnam, November 11, 2017. (L-R): Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull; Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah; Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam; Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski; Chile's President Michelle Bachelet; Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte; China's President Xi Jinping; Russian President Vladimir Putin; Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang; U.S. President Donald Trump; Indonesian President Joko Widodo; Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha; Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe; Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong; South Korean President Moon Jae-in; New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern; Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak; Taiwan's representative James Soong; Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. REUTERS/Hau Dinh/Pool - RC1B9B30FAF0

After President Trump’s speech at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO summit earlier this month, Mireya Solís, co-director of the Center for East Asia Policy Studies, commented that his “America First” approach to trade “floundered” as no leader accepted his offer to negotiate a new bilateral trade deal and all of the remaining members of the TPP agreed to move forward without the United States. According to Solis, the world’s three largest economies—the U.S., China, and Japan—are each redefining their roles in a new era of trade, and as the United States vacates its role as champion of free trade and multilateralism, President Xi has made moves, rhetorically, to occupy it.

7.  THE SHARE OF JOBS REQUIRING SUBSTANTIAL DIGITAL KNOWLEDGE IS RISING RAPIDLY

metro_20171117_Five takeaways on how technology has changed the american workforce_Mark Muro_Digitalization and the American workforce

In a new report from the Metropolitan Policy Program, experts explore the digitalization of the American workforce. Since 2010, nearly 4 million of the nation’s 13 million new jobs created—approximately 30 percent—have required high-level digital skills.

8.  WHY RACIAL DISCIPLINE DISPARITIES IN SCHOOLS MATTER

A Newark Prep Charter School student listens to math teacher, Faiza Sheikh (not pictured), give a lesson at the school in Newark, New Jersey

Jon Valant and other education policy experts explore the problem of school discipline disparities between black and poor students versus their white and non-poor peers. Among their many findings based on data from Louisiana, “black and low-income students receive longer suspensions than their peers for the same types of infractions.”

9.  INVESTING IN THE SERVICES INDUSTRY IS A KEY TO EXPANDING AFRICA’S MIDDLE CLASS

Shoppers push trolleys at an upmarket shopping mall in Sandton, Johannesburg

In a recent episode of the Intersections podcast, experts from Brookings Global Economy and Development program discussed how the global trend of a rising middle class has played out in sub-Saharan Africa and the difference between reducing poverty and building economic security. According to Homi Kharas, interim vice president for the Global Economy and Development program, the middle class in emerging economies is comprised of people in the services industry, not manufacturing, and to pursue growth in sub-Saharan Africa countries should focus on expanding education instead of artificially producing an industrial economy.

10.  HOW RACIALLY BALANCED ARE AMERICA’S SCHOOLS?

Students exit a bus as they arrive at Venice High School in Los Angeles, California

Russ Whitehurst, Richard Reeves, Nathan Joo, and Pete Rodrigue examine the share of white, black, and Hispanic students at over 86,000 public schools—both traditional and charters—across the country and identify schools whose racial imbalance with respect to their surrounding neighborhoods makes them ‘outliers’ within their states.

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Chris McKenna

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