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31 декабря 2017, 23:54

2016 Financial Report of the U.S. Government

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Today, Treasury released the 2016 US Financial Report, which can be found here: https://www.fiscal.treasury.gov/fsreports/rpt/finrep/fr/fr_index.htm Please see the Secretary's letter below:   January 12, 2017   A Message from the Secretary    The annual Financial Report of the U.S. Government provides to the public a comprehensive overview of the Government’s current financial position, as well as critical insight into our long term fiscal outlook. The Fiscal Year 2016 Financial Report, the final U.S. Financial Report of the Obama Administration, reflects an economy that has come a long way since 2008, with sustained private sector job growth and increasing vitality.   Under President Obama’s leadership, there has been substantial economic and fiscal progress, showing what is possible when strategic investment is paired with smart reforms. Labor market conditions continue to improve, we have added millions of jobs to the economy and GDP has grown steadily. Globally, the United States remains a driver of steady economic growth.   In Fiscal Year 2016, the Nation’s economic gains contributed to increased revenues and sustainable deficit financing for the next decade. The Government’s estimated long-term fiscal gap continues to be reduced by the provisions of the Affordable Care Act of 2010, Budget Control Act of 2011, and the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2013. These and other measures support our economy, allow our government to operate more efficiently, and support long term fiscal health.   This Administration’s policies have created the space to address our country’s long term fiscal challenges; however, near term policies that reduce revenues or increase spending, such as through changes to our tax code or the Affordable Care Act, could increase the size of the fiscal gap and force more dramatic adjustments in later years. We must ensure that our prosperity is shared by all Americans, not just those at the top. I am proud of the work we have done as a country over the past eight years to address our economic challenges and am pleased to share this strong report.     Jacob J. Lew   Margaret Mulkerrin is the Press Assistant at the U.S. Department of Treasury.

31 декабря 2017, 23:54

Unveiling the Future of Liberty

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Earlier today, I was honored to join Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and Deputy Secretary Sarah Bloom Raskin to unveil designs for the 2017 American Liberty Gold Coin. The unveiling not only marked a historic milestone for the allegorical Lady Liberty, who has been featured on American coinage since the late 1790s, but also served to kick-off the Mint’s 225th anniversary—a year-long public awareness campaign about its mission, facilities and employees. I am very proud of the fact that the United States Mint is rooted in the Constitution. Our founding fathers realized the critical need for our fledgling nation to have a respected monetary system, and over the last 225 years, the Mint has never failed in its mission to enable America’s growth and stability by protecting assets entrusted to us and manufacturing coins and medals to facilitate national commerce. We have chosen “Remembering our Past, Embracing the Future” as the Mint’s theme for our 225th Anniversary year. This beautiful coin truly embodies that theme. The coin demonstrates our roots in the past through such traditional elements as the inscriptions United States of America, Liberty, E Pluribus Unum and In God We Trust. We boldly look to the future by casting Liberty in a new light, as an African-American woman wearing a crown of stars, looking forward to ever brighter chapters in our Nation’s history book. The 2017 American Liberty Gold Coin is the first in a series of 24-karat gold coins the United States Mint will issue biennially. These coins will feature designs that depict an allegorical Liberty in a variety of contemporary forms including designs representing Asian-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and Indian-Americans among others to reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of the United States.​ 2017 American Liberty Gold Coin obverse (left) and reverse (right). (United States Mint Photos)   Rhett Jeppson is the Principal Deputy Director of the U.S. Mint.    

31 декабря 2017, 23:54

One in Five 2014 Marketplace Consumers was a Small Business Owner or Self-Employed

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​Independent Workers Are Almost Three Times More Likely To Rely on Marketplace Coverage than Other Workers   Today, Treasury released a report with new data on sources of health insurance coverage for small business owners and self-employed workers. These data show that the Affordable Care Act (ACA’s) Health Insurance Marketplaces are playing an especially crucial role in providing health coverage to entrepreneurs and other independent workers.   Prior to the Affordable Care Act, workers without employer-sponsored health insurance often lacked options for affordable coverage. Not only did high uninsured rates impede access to care and worsen financial security, but the risk of ending up without health insurance coverage prevented some individuals from striking out on their own. Experts considered “job lock,” or individuals’ need to stay in an employment situation to maintain health coverage, a significant impediment to entrepreneurship. To help address these challenges, the ACA’s Marketplaces were designed to offer portable health insurance coverage to small business owners and other independent workers, a growing segment of the economy.   One in five 2014 Marketplace consumers was a small business owner or self-employed   New data included in today’s Treasury Department report on alternative work arrangements show that small business owners and self-employed workers are taking advantage of the opportunity to purchase health coverage through the Marketplaces.[1] In 2014, 1.4 million Marketplace consumers were self-employed, small business owners, or both, indicating that about one in five 2014 Marketplace consumers was a small business owner or self-employed. Indeed, among the 5.3 million workers who purchased Marketplace coverage for themselves (excluding their children or non-working spouses), about 28 percent were workers whose income was not primarily earned from wages paid by an employer.   In fact, small business owners and self-employed individuals were nearly three times as likely to purchase Marketplace coverage as other workers. Nearly 10 percent of small business owners and more than 10 percent of gig economy workers got coverage through the Marketplace in 2014. Among small business owners and other independent workers, those with annual incomes below $65,000 were the most likely to rely on the Marketplace for health insurance. Middle- and lower-income Americans who buy coverage through the Marketplace are eligible for tax credits to help keep coverage affordable. About 65 percent of small business owners and 69 percent of all self-employed or independent workers have incomes below $65,000.   Between 2014 and 2015, the number of people who signed up for Marketplace coverage increased by around 50 percent. And enrollment increased further in 2016, and is poised to rise again in 2017. Marketplace coverage among independent workers has almost certainly risen as well. HHS is also partnering with outside companies that support freelance workers, entrepreneurs, and start-ups to reach more independent workers with information about Marketplace coverage and financial assistance.   Geographic patterns in small business owners’ and independent workers’ health coverage   Today’s report includes detailed state-by-state data on Marketplace participation among entrepreneurs and independent workers. In all 50 states and D.C., thousands of small business owners and independent workers bought Marketplace coverage in 2014. Of note:   ·         The ten states with the highest share of small business owners relying on the Marketplace for coverage were Vermont, Idaho, Florida, Montana, Maine, California, New Hampshire, Washington, D.C., Rhode Island, and North Carolina.   ·         The 10 states with the largest number of small business owners with Marketplace coverage were California, Florida, Texas, New York, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Washington, and Virginia.     Adam Looney is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax Analysis at the U.S. Department of Treasury. Kathryn Martin is the Acting Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the U.S Department of Health and Human Services.   [1] The Treasury report defines small business owners as Schedule C filers whose business activities (measured by expenses and gross receipts) exceed certain de minimis thresholds (a minimum of $5,000 of business expenses and either $15,000 of gross receipts or $10,000 of business expenses). Self-employed workers are defined as individuals who earn at least 85 percent of their earnings from operating a sole-proprietorship. “Gig economy workers” are those whose self-employment income derives in part or in whole from activities conducted through an online platform.  ​

31 декабря 2017, 23:54

The Economic Security of Older Women

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Today, the Office of Economic Policy at the Treasury Department released the fourth in a series of briefs exploring the economic security of American households. This brief​ focuses on the economic security of older women. In this brief, we ask: Are older women at greater risk of poverty or being unable to manage their expenses than other populations? Are there specific groups of women at risk? What are the implications for policy? Compared with men, we find that elderly women are much more likely to be economically insecure. We attribute this finding to a variety of factors. Women live longer than men, meaning they have to finance a longer retirement and that they are more likely to reach an age in which they must finance disability costs.  In addition, women tend to have lower lifetime earnings than men. Finally, women are more likely than men to live alone and thus are less likely to live with someone with whom to share economic risks.  In this brief, we assess economic insecurity in a number of ways but focus on two measures: the poverty rate and the “overextended” rate—the share of the population whose spending exceeds what it can afford based on its income and annuitized wealth. We view this latter measure as reflecting economic insecurity, because elderly women who are overextended and on fixed incomes must reduce spending to live within their means. For women with low levels of consumption, this could entail cutting back on necessities like food and medicine. Comparing different measures of economic security, we find that the overextended share of the female population is 29 percent, far higher than the poverty rate of 12 percent. The implication is that economic insecurity is broader than the poverty rate implies. We find that single women are far more economically insecure on all measures than married women and that widowhood dramatically increases the likelihood of becoming insecure relative to remaining married. Widowhood is associated with a large loss in income and wealth; and while widows experience a large drop in household spending at widowhood, they continue to cut spending at rates faster than single women and married households.  We also find that disability is associated with economic insecurity. The median disabled woman’s household assets (including non-liquid assets like housing) are sufficient only to finance six months in a nursing home, and the median disabled woman’s household has financial wealth sufficient to cover less than half a month of nursing home expenses. Women who remain married throughout their elderly years, on the other hand, do not experience high rates of economic insecurity. And holding constant marital status and disability status, we do not observe sharp increases in economic insecurity as women age. Notably, even though the poverty rate rises for women as they age, the overextended rate falls as women rely more on wealth to support themselves.   All told, our findings suggest that public policy should focus on specific risks associated with aging, particularly living alone and living with a disability. We note that married couples might benefit from shifting more of their wealth from periods in which both spouses are alive to periods in which only one spouse is alive. Such an outcome could be accomplished in the private sector with greater use of financial products with survivor benefits. Experts have also suggested ways that public policy could help address the challenge, such as by restructuring Social Security to increase survivor benefits. Looking at disability, we note that while Medicaid and private long-term care insurance provide protection for some households, there is still a large unmet need that is apparent when looking at the economic security risks posed by disability. Karen Dynan is the Assistant Secretary of Economic Policy at the Department of the Treasury.

31 декабря 2017, 23:54

Harnessing the Power of Financial Data

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​ For more than 200 years, Treasury has been managing the resources of the Federal government and embracing advancements and cutting-edge practices. Today we have an opportunity to create a more data-driven government that empowers our leaders to make more strategic decisions and provide the public with greater access and insight on how taxpayer money is spent. The ongoing Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) implementation, in which Treasury is playing a leading role, is providing that opportunity as agencies work to meet new standards that could enable the use of data and analytics. In 1990, the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990 (CFO Act) established a vision for federal financial management to “provide for the production of complete, reliable, timely, and consistent financial information for use by the executive branch of the Government and the Congress in the financing, management, and evaluation of Federal programs.” Significant achievements have been made to maintain and report high-quality financial data — but the full vision of the CFO Act is still a work in progress. The 24 CFO Act agencies have been successful at promoting new accounting and reporting standards, generating auditable financial statements, strengthening internal controls, improving financial management systems and enhancing performance information. However, there is room for growth in the way financial reporting adapts to the evolving information technology landscape. Through the DATA Act implementation process Treasury has developed a DATA Act Information Model Schema (DAIMS) that links the financial data produced by agency CFOs with other spending data on Federal awards — including grants, loans and procurement data (as well as other related attributes). This new data set includes more than 400 data elements and significantly expands the data available to agency CFOs and other agency leadership. The DAIMS can also be extended to link to other administrative and program data to support data-driven decision-making.   A New Vision for Federal Financial Management   Treasury’s vision for a 21st century Federal Finance Organization includes five key levels based on leading private sector benchmarks for finance organizations. The first level covers the basics for any finance organization — budget formulation and transaction processing. The second level includes fundamental financial policies and regulatory controls to ensure appropriate accountability. Most agencies have achieved levels one and two. Levels three and above are where agencies can begin to see the added value in the investment of high-quality data and internal controls. This data can now be managed and used to support decision-making and to improve operations and outcomes.     In addition to leading the government-wide implementation of the DATA Act, Treasury is also required to implement the law as an individual agency. As an implementing agency, Treasury is taking a data management and service delivery perspective, satisfying both internal and external customers who are demanding dynamic visualizations of data, meaningful reports and management dashboards. The DATA Act provides a unique opportunity to provide authoritative and standardized data across the enterprise to meet various needs, which fits into the new vision for Federal Financial Management above.    At Treasury, we are expanding our data analytics and reporting efforts to gain more value from our data. The Department has been working internally to link existing enterprise data management activities to a financial data governance program working across the C suite and internal organizations. Treasury is also envisioning a new financial data service portal that will serve as the central repository for all Treasury financial data where agency leadership will have access to data, tools and resources to conduct program research and visualize the data in new ways, starting with DATA Act related insights. This data infrastructure will allow us to provide greater transparency and also create a more modern 21st century Federal Finance Organization that is a better steward of public resources. We believe that better data leads to better decisions and ultimately a better government.   Christina Ho is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Accounting Policy and Financial Transparency and Dorrice Roth is the Deputy Chief Financial Officer at the Department of the Treasury.

31 декабря 2017, 23:54

Treasury Secretary Lew's Exit Memo: Eight Years of Progress at Treasury and a Look to the Future of American Financial Prosperity

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  WASHINGTON –U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew has authored a departure memorandum that recounts the progress and work of the U.S. Department of the Treasury over the last eight years. The memo then outlines Secretary Lew’s visions and goals for the future of the Treasury Department. The Secretary closes his departure memorandum with personal reflections on the importance of bipartisan cooperation, his optimism about America’s future, and his hope that future policymakers will take careful stock of the successes of this Administration as they consider the next steps forward.   Please see the memo attached. Treasury Exit Memo.pdf   The full text of the memo is below:         Department of the Treasury Exit Memo     Secretary Jacob J. Lew   Cabinet Exit Memo │January 5, 2017 Introduction   The Department of the Treasury (Treasury) is the executive agency responsible for promoting economic prosperity and ensuring the financial security of the United States.  This role encompasses a broad range of activities, such as advising the President on economic and financial issues, encouraging sustainable economic growth, and fostering improved governance in financial institutions.    Treasury’s mission was challenged like few times before in our nation’s history during the 2008 financial crisis.  As few of us can forget, signs of trouble first emerged in the housing market, which set off a cascade of shocks in 2007 and 2008, including the collapse of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, the freezing of credit markets, and the loss of trillions of dollars of wealth held by Americans in their homes, other assets, and businesses.  By the time President Obama took office, the United States was in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression.  The economy was shrinking at its fastest rate in 50 years and shedding more than 800,000 private-sector jobs per month.  Unemployment peaked at 10 percent in 2009, a level not seen in over 25 years.  The auto industry, an embodiment of American ingenuity and economic strength, was teetering on the edge of collapse; the deficit had hit a post-World War II high; and homes in neighborhoods across the United States faced foreclosure.    Though the financial crisis was perhaps the most pressing challenge the country faced in 2008, it was far from the only one.  Health care spending was on an unsustainable path, and millions of Americans lived in fear of facing a significant medical problem without insurance.  Middle-class and working family incomes had stagnated for much of the previous three decades.  Wealth disparities had grown to levels not seen since the 1920s.  And after two major wars in the Middle East and strained relationships in many parts of the world, the standing of the United States around the world was in need of significant repair.   We have come a long way as a country since 2008.  In the following pages, I will recount the Administration’s record of progress, with a specific focus on the role Treasury has played.  I will also articulate a vision for the future, and recommend steps to be taken in the coming years to make progress towards that vision.  Finally, I will end with some personal reflections.   Eight Years of Progress Economic Recovery Over the eight years since President Obama took office amidst the worst financial crisis of our lifetimes, we have seen a sustained economic recovery and a significant decline in the federal budget deficit.  We have cut the unemployment rate in half.  Our economy is more than 10 percent larger than its pre-recession peak.  U.S. businesses have added a total of 15.6 million jobs since private-sector job growth turned positive in early 2010.  Household incomes are rising, with 2015 seeing the fastest one-year growth since the Census Bureau began reporting on household income in 1967.  And our financial system is more stable, safe, and resilient, providing the critical underpinnings for broad-based, inclusive, long-term growth.  There are many factors that explain why the United States was able to bounce back so strongly from the recession.  First and foremost, I credit the resilience of the American people.  In addition, our policy response to the crisis was immediate and robust.  Led by my predecessor, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, policymakers put in place a wide-ranging strategy to restore economic growth, unlock credit, and return private capital to the financial system, thereby providing broad and vital support to the economy.  In February 2009, just 28 days after taking office, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which provided powerful fiscal stimulus that resulted in a less severe recession and stronger recovery than we otherwise would have seen. Investments made through our Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) provided stability to our financial system, and the Automotive Industry Financing Program helped prevent the collapse of the U.S. auto industry.  TARP also included housing initiatives that helped millions of struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure and lower their monthly payments.  These efforts bolstered the housing market and strengthened consumer finances more broadly.  And funds expended under TARP have been repaid in full, at a profit to taxpayers: in total, TARP invested $412 billion in financial institutions, large and small, during the financial crisis, and as of October 2016, these investments have returned $442 billion total cash back to taxpayers.    Critically, we also acted quickly to reform our financial system, working with Congress to enact the most far-reaching and comprehensive set of financial reforms since the Great Depression: the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.  Wall Street Reform transformed the way the financial system operates, and Treasury and the financial regulators have continued to work together since its passage to implement important reforms such as the Volcker Rule, risk retention, and resolution planning for large, complex financial institutions.  Because of these efforts, our system today is more stable, more transparent, and more consumer-focused.  Wall Street Reform also created the Financial Stability Oversight Council, a body that looks across the entire financial system to identify future threats to financial stability, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a watchdog agency that is working hard to protect Americans from unfair, deceptive, or abusive financial practices.   The progress we have made on implementing reform has resulted in a safer, stronger, and more stable American financial system—one better positioned to support growth rather than work against it, more likely for consumers to get fair treatment in their interactions with financial institutions, and less prone to major failures of financial firms that can harm Americans on Main Street.  This progress must be sustained through continued follow-through, to avoid allowing a return to the recklessness and abuse that predated the worst global financial crisis of the last 80 years. A More Inclusive Economy  Beyond working to bring our economy back from the brink and to spur growth, we also undertook efforts to ensure that more citizens have a fair shot at sharing in our nation’s prosperity.  One of the Administration’s most significant achievements was the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which extended health insurance to millions of Americans who had not previously had it, allowed young adults to stay on the health plans of their parents, barred insurance companies from denying coverage to people with preexisting conditions, and strengthened Medicare’s solvency.  Once the legislation was signed into law, Treasury implemented the law’s many new tax provisions.  Beyond the ACA, the Administration made a number of other key changes to the tax code that has made our tax system significantly fairer and more equitable.   Through programs like the Community Development Financial Institution Fund and myRA, and through extensive stakeholder engagement, Treasury has worked to promote access to the financial system for underserved and vulnerable populations.  We also successfully worked with Congress to pass bipartisan legislation to enable Puerto Rico to undergo a financial restructuring.  With continued commitment from policymakers in both the Commonwealth and the United States, this legislation will begin to put Puerto Rico on a fiscally sustainable path so that the 3.5 million Americans living there are not denied essential services and economic opportunity.  Leading in the Global Economy As we put into place the financial regulatory framework to prevent future crises in the United States, we also led the international response to the crisis.  We worked through the G-20 to help mobilize $5 trillion in fiscal stimulus, expand the resources of the international financial institutions by $1 trillion, and establish new institutions like the Financial Stability Board to prevent future crises.  Our approach elevated the G-20 as the premier platform for international economic cooperation and put in place a demonstrated mechanism for international response.   Following the financial crisis, many countries turned to policies of fiscal austerity, and Treasury vigorously advocated for a more balanced use of policy levers.  Over the next several years, Treasury engaged closely with our partners and through the G-20 and other multilateral bodies to emphasize the need for short-term growth and longer-term structural reforms to put the global economy on stronger footing.  Through our sustained engagement, we achieved a number of commitments from the G-20, including moving away from austerity-only fiscal policy and avoiding competitive currency devaluation.    We have used the G-20 to advance a global growth agenda, and the U.S.-China Strategic & Economic Dialogue to foster increased bilateral economic coordination and engagement with China.  Our sustained engagement with China has allowed us to exert positive pressure on Chinese exchange rate policy—whereas China once intervened in foreign exchange markets to drive down the value of its currency, in the past year, we have seen China intervene to prevent a rapid depreciation in the renminbi, which would have had negative consequences for the Chinese and global economies.  Treasury also worked to solidify U.S. leadership by modernizing the international economic architecture to ensure that it would remain relevant in a changing world.  In particular, securing the passage of International Monetary Fund (IMF) quota reform sustained U.S. leadership on the global stage.  Our leadership in the IMF in turn enabled us to work through it to promote policies that supported U.S. economic and security objectives, such as economic stability in Ukraine and Greece. Promoting a Safer World Treasury has also continued to use its unique financial capabilities to address a variety of national security and foreign policy threats posed by terrorists, criminals and other bad actors.  To address the changing threat posed by terrorism, including the threat posed by ISIL, we have worked with our international partners to deny terrorist financiers, fundraisers, and facilitators access to the international financial system with financial measures and targeted actions.    Treasury’s sanctions against Iran played a critical role in forcing Iran to the table to negotiate a deal that cuts off the country’s pathways to a nuclear weapon.  To hold Russia accountable for its aggression in eastern Ukraine and its occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea, we imposed sanctions that led to tighter financial conditions, weaker confidence, and lower investment in Russia.  We also secured new domestic and multilateral sanctions measures against North Korea in the face of Pyongyang’s continued provocative behavior with regard to nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction.  All the while, we have worked to craft a cohesive vision for the use of sanctions, in which sanctions are informed by financial intelligence, strategically designed, and implemented with our public and private partners to focus pressure on bad actors and create clear incentives to end malign behavior, while limiting collateral impact.   In the face of emerging cyber threats, we have also made significant progress in coordinating cybersecurity efforts among financial regulators and the private sector, both domestically and internationally, to improve the financial sector’s resilience and to establish best practices for industry and government.        A Vision for the Future     Looking across the next five years, 10 years, and beyond, I see four major goals that mirror the progress above.  Treasury should focus on: (i) continuing to promote more inclusive growth; (ii) moving from recovery to long-term fiscal health, (iii) remaining a leader in the global economy; and (iv) adjusting to the new threats in our world.  Each of these goals brings with it major challenges that we must collectively overcome in order to reach them.   Continuing to Promote Inclusive Growth Through the work of this Administration, the U.S. economy is growing again.  But working families have not shared fully in the benefits of economic growth over the past decade, and there is evidence that our society has undergone structural changes that have fundamentally altered the basic social compact.  It is crucial that the next Administration builds on the work already done to ensure that our prosperity is broadly shared.  There are many aspects to inclusive growth, including: investing in infrastructure to create good middle-class jobs and lay the foundation for future growth, giving workers a stronger voice, enacting progressive tax policies, making quality education more available and affordable, and investing in retraining programs for those who have lost their jobs.  One component most directly within Treasury’s purview is increasing access to the financial system; currently, many low-income and minority families are effectively locked out, operating without a credit card or banking history.  Finding creative ways to increase access to the financial system—such as fostering new technologies—will help individuals and families transfer money and make payments safely and affordably.  Financial inclusion allows people to manage life’s unexpected financial shocks, build long-term financial security, and take advantage of economic opportunities, like starting a business.  Our inclusive growth agenda should not, however, be limited to domestic issues: more than 2.6 billion people live in poverty around the world, and more than two billion people rely solely on cash transactions.  Moving underserved populations from a cash economy to formal banking not only increases their economic opportunity but also strengthens our ability to combat illicit and dangerous finance.   Moving from Recovery to Long Term Fiscal Health The actions of this Administration, and the economic recovery those actions helped support, have sharply reduced deficits since 2009.  However, both the Administration and the Congressional Budget Office project that, absent any changes in policy, the deficit will rise steadily over the next decade and beyond.  Thus, while the actions of this Administration have put the country on a solid fiscal footing today, we must also focus on the long-term fiscal health of our nation.   In recent years, the Administration has proposed a combination of smart investments and policy reforms that would keep the deficit under three percent of GDP for the next 10 years and nearly eliminate the fiscal gap over the next 25 years.  Tax reform to curb inefficient tax breaks for the wealthy, close loopholes, and reform the taxation of capital income and financial institutions would make the tax system fairer and lower the deficit.  Comprehensive immigration reform would boost labor force participation, productivity, and ultimately growth, directly addressing key fiscal challenges.  Continued focus on health policy to further improve health care quality and control cost growth remains critical.  This policy vision shows that investments in growth and opportunity are fully compatible with putting the nation’s finances on a strong and sustainable path.  It also shows that responsible deficit reduction can be achieved without endangering vital support to poor Americans or undermining commitments to seniors and workers.   Under President Obama’s leadership, there has been substantial economic and fiscal progress, showing what is possible when strategic investment to grow the economy is paired with smart reforms that address the true drivers of long-term fiscal challenges.  While there is some scope for additional borrowing to finance smart investments in the next few years, ever-increasing borrowing is not sustainable as a long-run strategy, particularly when used to finance spending that does not generate higher growth or improvements for the middle class and in the case of deficit-increasing tax cuts, which deepen income and wealth disparities that are already a serious concern.  Instead, the long-term fiscal health of the nation depends on smart investments in the middle class, tax reforms that close loopholes for the wealthy and ensure that everyone plays by the same set of rules, comprehensive immigration reform, and health reforms that build on our progress to date without sacrificing coverage or quality.   Remaining a Leader in the Global Economy The United States must continue its long history of international economic leadership.  Such leadership benefits American workers and families and enables the United States to project its values abroad to achieve its larger foreign policy objectives.  Of course, the world has changed since the creation of our international financial architecture after World War II, and we must change with it.  Perhaps somewhat counterintuitively, our influence internationally will increase if we share the benefits, as well as the responsibilities, of managing the global economic and financial system with emerging economies, such as China.  Our influence, however, cannot be sustained if we either back away or insist on protecting the status quo.   But we face a host of challenges.  Our relationship with China is one of the most important in the world.  While we have made much progress over the past eight years, the degree to which China is willing to takes the steps necessary to follow through on commitments to reorient its economy toward more sustainable growth, open up to foreign businesses, and be a partner in global governance, remains to be seen.  As we saw from the example of Chinese exchange rate policy, engagement between the United States and China is an important means of maintaining pressure for China to implement policies that are necessary for China’s own medium and long-term economic health and to create a level playing field for the world economy.   The UK’s decision to leave the European Union sent shockwaves through Europe and the world, and we must closely monitor the situation and continue to argue for the benefits of continued integration post-Brexit.  Japan’s economy faces the ongoing challenges of an aging population and high public debt hampering the government’s ability to foster growth.  We must also keep a watchful eye on emerging economies and the unique challenges they face.  In particular, in recent years, we have made progress in our relations with Latin America, particularly with Mexico and Argentina, and we should build on that progress.   Adjusting to the New Threats in Our World With the rise of state-sponsored and lone wolf terrorism, rogue nations, and international strongmen, we must address the reality that we live in a dangerous world.  Making it safer means using every tool available—including the financial tools available to Treasury—to defeat and degrade terrorist organizations like ISIL.  We must continue to leverage our ability to impose crippling sanctions on states and individuals to change behavior.  We must seek to eliminate the proliferation of nuclear weapons.  Cyber attacks on our financial system represent a real threat to our economic and national security, and maintaining vigilant and coordinated efforts to keep pace with and respond to these threats has been and will remain a crucial piece of Treasury’s work.  And we must recognize global climate change for the economic and existential threat that it is and band together with the rest of the world to avert catastrophe.    How to Make Our Vision a Reality How do we accomplish the goals laid out above?  To be sure, there are a host of paths policymakers might take to do so, but I believe the following steps, which range from specific policy prescriptions to more general advice, are the most immediate.  Infrastructure Spending Moving forward, we must redouble our efforts to make investments in our country’s transportation infrastructure, which help create middle-class jobs in the short term and drive broad-based economic growth in the long term.  Indeed, by fixing our aging roads, bridges, and ports, we will help lay a foundation for widely shared economic expansion.  The President’s business tax reform framework, discussed in more detail below, would generate substantial one-time revenues to fund new infrastructure investments.  Paying for these investments by taxing overseas business profits would both be fiscally responsible and would help fix the perception that our tax system is not a level playing field.   Continuing to come up with fresh, new ways to deploy capital will help the country achieve these goals.  Effective partnerships between government and the private sector can play an important role in developing innovative solutions that efficiently leverage resources.  And taking advantage of historically low interest rates to fund high-return public investments is simply smart fiscal policy.  This Administration has long advocated for the creation of a national infrastructure bank, which would provide critical financing and technical support to foster public-private partnerships in U.S. infrastructure and establish a predictable source of long-term financing that would allow U.S. infrastructure to be consistently improved. Business Tax Reform Over the last eight years, Congress and the Administration have taken important steps to make the tax code fairer, support working families, and roll back unnecessary and unaffordable tax cuts for high-income families.  In addition, using its administrative tools, the Administration has made substantial progress over the past eight years in combatting abusive tax practices.  However, our business tax system remains in need of reform.  As I have emphasized repeatedly throughout my time as Treasury Secretary, only Congress can enact business tax reform, which is necessary to remove incentives for businesses to relocate overseas, raise one-time revenues to promote infrastructure spending, and simplify tax compliance for smaller businesses.   President Obama’s proposed plan for business tax reform sets out a framework for modernizing our business tax system.  Among other elements, it would prevent companies from using excessive leverage in the United States to reduce their tax burden, impose a minimum tax abroad to help fight the global race to the bottom, impose a one-time tax on unrepatriated foreign profits, and reform the taxation of financial and insurance industry products.  It also would close loopholes and special credits and deductions to lower rates without shifting the tax burden to individuals.  Enacting such a plan would enhance our competitiveness and create an environment in which business rather than tax considerations drive decision-making.  The President’s framework is also fiscally responsible, ensuring that business tax reform does not add to deficits over the long-term.  I am hopeful that this framework will help to equip the new Congress to take responsible action on business tax reform.   Housing Finance Reform Fixing our housing finance system remains the major unfinished work of post-financial crisis reform.  Though the housing market has made significant strides thanks to efforts on the part of the Administration to help struggling homeowners, stabilize the housing finance system, and restore broader economic growth, many homeowners and neighborhoods continue to struggle.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac remain in conservatorship and continue to rely on taxpayer support.  Only legislation can comprehensively address the ongoing shortcomings of the housing finance system.  A starting point for such legislation should be the principles President Obama laid out in 2013, which stressed a clearly-defined role for the government to promote broad access to consumer-friendly mortgages in good times and bad.  While private capital should bear the majority of the risks in mortgage lending, reform also must provide more American households with greater and more sustainable access to affordable homes to rent or own.  Global Economic Integration Global economic integration, including high-standards trade, leads to better economic outcomes than isolation and protectionism.  High-standard trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership can expand U.S. economic growth, open markets for American exports, and strengthen labor and environmental safeguards so that American workers can compete on a level playing field.  But economic uncertainty, both domestically and abroad, threatens this framework.  Whether driven by trade, technological advances, or the changing structure of the markets for labor and capital, these anxieties are real and deeply felt.  In order to continue to enjoy the benefits of an integrated world, we need to focus on policies that address the real issues of inequality, such as slowing wage growth and increasing disparities in pay, to ensure that the benefits of trade are broadly felt.      Strengthening the rules, alone, is not enough.  To preserve this important engine of economic growth and international integration the United States and other advanced economies must also design and implement policies—including fiscal and tax policies—that advance the cause of inclusive, sustainable, and broad-based growth.  Not all countries have the fiscal space sufficient to meet these needs, but after years of urging by the United States, policies of austerity are one-by-one giving way to policies designed to grow demand and improve incomes.  The United States must continue to be an active voice in the global discussion of these issues.    The United States must also maintain its leadership in the international financial architecture and ensure that the U.S.-led international financial system is adapting to best preserve U.S. interest in a changing world.  This includes continued governance reforms of the IMF and multilateral development banks to reflect a changing world.  Clear global rules create opportunities and incentives for innovation, invest, and work, which are critical to the United States and drive economic progress in other regions of the world. Continued Engagement with Challenging Partners  Just as global economic integration has fueled economic growth, that integration—and our economic strength—provides us with additional tools to advance our priorities on the international stage.  We should continue to use these tools judiciously to maintain pressure on those countries that take aggressive and destabilizing actions, such as Russia and North Korea, and provide sanctions relief when the targeted malign behavior changes, as with Iran and Burma.  And, as we chart new courses with other countries, such as Cuba, we should be mindful of how we can use our economic tools to create the conditions for a changed relationship.    We must always take care to avoid the overuse of sanctions, particularly our most unilateral tools like secondary sanctions that extend to non-U.S. persons.  If we overuse these powerful tools, we risk lessening their impact when they are most needed and ultimately threaten our central role in the global financial system.  Looking Forward with Optimism We have learned the hard way that deadlock does not produce good results—government shutdowns and near default on our debt cost the United States both economically and in standing around the world.  It did not work in the 1990s, and it did not work over these past eight years. What has worked is finding opportunities in the sometimes quiet periods when bipartisan cooperation can lead to honorable compromise.  In recent years, we have seen that targeted budget agreements could pave the way for more orderly and economically beneficial outcomes.  We have seen that, on issues like creating a path forward for Puerto Rico and multi-year funding for our surface transportation programs, bipartisan compromise is still possible. But there is much more that requires this kind of progress.  Treasury plays a critical role in finding areas where bipartisan solutions are possible.  In a period when many thought little could be accomplished legislatively, we reached agreement on IMF Quota Reform, an approach to deal with Puerto Rico, and a permanent extension of expansions to the earned income tax credit and child tax credits that will reduce the extent or severity of poverty for millions of families with children.  We have also used our existing authorities to limit corporate tax inversions, shed greater light on beneficial ownership to limit tax avoidance, realize tax parity for same-sex spouses, and opened relations with Cuba.  And we have used our sanctions authorities to bring Iran to the negotiating table and limit the resources available to terrorist regimes and groups. I am proud of the record we have built over the past eight years.  But during calmer economic times, policy makers are often tempted to roll back regulations, weaken reforms, and reduce oversight.  I hope that future policymakers will take careful stock of the successes of this Administration as they consider the next steps forward.  I remain an optimist about America’s future and wish the next team entrusted with responsibility for governing much success as it tackles the many challenges that remain and the new challenges that will present themselves over the coming years.  Margaret Mulkerrin is the Press Assistant at the U.S. Department of Treasury.     ###  

30 декабря 2016, 23:28

Importance of Infrastructure Investment for Spurring Growth

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​ Infrastructure investment is critical to America’s continued economic success.  Our nation must expand and modernize its infrastructure across various sectors to help ensure that the United States continues to provide businesses, both large and small, an environment where they can successfully grow and operate. Indeed, research has shown that well designed investments in infrastructure can increase long-term economic growth, productivity, and land values, while also providing significant positive spillovers to areas such as economic development, energy efficiency, public health and manufacturing. Improving our nation’s infrastructure will not only create economic opportunity for millions of Americans, but also improve their fundamental quality of life.    In July 2014, President Obama announced an executive action to create the Build America Investment Initiative, a government-wide effort to increase infrastructure investment and economic growth. Two months later, the U.S. Department of the Treasury hosted a summit with public sector leaders and private investors to explore how to encourage public-private collaboration on infrastructure investment. Since that time, the Administration has introduced two key infrastructure-related proposals in the President’s Budget that would foster public and private collaboration on infrastructure investment – the creation of Qualified Public Infrastructure Bonds (QPIBs) and the Financing America’s Infrastructure Renewal program (FAIR) – as well as a series of important revenue procedures and white papers.   To highlight the benefits of infrastructure investment and its potential impact on the economy, Treasury, on behalf of the Build America Investment Initiative, commissioned a study identifying 40 proposed transportation and water infrastructure projects across the United States of major economic significance, which can be found at the link below: 40 Proposed U.S. Transportation and Water Infrastructure Projects of Major Economic Significance [1]   The study, authored over the past year by a team of third-party, independent infrastructure experts, highlights how investing in infrastructure projects may generate economic benefits for businesses, consumers, travelers, and residents across the country.   It should be noted that all project costs and benefits are based on assumptions and methodologies established by the authors. All of the findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the authors, and do not reflect those of Treasury or the Build America Investment Initiative.  A project being identified in this study does not necessarily make it suitable for federal funding.  Further, the project descriptions have been developed by the report’s third party authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of Federal agencies with funding or permitting authority over such projects.We hope that this work brings attention to the benefits of greater infrastructure investment in the United States including from state, local and private sources, and helps inform the public debate on this critical issue.     One of Treasury’s core responsibilities is to promote the conditions that enable U.S. economic growth.  Working alongside other federal agencies as part of the Build America Investment Initiative, Treasury has helped support its broader efforts to fulfill this responsibility. Going forward, Treasury will continue to engage leading stakeholders across industry, government, and academia to develop and implement new ideas to promote infrastructure investment, and enable the United States to build a truly 21st century infrastructure.     Monique Rollins is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Capital Markets and Ankur Datta is a Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Capital Markets at the U.S. Treasury Department. [1] A 508 compliant version of the 40 Proposed U.S. Transportation and Water Infrastructure Projects of Major Economic Significance is forthcoming and will be available in the coming weeks.

09 декабря 2016, 00:18

A Closer Look at Under Secretary Sheets’s Remarks at the Institute of International and European Affairs

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​ During an event hosted by the Institute of International and European Affairs, Under Secretary for International Affairs Nathan Sheets gave remarks that reviewed the significant steps taken since the global financial crisis to enhance the resilience of markets and strengthen financial institution balance sheets.  He discussed the G-20’s financial regulatory achievements and priorities, and the importance of U.S.-EU cooperation in these areas.   Under Secretary Sheets highlighted important steps G-20 members have taken to foster a more resilient financial system and how these reforms are already making the financial system safer.  “These steps greatly reduce the risk of systemic crises while ameliorating the possible consequences of such crises, thus allowing banks to continue to play a critical role in intermediating credit for the real economy.”    Under Secretary Sheets explained that “G-20 and Basel Committee members have made important strides under Basel III to improve both the quantity and quality of capital for internationally active banks and introduced internationally consistent leverage and liquidity ratios.”  He underscored that the current priority is to finalize the Basel III framework in order to ensure a level playing field among banks and eliminate differences that might threaten to undermine market confidence in the adequacy of bank capital.   On bank resolution, Under Secretary Sheets explained that the “task now is to ensure that the necessary components are in place, and properly operationalized, to enable a systemically important financial institution to be resolved in an orderly manner.”  Part of the operationalization was the FSB’s finalization of its total loss absorbing capacity (TLAC) standard in November 2015 -- an important milestone for establishing a framework that allows for the resolution of global systemically important banks.  He indicated that the Bank of England has already written its rules, the Federal Reserve plans to finalize its own rules this year, and a European Commission proposal is expected soon.   Outside the banking sector, the Under Secretary stressed that the G-20 and FSB are working to promote consistent and robust frameworks for sustainable market-based finance.  He added that the G-20 Leaders set out a comprehensive approach to promote clearing, trading, and reporting of over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives contracts to address risks exposed during the global financial crisis.  He encouraged all jurisdictions to move promptly to implement these measures.    Turning to U.S.-EU financial regulatory cooperation, Under Secretary Sheets highlighted the importance of core reforms to the United States and Europe.  He noted that the large size and interconnectedness of trans-Atlantic markets demonstrates why it is necessary for the two sides to cooperate closely and provide global leadership on financial regulatory reform.  He added that “our shared interest is in maintaining open, integrated, and well-functioning global markets.”    Under Secretary Sheets concluded his remarks by noting that the ultimate goal of Treasury’s efforts is a more robust and resilient financial system: “We need to continue to strive for an efficient, globally-integrated, and inclusive financial system that fosters economic growth and financial stability.”   Kay Turner is a Senior Financial Analyst for International Affairs at the Treasury Department.   ###

01 декабря 2016, 17:16

Financial Action Task Force Report Recognizes U.S. AML CFT Leadership, Action Needed on Beneficial Ownership

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  ​The United States has long been a leader in the global effort to develop, implement and promote the strong anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing regimes (AML/ CFT) that are critical to protecting the international financial system from those who want to use it for illicit means.  In support of this global effort, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) — the international standard-setting body for AML/ CFT — established global AML/ CFT standards and regularly conducts peer reviews, also called mutual evaluations, to ensure compliance with the standards.  Today, the FATF published its Mutual Evaluation Report of the United States. The report acknowledges our strong AML/ CFT regime and recognizes the success of the government architecture we have built since September 11, 2001 to cut off the flow of funds and resources to terrorists and their supporters.  The United States received the highest ratings possible for our efforts to combat terrorist financing by using both criminal prosecutions and financial sanctions against terrorist financiers and supporters.  The report notes the strong collaboration and information sharing between the intelligence community and law enforcement, the formation of specialized units focused on investigating and prosecuting terrorist financing activity, and our robust use of sanctions to prevent terrorists from accessing the U.S. and global financial system.  We also received the highest rating for our efforts to combat the financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and for our efforts in pursuing civil and criminal asset forfeiture to deprive criminals of their illicit proceeds. While the report recognizes areas where the United States excels, it also identifies areas where we have more work to do.  We received the lowest rating for our efforts to prevent criminals from using legal entities, or companies, to hide and move money or carry out illicit schemes.   FATF based its rating primarily on the lack of a requirement in the United States to disclose the identity of the person who owns or controls a company – also known as the beneficial owner – to the government when the company is formed.  Earlier this year, the Department of the Treasury published the final Customer Due Diligence Rule requiring financial institutions to collect beneficial ownership information when they open an account for a company, but beneficial ownership legislation is also needed to collect beneficial ownership information when companies are formed.  The Treasury Department has advocated for the passage of such legislation for 10 years but putting such a law in place will require Congressional action. Most recently, in May 2016, the Obama Administration sent to Congress proposed legislation that would require companies formed within the United States to file beneficial ownership information with the Treasury Department, or face penalties for failure to comply.  This legislation has not been introduced, and without it, the United States continues to lag behind our global partners in preventing the flow of illicit money through our banking system and financial markets. The United States has an unmatched AML/ CFT regime, but there is room for improvement.  We will continue to work with Congress on beneficial ownership legislation, while continuing to demonstrate leadership in the global effort to protect the international financial system from abuse. Jennifer Fowler is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing at the Department of Treasury.

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23 ноября 2016, 20:18

New Perspectives on Financial Capability Released and Discussed at FLEC Meeting

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  This month, the Department of the Treasury hosted the last public meeting of the year of the Financial Literacy Education Commission (FLEC). At the meeting, the FLEC, chaired by Secretary Lew, added the Department of the Interior as its newest member to build connections that support financial education for Native Americans and their communities.  Department of Interior Secretary Jewell was represented by Special Trustee for American Indians Vincent Logan.   Mr. Logan noted:“It is evident that the collective power of this group is equal to the task of tackling these issues, that the lessons learned here will resonate in this country for years to come, and moreover, that facing and deconstructing the challenges of financial education in Indian Country will give the FLEC great insight into solving these problems for the nation as a whole.”   Additionally, the FLEC released its Update to the 2011 National Strategy for Financial Literacy:  Promoting Success in the United States.  The National Strategy Update summarizes effective approaches in financial education.  The FLEC has found that information alone is not sufficient to drive sound financial behavior, and that building skills at the right moment, in customized and relevant ways, combined with opportunities to make sound choices, can have a real impact in people’s lives.  The National Strategy Update also identifies key trends shaping Americans’ financial security, including increasing diversity, longevity and the need for long-term financial security, inequality and the power of technology.   During the November meeting, the FLEC heard from a panel on “Frameworks and New Findings for Youth Financial Capability” which highlighted recent research pointing to the value of an early start and hands-on learning to build financial capability of young people.  Panelists discussed research and recent pilots that have been evaluated, including two projects funded through Treasury’s Financial Empowerment Innovation Fund.  Drawing from this work, and collaborative efforts of member agencies, the FLEC also released a new Resource Guide for Financial Institutions: Incorporating Financial Capability into Youth Employment Programs. This guide maps out how and why banks, credit unions and youth employment programs can work together to help build the financial capability of young people at the critical moment of a first job.    The FLEC also heard a summary of the September Financial Security Research Symposium hosted by the Treasury with the Social Security Administration and the University of Michigan Retirement Research Center.  Information about that event can be found here: http://www.mrrc.isr.umich.edu/Publications/other/pdf/2016FinSympv2.pdf   As Secretary Lew noted, the FLEC’s mission of working together to enhance financial education, building financial capability and expanding opportunities for all Americans is an on-going challenge, but one that contributes to the economic vitality of the nation.  This work will continue throughout the FLEC member agencies, and with other partners in the months and years ahead.   A full webcast of this November’s FLEC meeting can be found here.:  https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/Video-Audio-Webcasts/Pages/Webcasts.aspx   Louisa Quittman is the Director of Financial Education at the US Department of the Treasury.

19 ноября 2016, 01:53

Letter from Secretary Lew to the Puerto Rico Financial Oversight and Management Board

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​This week, ​Secretary Lew sent the following letter to the Puerto Rico Financial Oversight and Management Board regarding Puerto Rico's fiscal and economic crisis:     November 16, 2016     The Honorable José B. Carrión III Chairman Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico   Dear Mr. Carrión:   I write in response to your letter dated October 29, 2016, requesting the U.S. Treasury Department’s assessment of the Fiscal Plan proposed by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.  The Commonwealth submitted its proposed Plan to the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico (Board) on October 14, 2016.          Actions Taken to Date   First, I commend the actions taken by the Board to advance the process established by the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA).  This critical legislation has provided Puerto Rico with the time and tools necessary to promote recovery from the ongoing fiscal and economic crisis.  I am pleased that the Board has begun its important work, including holding two meetings, planning its third meeting in Puerto Rico, and requesting stakeholder input on the Commonwealth’s proposed Fiscal Plan.  In addition, the Board’s decision to require coverage of all Commonwealth-level entities in the proposed Fiscal Plan represents an appropriate, holistic approach to the crisis.  Furthermore, I am pleased that the Board has adopted bylaws with transparency provisions to facilitate public oversight of its work.   For its part, the Commonwealth has moved quickly to fulfill its responsibilities under PROMESA.  I commend the Governor for his timely submission of the Commonwealth’s proposed Fiscal Plan, which is now under review by the Board and a broad base of stakeholders.    While these actions are encouraging, more remains to be done.  Time is of the essence.  The Board and the Commonwealth must act with urgency to carry out their responsibilities as outlined in PROMESA.  We urge the Board and Commonwealth to work together quickly to certify a Fiscal Plan.  This is a vital next step in order to allow the commencement of restructuring negotiations with creditors.   Fiscal Plan Assessment   You asked for our assessment of the proposed Fiscal Plan, which we have undertaken with the benefit of Treasury’s experience with economic crises across the world.  In that context, I believe that PROMESA’s 14 Fiscal Plan requirements, together with the comprehensive approach that the Board has taken to cover all tax-supported entities in the proposed Plan, provide a credible framework to guide the Commonwealth’s policy choices.  In particular, I highlight several important lessons learned that can be applied to Puerto Rico’s fiscal planning:   1. Achieve a sustainable debt level:  A credible debt restructuring is necessary to remove the overhang of uncertainty on the economy, and to create breathing space for Puerto Rico to implement growth-enhancing reforms.  Conversely, the absence of a credible debt restructuring will lead to excessive reliance on fiscal austerity that proves self-defeating to growth and debt sustainability.  The proposed Fiscal Plan does not include a formal debt sustainability analysis, although one must be included in the certified Fiscal Plan as required by the PROMESA legislation.   2. Do not unduly rely on fiscal austerity: As we have emphasized from the beginning of Puerto Rico’s crisis, austerity alone is a self-defeating remedy.  In the aftermath of an economic crisis, fiscal discipline is often necessary but, during an extended period of economic contraction, there are limits to the scale and pace of budget cuts and tax increases that can be achieved without further damaging growth.  Given this reality, the proposed Fiscal Plan’s adequate funding for vulnerable constituencies and the delivery of essential services are both critical.  In addition to providing support to the economy, these efforts can also help to curb outmigration and preserve the tax base, both vital to stabilizing fiscal balances and lifting GDP over the medium-term.   3. Lay the foundation for sustainable and broad-based growth: Sustainable economic recoveries require an appropriate balance of fiscal stimulus in the short-term to lift confidence and investment, coupled with efforts to promote growth potential over the medium-term.  The latter effort should include a well-sequenced agenda of structural measures and governance controls that attract capital back to the Island.  Puerto Rico must make it easier to do business, increase workforce participation, and create the conditions that will allow Puerto Rico to compete in the global economy.  As a general matter, the Commonwealth’s proposed Plan recognizes the need for stimulus and reforms to improve growth outcomes.  Additional detail and clarity on the proposed measures would allow for a more thorough assessment of their feasibility and potential impact on growth.   4. Assume realistic macroeconomic projections: Credible macroeconomic assumptions are essential underpinnings of any successful plan.  In other recent debt crises, overly ambitious growth assumptions often did not materialize as forecasted.  These assumptions led to insufficient debt restructuring at the outset and eventually resulted in successive rounds of growth-reducing fiscal austerity.    The proposed Plan’s macroeconomic projections, with respect to both real growth and inflation, are higher than levels that have been realized in Puerto Rico in more than a decade.  The plan that is ultimately certified by the Board should include an analysis of downside risks to growth so as to avoid the material risk of overstating the amount of debt that can be sustained by the economy’s future performance.      5. Work with Congress to enact urgently needed legislation: The Commonwealth and Congress must work together to resolve Puerto Rico’s long-standing structural healthcare inequities and strengthen incentives to promote economic development on the Island.  The projected exhaustion of Affordable Care Act (ACA) funds in early 2018 will materially reduce the Commonwealth’s revenues and impair access to health care for up to 900,000 Americans living in Puerto Rico.  The Treasury Department also strongly supports federal legislation that would give Puerto Rico healthcare parity with the states and pro-growth tax measures such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).   Continued Swift Action is Paramount to Resolving the Crisis in a Timely Manner   While PROMESA’s automatic stay provides breathing room for the Board’s deliberation of numerous outstanding issues, its February 15, 2017 expiration is quickly approaching.  The Board should make maximum use of the powers given to it by Congress to pursue consensual negotiations and, if unsuccessful, Title III filings before the stay’s expiration.    Timely certification of the Fiscal Plan will promote voluntary negotiations and should be the Board’s top priority; additionally, prompt certification of a fiscal plan will also permit Puerto Rico to begin its annual legislative budgeting process.    ***   Resolving the crisis in Puerto Rico remains a top priority for the Treasury Department.  We will continue to provide the Board with any technical assistance necessary to assist it in this endeavor.  In that regard, we would be pleased to discuss directly with the Board more specific assessments of the proposed Plan at its convenience.                                                                                       Sincerely,                                                                                       Jacob J. Lew     cc:        The Honorable Carlos García             The Honorable Andrew Biggs             The Honorable Ana Matosantos             The Honorable Jose Ramón González             The Honorable David Skeel             The Honorable Arthur González

17 ноября 2016, 17:44

Making Progress on the DATA Act Implementation the First Government-wide Agile Project

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​ Treasury has been working on the implementation of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014, better known as the DATA Act, for more than two years. Recently we held a meeting with leaders from across the Federal government to look back at the good work that’s been done, the process ahead and best practices from leading agencies.   The DATA Act seeks to connect more than 400 interconnected data elements from hundreds of financial and management systems across the federal government to provide a more transparent accounting of federal funds. So we knew we needed a collaborative approach for implementation.   We posted draft implementation information online for public view and comment beginning in spring 2015. Agencies and external stakeholders commented extensively on the draft data definition standards, the DATA Act Information Model Schema (DAIMS), and are now providing input to help us design the future USAspending.gov. We have avoided top-down assumptions about the best way to collect and display data and we are testing our ideas with federal agencies and the public along the way.   We also explored new ways of collecting input. We hosted town halls, webinars, workshops, monthly calls, weekly office hours and testing sessions. We even created new online forums through the Federal Spending Transparency Collaboration Space and the OpenBeta.USAspending.gov site to engage our communities in new ways. All this feedback has resulted in stronger final products that will make the DATA Act implementation more successful in the long run. By using an open, iterative, and collaborative methodology, known as the Agile approach, we have established a solid foundation for substantial improvements in the way government reports on federal spending.                                                                                                                                           DATA Act Developed Foundation for Federal Data Management   Treasury, in partnership with OMB, developed three key resources that have formed a foundation to organize data across the entire federal enterprise.  First, we started by setting government-wide standards to align the definitions used by the budget, finance, procurement and grants communities. Our challenge was that we had too many individual standards across management functions and federal agencies. Aligning these through common definitions was our first critical step.   Next, in developing the DAIMS, we set technical requirements for reporting more than 400 interconnected data elements.  These elements were previously segmented in databases and systems across government. Our Schema links this data with a common framework so it can be used internally and understood by the public. Our Schema can also be used to link to other management data — like performance, information technology and human resources to be used to improve the way we work. We have heard from academic communities and state governments that are interested in using our Schema to link other data that can document outcomes and support evidence-based analysis.   And lastly, we developed the DATA Act Broker. The Broker is an online tool through which agencies will submit and validate their data to Treasury. It includes about 100 complex validations and more than 170 data element level validations. We have adopted open source technology in the DATA Act Broker and the code, which is published online, is also open for public input. By using open source code for the Broker, the government invests in the development of the code once and then agencies can reuse the same code or extend it within their own environments to improve the quality of the data before they submit it to Treasury. Financial management system vendors can also leverage the same code to enhance the agency systems.   The Agile development approach and the user-centered design principles that were used to develop the DATA Act Broker allowed us to complete the development of this more complex system in five months — a significantly shorter time period than past projects.     Implications for the Future of a Data-Driven Goverment     Two recent international forums focused on the increasing demand for a more data-driven government — highlighting the most cutting-edge approaches for open data efforts from across the globe — have us even more convinced that the work we are doing on the DATA Act is truly innovative. The Agile and user-centered approaches for developing standards and running a large, enterprise-wide effort have the potential to serve as a standard, not just here in the United States, but for our partners abroad. Taking risks, being open and trying new approaches like the agile development methodology can pay off for government and we will build off the lessons learned from our DATA Act implementation for years to come.   David Lebryk is the Fiscal Assistant Secretary and Christina Ho is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Accounting Policy and Financial Transparency at the U.S. Treasury Department.