New America Policy Papers: 2006

Papers and other formal publications from our policy programs are available below. To jump to another year in the archives, please use the links at right.

A Premium Price

  • By
  • Len Nichols,
  • Peter Harbage,
  • New America Foundation
December 18, 2006

Health insurance is the primary method Californians use to access and pay for health care. However, millions of Californians have inadequate health insurance or lack coverage entirely. When care is needed, the first inclination for these families is to delay treatment that is too costly and then hope for the best. And when hope is not enough, these families are forced to seek treatment that they often cannot afford. When medical bills go unpaid, many health care providers shift the cost onto those who can pay -- the those with health insurance...

Dealing with Tehran

  • By
  • Flynt Leverett,
  • New America Foundation
December 10, 2006

This report by Flynt Leverett, director of New America's Geopolitics of Energy Initiative within the American Strategy Program, was commissioned by The Century Foundation.

The complete document is available via The Century Foundation website at http://www.tcf.org/list.asp?type=PB&pubid=595.

How Research on Family Structure and Children's Development Can Inform Healthy Marriage Practitioners in the Field

  • By
  • Kelleen Kaye,
  • New America Foundation
December 1, 2006

Is children’s development, and children’s cognitive development in particular, affected by the marital status of their parents? On the face of it, this seems to be a simple question to which there is an intuitively simple answer: yes. Yet the answer to this question is anything but simple. The complexity of this question, the policy context that has helped shape a growing body of related research, and the implications of findings for policy and practice are discussed below.

From New England to the Golden Gate Bridge

  • By
  • Cristy Gallagher,
  • New America Foundation
November 20, 2006

Frustrated by the lack of action or even attention at the federal level, states and local governments are looking for creative ways to expand programs to reach the 47 million Americans without health insurance. There have already been a number of creative initiatives by states and localities over the last five years to cover more of the uninsured, which deserve our review.

Automatic Voter Registration

November 10, 2006

The Problem. Recent elections underscore the importance of improving the way we register citizens to vote. Our voter rolls are not complete enough, with nearly a third of eligible Californians -- about 6.7 million people -- not registered, a lower percentage than in 2001.This lack of civic participation is a threat to good governance and a healthy democracy. Current state law limits valuable opportunities for engaging more Californians in the electoral process.

Rethinking Federal Low-Income Housing Policies

  • By F. Stevens Redburn, Fellow, National Academy of Public Administration
November 1, 2006

Federal housing programs are sustained more by inertia and the difficulty of unwinding financial obligations than by a consensus that these policies are effective in helping people. Established rationales have been weakened both by changes in the nature of the housing problems faced by low-income households and by the inability of research to demonstrate that these programs are as cost-effective as alternative means of helping improve the lives of the poor. Setting a new course requires us to rethink housing policy—from its premises on up.

Realizing America's Economic Potential

October 30, 2006

Over the past decade and half, two pivotal developments have come together to create the conditions for what could be a new golden era of faster economic growth and rising prosperity. One development involves the technological advancements and other changes associated with the new economy, which have substantially increased U.S. and world productivity growth. The bursting of the tech bubble in 2000 may have put an end to the hype surrounding the new economy.

Rebuilding America's Productive Economy

  • By
  • Joel Kotkin,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Delore Zimmerman, President & CEO, Praxis, Inc.
October 30, 2006

From its inception as a nation, America's great advantage over its global rivals has stemmed largely from the successful development of its vast interior. The Heartland has been both the incubator of national identity and an outlet for the entrepreneurial energies of both immigrants and those living in dense urban areas.

Universal Voter Registration

October 30, 2006

California's strength flows from a willingness to innovate and improve upon the American experiment in democracy. Recent elections underscore the importance of revamping the way we register citizens to vote, with the twin goals of registering all eligible voters and decreasing opportunities for voter fraud. Voter rolls should be complete and clean.

From TV to Public Safety

  • By Jon M. Peha, Carnegie Mellon University
October 26, 2006

Abstract

Teacher Quality in Grades PK-3: Challenges and Options

  • By
  • Justin King,
  • Lindsey Luebchow,
  • New America Foundation
October 20, 2006

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Spectrum Policy Wonderland

  • By
  • J.H. Snider,
  • New America Foundation
September 30, 2006

Prepared for delivery at the
Telecommunications Policy Research Conference
George Mason University School of Law, Arlington, VA
September 30, 2006.  

 

Abstract

Building Constituencies for Spectrum Policy Change - First Report

September 23, 2006

In early 2006, the Wireless Future Program at the New America Foundation, an independent think tank, launched a new initiative to advance its work on public interest spectrum policy by strengthening connections with -- and service to -- diverse public constituencies. NAF enlisted CIMA: Center for International Media Action to convene a group to advise its Wireless Future Program from the perspective of communities that have a vested stake in the debate, but whose interests are not well represented by current policy and industry agendas.

Net Worth at Birth (Revised)

  • By
  • Reid Cramer,
  • New America Foundation
September 16, 2006
Achieving security in today’s economy requires not just a job and growing income, but increasingly on the ability to accumulate a wide range of assets. Yet many Americans have low asset holdings and many children are disadvantaged from the start of their lives relative to those children born into affluence. Regrettably, the asset-building system already in place that facilitates wealth creation disproportionately benefits those households with higher incomes, better job benefits, and larger income tax liabilities.

Ineligible to Save?

  • By
  • Rourke OBrien,
  • New America Foundation
September 15, 2006

For families making the difficult transition from welfare to work, developing assets is critical to achieving true economic independence.  In order to prevent a complete backslide to public assistance, low income working families must begin to develop their own safety net through personal saving for use in the event of an unexpected income shock due to illness or temporary unemployment.  As personal saving is essential to achieving self-sufficiency – the stated goal of our national welfare program – one would expect saving to be emphasized and encouraged by social service agencies.

Grandparents Raising Their Grandchildren

  • By
  • Danielle T. Maxwell,
  • New America Foundation
September 8, 2006

Today nearly 5.7 million grandparents only have to walk downstairs or down the hall to celebrate Grandparents Day with their grandchildren. They are part of a growing segment of the American population that is living in multigenerational households.

With the increasing demands of a global society, Americans are looking outside the nuclear family and using extended family members to assist with household responsibilities. Grandparents are helping their children manage their hectic lives and alleviate some of the parenting burden.

A Dissent to 'Closing the Achievement Gap'

  • By Stephen Goldsmith, Harvard University
August 31, 2006

A Dissenting View

How Mass Media Use Crisis Communications for Political Gain

  • By
  • J.H. Snider,
  • New America Foundation
August 30, 2006

This paper was submitted to the American Political Science Association 2006  Annual Meeting.

It’s a common observation that crises such as wars, recessions, stock market meltdowns, ethics scandals, and natural catastrophes often drive the public policymaking process. A crisis reveals a problem and then a public consensus emerges that policymakers must do something about it. The policy debate then centers on the best means to solve the problem.

Populating the Vacant Channels

  • By Pierre de Vries, Senior Fellow, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California
August 8, 2006

There are vacant channels between broadcast television stations in every media market. This spectrum can be used by unlicensed devices without interfering with television viewing.

An unlicensed allocation of these bands would be the most productive way to use this spectrum. Unlicensed spectrum is a proven way to generate technical and commercial innovation; promotes healthy diversity in markets and regulatory models; and complements the licensed allocation in the nearby 700 MHz band.

Growing Support for Shared Responsibility in Health Care

  • By
  • Peter Harbage,
  • New America Foundation
August 1, 2006

Fear is a powerful force. Families fear the disappearance of affordable health insurance, employers fear international competition while financing high and rising health care costs at home, and providers fear that they will not be able to deliver needed care for lack of funding. In short, just about everyone fears that our system will fall apart. Instead of taking action, many politicians remain fearful of tackling health care reform, since it crushed the Clintons and others before them.

Instant Runoff Voting: Making Your Vote Count

July 29, 2006

Overview

California’s winner-take-all electoral system is responsible for polarized politics, a balkanized legislature and declining voter turnout. Advanced electoral systems like instant runoff voting offer voters the opportunity for better choices at the ballot box, improved political debate and broader-based politics.

Proportional Voting

July 29, 2006

Overview. California’s representative government is plagued by an unprecedented number of noncompetitive elections. The Legislature is highly partisan because over 90 percent of legislative districts strongly favor one political party over the other. Incumbents are not accountable to voters and act without fear of losing re-election.

Closing the Achievement Gap

  • By
  • Justin King,
  • New America Foundation
July 25, 2006

A significant, albeit still insufficient, expansion of access to publicly supported early education programs for children ages 3 to 5 has occurred over the last decade. This trend bodes well for children at risk of academic failure, but is endangered by uneven, halting, and at times inadequate attention to program quality in grades prekindergarten through three.

Budget Update -- The Senate Budget Reform Package

  • By
  • Maya MacGuineas,
  • New America Foundation
July 14, 2006

You have heard us say it before and we will say it again: Budget rules alone cannot do the heavy lifting required to address the nation's fiscal challenges. One could argue that focusing on budget reform is a diversion from the issues that should be getting Members' attention -- the revenue and spending policy changes to bring the short- and long-term budget back into balance. But given the polarized partisan environment and that it is an election year, improvements to budget process may be the most one can hope for.

AutoSave

  • By
  • Reid Cramer,
  • New America Foundation
July 13, 2006

Last year the United States had a negative personal savings rate for the first time since the Great Depression, contributing to a historically low national saving rate. If low saving persists over an extended period of time, it will drain resources available for potentially productive investments, undermine economic growth and foster economic insecurity. Recent findings from the field of behavioral economics and institutional savings theory provide valuable insights into what it would take to turn America back into a saving nation.

Beyond Censorship

  • By
  • Brian Beutler,
  • Naveen Lakshmipathy,
  • New America Foundation
July 11, 2006

As the FCC dramatically increases fines for indecency over broadcast TV -- and as Congress and the President raise the fine limits by a factor of ten and threaten to extend decency standards to cable and satellite networks -- the debate over how best to protect children from inappropriate media has reached a fever pitch. The problem is real: a plethora of studies show that repeated exposure to violence, inappropriate sexual content and even repeated advertising for junk food can have a negative, long-term impact on children.

Examples of Consumer Benefits from TV 'White Spaces' Legislation

  • By
  • Michael Calabrese,
  • New America Foundation
July 10, 2006

What all community wireless networks—commercial (WISP), municipal and community nonprofit—have in common is the unlicensed spectrum they use to transmit signals. Opening more low-frequency spectrum – such as the unused TV channels – is therefore the “rocket fuel” needed to facilitate and scale up community wireless networks, as well as home and business WiFi networks. Unlicensed, or open spectrum, refers to segments of the airwaves that have not been licensed by the government for exclusive use by one company or other entity.

Why Unlicensed Use of Vacant TV Spectrum Will Not Interfere with Television Reception

  • By Michael Marcus, Associate Chief for Technology, FCC Office of Engineering and Technology; Paul Kolodzy, former Director, FCC Spectrum Policy Task Force; and Andrew Lippman, founding Associate Director, MIT Media Lab
July 10, 2006

This paper takes account of new information to update an earlier New America Issue Brief by the same authors: “Why Unlicensed Use of the White Space in the TV Bands Will Not Cause Interference to DTV Viewers” (October 2005).

State Policy Options for Building Assets

  • By Karen Edwards and Gena Gunn, Center for Social Development; Heather McCulloch, New America Foundation
June 30, 2006

States continue to play an important role in helping low- and moderate-resource families save and build wealth. They have been innovators in assets policy, whether on their own or through the forces of "devolution," in which federal funds and decision-making authority are shifting from the federal to the state level. These initiatives and experiments -- these "laboratories of democracy" -- have inspired and informed other states as well as policymakers at the national level.

Policy Options to Improve Financial Education

  • By Lisa Servon, Associate Professor and Acting Director of the Community Development Research Center, New School University
June 30, 2006

Sorting through credit card offers, deciding how to invest retirement funds in the stock market, picking the right mortgage from a myriad of options, deciding how to save for a child's college tuition—the scope and diversity of the financial decisions a family has to make has grown exponentially. Former Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan observed, "Today's financial world is highly complex when compared with that of a generation ago. Forty years ago, a simple understanding of how to maintain a checking and savings account at local banks and savings institutions may have been sufficient.

Citizens Assembly

June 30, 2006

The Problem

A number of promising reforms have been proposed for making the California political system more representative and responsive— from independent redistricting, term limits, and open primaries to more modern electoral systems and public financing of campaigns—but all face the same obstacle: entrenched interests, including elected lawmakers, who benefit from the status quo.

Programs:

Valuing Fathers

  • By
  • David Gray,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Roland Warren, President, The National Fatherhood Initiative
June 18, 2006

Because of the demographic changes of the past generation, dads need more flexibility in their work. Businesses are recognizing that more fathers need flexibility in the workplace and many are giving it.

Businesses should be applauded for that and encouraged to do more in providing workplace flexibility -- and dads deserve credit for the work, balancing and the sacrifices that they make.

For the complete Issue Brief, please see the attached PDF below.

Health Reform Massachusetts Style

  • By
  • Len Nichols,
  • New America Foundation
May 15, 2006

Everyone interested in solutions to our health system's problems (and who isn't?) is looking to Massachusetts in the wake of its recent landmark legislation. Like the Rorschach ink blot test, many commentators see what they want to see, not what is actually there. Pessimists emphasize the uniqueness of Massachusetts and rush to proclaim that it can never happen anywhere else in America. Pragmatists see a bipartisan agreement to cover all people and celebrate, regardless of the type or coverage or the cost implications.

Honoring America's Entrepreneurial Culture

  • By
  • Alexander Konetzki,
  • David Gray,
  • New America Foundation
May 10, 2006

In his famous work on American democracy, Alexis de Tocqueville observed that "Boldness of enterprise is the foremost cause of [America's] rapid progress, its strength, and its greatness." This observation, made in the mid- 1830s, is one with which few of those who comment on economics and American commerce today would disagree. The "boldness of enterprise" that Tocqueville referred to is entrepreneurship, the process of innovation, which, under conditions of risk and uncertainty, results in the creation of a new venture.

The Assets Agenda 2006

  • By
  • Anne Stuhldreher,
  • Ray Boshara,
  • Reid Cramer,
  • New America Foundation
April 21, 2006

The purpose of this issue brief is to summarize a federal public policy agenda to broaden savings and asset ownership opportunities for low- and moderate-income Americans. It reflects our latest and best thinking, and draws heavily on the work of many experts focusing on various facets of savings and asset-building policy. The menu includes calls for new structures and policies, as well as changes to existing tax systems, government programs and financial products.

Reinventing Savings Bonds

  • By Peter Tufano and Daniel Schneider, Harvard University
April 21, 2006

Savings bonds have always served multiple objectives: funding the U.S. government, democratizing national financing, and enabling families to save. Increasingly, that last goal has been ignored. A series of efficiency measures introduced in 2003 make these bonds less attractive and less accessible to savers. Public policy should go in the opposite direction: U.S. savings bonds should be reinvigorated to help low- and moderate-income (LMI) families build assets. More and more, those families’ saving needs are ignored by private-sector asset managers and marketers.

Wireless Public Safety Data Networks Operating on Unlicensed Airwaves

  • By
  • Naveen Lakshmipathy,
  • New America Foundation
April 19, 2006

From the fire fighters who died on 9/11 to the rescue workers struggling to help victims of Hurricane Katrina, recent crises have demonstrated that the absence of reliable and interoperable voice and data communications among public safety agencies is an urgent national dilemma.

Community Wireless: Overview of Current Policy Debates

  • By
  • Naveen Lakshmipathy,
  • New America Foundation
April 5, 2006

updated January 10, 2007 

Mexikota: The Plain States' Run for the Border

  • By
  • David Gray,
  • New America Foundation
April 1, 2006

In the wake of terrorist threats, gas price spikes, hurricanes, and a run-up in housing prices in certain markets, there has been broad discussion recently about the value to the U.S. of encouraging greater development in the nation’s interior. Population growth along America’s coasts is crowding more people into ever smaller areas, while the interior of the country remains relatively open. As the U.S population is projected to grow to 400 million in the next half century, America has an incentive to encourage people on the coasts to settle inland.

More Attention Needs to be Paid to America's Workforce System

  • By
  • David Gray,
  • New America Foundation
March 15, 2006

Why isn’t more attention paid to the need for a public and private sector revolution in job training? In the past few years, there has been much attention paid to improving America’s education system. By tradition and even by law, education is a state and local responsibility. However, education has seen a critical change over the past five years in terms of the federal role. The Republican Party has transformed from calling for a decreased federal role in education (many in 1994 wanted to abolish the Department of Education) to being a party of a new increased federal role.

Budget Update -- And So Budget Season Begins

  • By
  • Maya MacGuineas,
  • New America Foundation
March 14, 2006

The President’s budget projects a decline in the deficit from $423 billion in FY
2005 (3.2% of GDP) to $205 billion in FY 2011 (1.2% of GDP). The President has
proposed further savings in mandatory spending this year—a positive step.
However, the proposed savings in mandatory spending programs and the cuts in
non-defense discretionary spending programs would be more than offset by the tax
cuts and other increases in spending. Though the deficit is projected to decrease
under the proposed budget in the short-term, the President’s policies would actually

Reforming 529 College Savings Plans to Better Reach Low-Income Families

  • By Margaret Clancy, Project Director, Center for Social Development
March 1, 2006
Qualified Tuition Plans, commonly called “529 plans” after the applicable section of the federal tax code, were implemented in their present form in 2001. These state-sponsored plans can help families save for their children’s college education, or an adult can open an account to use for their own post-secondary expenses. Under current law, earnings and qualified withdrawals are exempt from federal income tax liability.

President Bush's FY2007 Budget

  • By
  • David Gray,
  • New America Foundation
March 1, 2006

In early February, the President released his $2.8 trillion budget for FY2007. By and large, the budget did not focus on addressing the needs of families. Many of the proposed budget cuts and 141 program eliminations were in social, educational and health programs that benefit families. However, the President’s emphasis on research and development, investment in science and math education, and energy independence, were bold and welcome ideas.

Myth vs. Fact: The Rhetoric and Reality of Progress in Allocating More Spectrum for Unlicensed Use

  • By
  • J.H. Snider,
  • New America Foundation
February 22, 2006

In November 2002, the FCC’s Spectrum Policy Task Force released a report calling for shifting large amounts of spectrum from the current command and control allocation system to both unlicensed and licensed flexible-use service. Since then, the FCC has started numerous proceedings to follow through on these recommendations. But whereas the proceedings granting flexible use to incumbent license holders and others have been fast tracked and completed, the proceedings seeking to allocate more unlicensed spectrum have, with only one notable exception, been sidetracked.

Reclaiming the Vast Wasteland: The Economic Case

  • By
  • J.H. Snider,
  • New America Foundation
February 21, 2006

On May 12, 2004, the FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing unlicensed use of unused TV channels 2-to-51 (Docket 04-186). When the DTV transition ends in early 2009, most of the nation’s 210 TV markets will have between 10 and 40 unassigned channels reserved for broadcasting, but not in use. The FCC proposal would allow a new generation of wireless broadband devices to utilize the vacant TV channels in each local market for WiFi and other unlicensed technologies.

The Assets Report 2006

  • By
  • Ray Boshara,
  • Reid Cramer,
  • New America Foundation
February 15, 2006

The second year of the Bush Administration’s second term is underway and the prospect of a large breakthrough for asset building policy appears remote at this time. The President’s second Inaugural Address, which highlighted the transformative potential of “ownership” and an “ownership society,” has given way to the political realities of budget deficits, international commitments, and uncertain electoral prospects.

Economic Growth Finally Having its Effect on Family Wages

  • By
  • David Gray,
  • New America Foundation
February 13, 2006

This week, the White House submitted its annual Economic Report of the President to Congress. It was a positive forecast driven by continuing strong consumer spending, business investment and export growth. Despite high energy prices and Hurricane Katrina, the White House had a lot of good news to trumpet on the economy from four years of largely uninterrupted economic growth.

For the complete document, please see the attached PDF version. 

Refund Splitting

  • By
  • Anne Stuhldreher,
  • New America Foundation
February 1, 2006

To encourage savings, California state income tax forms should be amended to allow households to split their tax refund and direct portions to up to three accounts. The income tax forms would need to be changed to include three "boxes," where tax filers could input account numbers to which they could direct parts of their refunds. Currently, there is only one "box," on the form, allowing tax filers to direct their refund to only one account. New research indicates this simple change can increase personal savings, even for low income people.

Ladders of Learning

  • By Kristie Kauerz, Doctoral Candidate in Early Childhood Education Policy, Columbia University
January 20, 2006

It’s a good news, bad news situation. The good news is an increasing body of evidence shows that children’s participation in high quality pre-kindergarten (PK) programs helps them begin kindergarten ready to succeed. Similarly, there is growing evidence that children who start kindergarten behind but participate in a full-day kindergarten (FDK) program catch up to their peers by the end one academic year. The bad news is these effects often appear to “fade out” over time.

Myth vs. Fact: A Response to Broadcast Industry Misinformation Concerning Possible Interference from 'Smart' Wi-Fi Devices

  • By
  • J.H. Snider,
  • New America Foundation
January 5, 2006

The broadcast industry’s digital TV (DTV) transition involves the future use of two different sets of frequencies (channels): channels 2-to-51 and channels 52-to-69. Channels 52-to-69 are all to be cleared of broadcasting at the end of DTV transition and reallocated for public safety agencies and for auction to commercial wireless services. Recently passed Congressional legislation proposing a fixed deadline for the DTV transition only addressed the future of channels 52-69. Channels 2-to-51 will remain allocated to DTV.

Measuring TV 'White Space' Available for Unlicensed Wireless Broadband

  • By
  • Michael Calabrese,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Ben Scott, Policy Director, Free Press
January 5, 2006
The full version of this document (69 pp.), as well as a summary (2 pp.), are available in the attached PDF documents below.

Budget Update -- Stumbling to the Finish Line

  • By
  • Maya MacGuineas,
  • New America Foundation
January 4, 2006

Although being a budget watchdog generally requires a healthy dose of skepticism, recent months have provided reasons for cautious optimism. The sticker shock associated with the costs of responding to Hurricane Katrina on top of large structural deficits appears to have made the nation’s fiscal health a higher priority for policymakers and the public.

Savings and Tax Reform

  • By
  • Reid Cramer,
  • New America Foundation
January 1, 2006

In recognition of the challenges inherent in pursuing tax reform, President Bush established an advisory panel in January 2005 which was asked to develop options for reforming the tax code. The President’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform took its mandate seriously, and its final report, issued in November, includes a range of far reaching ideas and specific proposals worthy of public debate. A number of recommendations would affect fundamental decisions about how households choose to save or consume, and thus directly impact the broader process of asset building.

A Financial Jump Start for CalWorks Recipients

  • By
  • Anne Stuhldreher,
  • New America Foundation
January 1, 2006

In a recent speech, Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan noted, “Today’s financial world is highly complex when compared with that of a generation ago. Forty years ago, a simple understanding of how to maintain a checking and savings account, at local banks and savings institutions may have been sufficient.

Outline of the New America Vision for a 21st Century Health Care System

  • By
  • Len Nichols,
  • New America Foundation
January 1, 2006

Health care in America is in a state of crisis. Collectively, we spend a far higher percentage of our GDP on health care than other industrial nations, yet tens of thousands of Americans are dying prematurely each year due to inadequate access to high quality care. Our crisis is rooted in part in how we pay for health care, leaving 45 million Americans without adequate insurance or access to providers, and in what we pay for, getting uneven and low quality -- and low clinical value -- for our expenditures.

Bipartisan Solutions to Work and Family Balance Challenges

  • By
  • David Gray,
  • New America Foundation
January 1, 2006

America is the world's most entrepreneurial nation, giving tremendous opportunities to our own citizens andattracting business leaders from around the world wholocate in the United States to realize the benefits of our dynamic labor force. Yet as recent cover stories in Businessweek and Fortune magazines indicate, American workers increasingly feel stressed about trying to balance their work and family commitments, and value working arrangements that can help them find balance.

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