Economic Daily Outlook




Federal Funds to Train the Jobless Are Drying Up

With the economy slowly reviving, an executive from Atlas Van Lines recently visited Louisville, Ky., with good news: the company wanted to hire more than 100 truck drivers ahead of the summer moving season.

But a usually reliable source of workers, the local government-financed job center, could offer little help, because the federal money that local officials had designated to help train drivers was already exhausted. Without the government assistance, many of the people who would be interested in applying for the driving jobs could not afford the $4,000 classes to obtain commercial driver’s licenses. Now Atlas is struggling to find eligible drivers.



OPINION: FDA for Derivatives Won’t Defuse Wall Street’s Bombs (William D. Cohan)

Given the role that Wall Street’s reckless use of derivatives played in causing the Great Recession, I can understand the desire for new ways to regulate financial instruments.

For example, on March 31 Gretchen Morgenson of the New York Times advocated creating a federal agency to test new financial products in the same way the Food and Drug Administration tests pharmaceuticals before they are allowed onto the market — “an agency that examined new financial instruments and ensured that they were safe and benefited society, not just bankers.” The idea was not her own, although she thought it a good one. Morgenson properly credited an academic paper by two University of Chicago professors — Eric A. Posner, who teaches law, and Glen Weyl, an assistant professor in economics — who had a Bloomberg View op-ed article on the subject the following day.



White House has diverted $500M to IRS to implement healthcare law

The Obama administration is quietly diverting roughly $500 million to the IRS to help implement the president’s healthcare law.

The money is only part of the IRS’s total implementation spending, and it is being provided outside the normal appropriations process. The tax agency is responsible for several key provisions of the new law, including the unpopular individual mandate.



Obama, Brazilian president to hold talks on energy partnership

President Obama and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff will have energy on their agenda when they meet at the White House Monday.

The two presidents in March of 2011 announced a “Strategic Energy Dialogue” when Obama visited Brazil, one of several joint initiatives.



For-Profit Schools Under Fire For Targeting Veterans

Hundreds of thousands of veterans have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years, eager to get an education under the new post-Sept. 11 G.I. Bill.

Many vets looking for a school find they are inundated by sales pitches from institutions hungry for their government benefits. Now, lawmakers are looking for ways to protect vets without narrowing their education choices.

Political, legal fights over school vouchers’ fate

Students like Delano Coffy are at the heart of brewing political fights and court battles over whether public dollars should go to school vouchers to help make private schools more affordable.

He was failing in his neighborhood public elementary school in Indianapolis until his mother enrolled him in a Roman Catholic school. Heather Coffy has scraped by for years to pay the tuition for Delano, now 16 and in a Catholic high school, and his two younger siblings, who attend the same Catholic elementary as their brother did. She’s getting help today from a voucher program, passed last year at the urging of GOP Gov. Mitch Daniels, that allows her to use state money for her children’s education.



U.S. Transfers Control of Night Raids to Afghanistan

Accelerating the transition of military responsibility to the Afghan government, the United States agreed Sunday to hand control of special operations missions to Afghan forces, including night raids, relegating American troops to a supporting role and bringing the raids under Afghan judicial authority.

The deal clears the way for the two countries to move ahead with a more comprehensive partnership agreement that will establish the shape of American support to Afghanistan after the 2014 troop withdrawal deadline. And it resolves one of the most contentious issues for President Hamid Karzai, who faced intense domestic political pressure because of night raids’ deep unpopularity here, even as American commanders had insisted they were the linchpin of the military mission in Afghanistan.