Intern - Office of Communications
Multimedia Project Manager - Office of Communications
In October, voting in the U.S. presidential election began nationwide, with early voting hitting new records in some states. Brookings remained busy with experts publishing research on a range of policy issues including the election, trans-Atlantic relations, to how the next presidential administration can reduce polarization in America. Here is a selection of 10 items from the month for your consideration.
1. HOW THE NEXT PRESIDENTIAL ADMINISTRATION CAN CONFRONT AMERICA’S DIVISIONS
E.J. Dionne, Jr. and Melissa Rogers provide analysis of how “misunderstanding and mistrust have reached toxic levels” in the U.S., and suggest how the president sworn into office in 2021 can address these critical issues. In their report from the Center for Effective Public Management at Brookings, they look at the causes of polarization, including religion. The next president, Dionne and Rogers argue, must recognize the immense power of religious leaders in sharing responsibility to seek solutions together. “When the next administration takes office, it will confront a pandemic, the scourge of systemic racism, a deep economic recession, and a dangerously warming planet,” they explain. “Government must act boldly in all these spheres, yet government will not succeed alone.”
2. TRANS-ATLANTIC SCORECARD ON THE EVE OF THE US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
A new edition of the Trans-Atlantic Scorecard produced by the Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings evaluates the state of U.S. relations with Europe overall, plus with five key countries and the European Union itself. As Center Director Thomas Wright observes, U.S.-European relations have remained strained with slight upward or downward ticks in only a few areas. “Facing a historic presidential election,” Wright says, “the potential outcome of which could set the United States and Europe on dramatically different paths – a ‘wait and see’ mood combined with a sense of anxious optimism regarding the prospect of a Biden administration has descended on the trans-Atlantic relationship.”
3. HAS TRUMP REALLY DONE MORE FOR BLACK AMERICANS THAN ANYBODY (EXCEPT LINCOLN)?
Rashawn Ray and Keon Gilbert deconstruct Trump’s repeated claim, “I have done more for Black Americans than anybody, except for the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln,” by exploring several key areas where Black Americans have been failed by Trump’s policies, including the economy, implicit bias training, criminal justice reform and policing, judges and the courts, COVID-19 response, and affordable health care. “What do you have to lose?” Trump asked Black voters in 2016. “Well,” Ray and Gilbert respond, “what Black people have to lose are their lives as well as those of their loved ones if stuck with four more years of a Trump administration.”
4. YOUNGER GENERATIONS WILL TRANSFORM AMERICA’S ELECTORAL FUTURE
The electorate and the American political landscape will inevitably change as younger generations step up to create a larger share of eligible voters. Rob Griffin, William Frey, and Ruy Teixera produced a series of future election simulations to investigate how America’s youngest generations, including Millennials and Generation Z, which are both more racially diverse than older generations, appear to be more Democratic leaning than their predecessors were at the same age. “The projected growth of groups by race, age, education, gender and state tends to be more robust among Democratic-leaning groups, creating a consistent and growing headwind for the Republican party,” they write. “This will require the GOP to improve their performance among key demographic groups, election after election, just to keep their vote share competitive.”
5. SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS FOR POOR CHILDREN CAN COMBAT US CHILD POVERTY
Melissa Kearney explores the idea of abolishing child poverty in the U.S. by giving poor children Social Security benefits, similar to benefits given to older Americans. She points out that COVID-19 has exacerbated the need to “prioritize the protection of our nation’s most vulnerable children.” The long-term consequences of low-income and special needs children in virtual learning, combined with childhood hunger and maltreatment, will have lasting effects on these children and the nation. “If we gave each child living in poverty the average Social Security benefit received by a Social Security recipient age 65 and over – that’s $17,112 annually,” Kearney argues, “the rate of childhood poverty in this country would fall to less than 1 percent.”
6. AN IMMIGRATION BAN COST FORTUNE 500 FIRMS $100 BILLION
On June 22, 2020, President Trump issued an executive order suspending new work visas for skilled immigrants, banning nearly 200,000 foreign workers and shutting down the pipeline for a large workforce for Fortune 500 companies. In their new report, Dany Bahar, Prithwiraj Choudhury, and Britta Glennon find that the ban “statistically and economically significantly caused negative [cumulative average abnormal returns] of up to 0.45 percent, the equivalent of over $100 billion of losses, based on the firms’ valuation before the event.” These results were pronounced for American companies that had maintained or increased their demand for skilled immigrant workers.
7. PLAYFUL LEARNING PROMOTES 21st-CENTURY SKILLS IN SCHOOLS
A new report from Policy 2020’s Big Ideas series explores a new framework for education reform based on a playful learning approach centered on the 6 Cs: collaboration, communication, content, critical thinking, creative innovation, and confidence. Authors Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Helen Shwe Hadani, Roberta Golinkoff, and Elias Blinkoff explain the critical role of playful learning in all stages and discuss how the 6 Cs can be incorporated in the classroom. “It is time for a scalable, evidence-based education reform that puts student engagement, educator expertise, and equity at the center,” they write. “Specifically, we recommend adopting a method for keeping students engaged in the classroom, reflecting the latest evidence on how children learn best.”
8. CHINA’S GROWING ROLE IN GLOBAL INSTITUTIONS
The final series of papers from the Global China initiative analyzes China’s increasingly larger role in influencing international institutions, norms, and rules, and what other nations should do to answer Beijing’s ambitious efforts. The new papers, introduced by Tarun Chhabra, Rush Doshi, Ryan Hass, and Emilie Kimball, examine China’s approach to global governance, including its growing power to bend rules and norms in its preferred direction, while America has stepped back in recent years. The papers provide policy prescriptions for how the U.S. can be more effective at protecting its status and interests in the world. “In some areas, such as climate change, the [paper] authors call for the United States to explore deeper collaboration with China… In other areas, such as democracy promotion, the authors urge the United States to pursue a more competitive approach to blunting China’s efforts to advance its ambitions.”
9. WHY COVID-19 HAS BEEN ESPECIALLY HARMFUL FOR WORKING WOMEN
Nicole Bateman and Martha Ross examine COVID-19’s especially negative effects on working women, for reasons ranging from being disproportionately represented in low-wage jobs to childcare systems not meeting the needs of working mothers. COVID-19 has increased the pressure on working mothers who shoulder both work and family obligations with access to solutions that provide only temporary support. “COVID-19 is hard on women because the U.S. economy is hard on women,” they observe, “and this virus excels at taking existing tensions and ratcheting them up.”
10. RETIREMENT TONTINES: AN ALTERNATIVE SOURCE OF RETIREMENT INCOME?
Preparing for retirement poses complex challenges, from accumulating enough savings during working years to spending wisely after retiring. The latter challenge includes the problem of not running out of income as aging continues. J. Mark Iwry, Claire Haldeman, William Gale, and David John analyze a new way to manage income in retirement: a tontine. “Tontines are investment pools where members commit funds irrevocably and where the resources and income claims of members who die are given to members who survive,” they explain. Tontines can be adapted to fit a variety of financial structures, they add, but were outlawed “in response to corrupt insurance company management.”