Supreme Court Weighs Key Issues in Competitive Election Cycle | US News

The Supreme Court and its nascent conservative majority largely stayed out of the political fray during the last term absent a few key cases involving issues like political gerrymandering. But with the new term beginning Monday, the justices are poised to tackle thornier, partisan subjects with the potential to change the direction of the court in the midst of the 2020 election cycle.

Over the next eight months, the high court will weigh issues that animate both liberals and conservatives with high-profile cases on abortion, gun rights, LGBTQ workplace discrimination and the fate of an Obama-era program that has shielded young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children from deportation. The new court session is likely to leave some kind of mark on the 2020 elections like it has in past cycles.

Source: Supreme Court Weighs Key Issues in Competitive Election Cycle | America 2020 | US News

Trump’s Tax Bill Has Cost Homeowners a Trillion Dollars | Fortune

In recent weeks, President Donald Trump has been talking about plans for, as he put it, a “very substantial tax cut for middle income folks who work so hard.”

But before Congress embarks on a new tax measure, people should consider one of the largely unexamined effects of the last tax bill, which Trump promised would help the middle class: Would you believe it has inflicted a trillion dollars of damage on homeowners—many of them middle class—throughout the country?

That massive number is the reduction in home values caused by the 2017 tax law that capped federal deductions for state and local real estate and income taxes at $10,000 a year and also eliminated some mortgage interest deductions.

The impact varies widely across different areas. Counties with high home prices and high real estate taxes and where homeowners have big mortgages are suffering the biggest hit, as you’d expect, given the larger value of the lost tax deductions. But as we’ll see, homeowners all over the country are feeling the effects.

Source: Trump’s Tax Bill Has Cost Homeowners a Trillion Dollars | Fortune

NSA chief explains new cyber directorate | FCW

The National Security Agency’s new cyber directorate wants to bridge gaps between government agencies and the defense industrial base, according to the agency’s chief Gen. Paul Nakasone.

“NSA’s new cybersecurity directorate, which opened for business last week, will give us a laser focus on these challenges,” said Nakasone, who also leads U.S. Cyber Command, during an Oct. 9 keynote at the FireEye Cyber Defense Summit in Washington, D.C.

Nakasone named three reasons behind standing up the cybersecurity directorate, which is headed by Anne Neuberger and stood up Oct. 1: to combat an evolving threat landscape, capitalize on ability to set security standards and make vulnerability assessments, and enhance partnerships with Cyber Command, Homeland Security, FBI and industry.

Source: NSA chief explains new cyber directorate — FCW

CISA requests administrative subpoena power over ISPs | FCW

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is seeking new authorities to issue administrative subpoenas to compel internet service providers to turn over customer information that allows the agency to identify owners of critical infrastructure systems that have identified cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

FCW has confirmed the department has submitted a proposal for legislative language to Congress, and a spokesperson for the House Homeland Security Committee said the committee is currently “vetting the proposal.” The proposal was submitted earlier this year and a briefing at the staff level has taken place. Other sources close to the committees have indicated that not every member has been briefed on or seen the proposal yet.

TechCrunch was first to report on the proposal.

Source: CISA requests administrative subpoena power over ISPs — FCW

Will America embrace national service?

This paper examines the case for national service, highlights the various ways in which that service could unfold, and concludes that large-scale national service is needed in America now.

America’s civic health is in significant decline. The percentage of Americans who say others can be trusted fell from 46 percent in 1972 to just 31 percent in 2016, with 36 percent of whites and 17 percent of Blacks expressing such trust; and, in recent years, trust in the media, government, and the courts has fallen to historic lows.

It is no surprise that communities are fraying in places like Charlottesville, Ferguson and Baltimore, and that America is not fulfilling its potential, as political institutions suffer from partisan gridlock, and the institutions that serve as checks on power and as guarantors of individual rights are increasingly under attack.

Source: Will America embrace national service?

Double tipping points in 2019: When the world became mostly rich and largely old

The classic population pyramid (with many young and few old people) was typical only 100 years ago. Not anymore. The shape will soon look more like a rectangle, with age cohorts of approximately equal size stretching out to 80 years of life expectancy.

These demographic shifts are also reshaping the perception of age. Historically, until about 2000 years ago, humans only lived for 30 years, which was also the typical lifespan of a forager in the Savannah.

But since the beginning of modern economic growth, sometime between 1850 and 1950 depending on the country, lifespans started to increase rapidly across the world. But because of the pattern of demographic change, with young cohorts expanding more rapidly than older cohorts, most people were in their formative years—children, teenagers, young and mobile.

Those who were married, with a steady job and a settled lifestyle were in the minority. This has now changed.

For the first time ever, there are as many people over the age of 30 as under the age of 30, a tipping point that has profound implications for the global economy.

Source: Double tipping points in 2019: When the world became mostly rich and largely old

For a few dollars more: global funds take on FX risk | Reuters

Some European and Japanese bond investors are taking on more currency risk by buying dollar debt without protecting themselves against potentially devastating exchange rate swings as they seek ways to compensate for sub-zero yields at home.

A fund manager in Germany can buy 10-year U.S. Treasuries that offer minimal credit risk at yields of up to 1.6%, more than 2 percentage points more than for German Bunds.

Source: For a few dollars more: global funds take on FX risk – Reuters

Rising old used car prices help push poor Americans over the edge | Reuters

For America’s working poor, an often essential ingredient for getting and keeping a job – having a car – has rarely been more costly, and millions of people are finding it impossible to keep up with payments despite prolonged economic growth and low unemployment.

More than 7 million Americans are already 90 or more days behind on their car loans, according to the New York Federal Reserve, and serious delinquency rates among borrowers with the lowest credit scores have by far seen the fastest acceleration.

The seeds of the problem are buried deep in the financial crisis, when in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, automakers slashed production.

Source: Rising old used car prices help push poor Americans over the edge – Reuters

More than 5,000 hotels add security devices to protect workers from sexual harassment | Los Angeles Times

More than 5,000 U.S. hotels and resorts have begun offering employees security devices and training to help prevent sexual harassment — a problem that has gained prominence with the #MeToo movement and has been targeted by union leaders in Southern California.

A hotel trade group announced the progress Monday, saying an additional 15,000 properties will offer the devices and training by 2020. The news comes about a year after the top executives of Marriott, Hyatt, IHG, Wyndham and Hilton hotels held a joint news conference to promise they would address sexual harassment of hotel workers.

Source: More than 5,000 hotels add security devices to protect workers from sexual harassment – Los Angeles Times

Sudan’s Fragile Transition

The international community must remember that it was an economic crisis that was at the heart of former President Bashir’s ouster.

Elites in the security services, aware of the $50 billion-plus debt burden and the absence of deep-pocketed rescuers willing to bet on Bashir, recognized that their interests could not be served by the status quo, and so, at least for a moment, found common cause with the brave Sudanese citizens who had taken to the streets.

Those same elites should be reminded that economic lifelines will be linked to real transition milestones going forward. They need reasons not to stall progress, as well as reasons to isolate and abandon those who would.

The United States should not rely on Gulf States to send this message, or on Gulf money to incentivize democratic progress.

Source: Sudan’s Fragile Transition