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COVID-19’s total cost to the economy in US will reach $14 trillion by end of 2023 – new research

Jakub Hlávka, University of Southern California and Adam Rose, University of Southern California The Research Brief is a short take about interesting academic work. The big idea The economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. will reach US$14 trillion by the end of 2023, our team of economists, public policy researchers and other experts have estimated. Putting a price tag on all the pain, suffering and upheaval Americans and people around the world have experienced because of COVID-19 is, of course, hard to do. More than 1.1 million people have died as a result of COVID-19 in the

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War rooms and bailouts: How banks and the Fed are preparing for a US default – and the chaos expected to follow

John W. Diamond, Rice University Convening war rooms, planning speedy bailouts and raising house-on-fire alarm bells: Those are a few of the ways the biggest banks and financial regulators are preparing for a potential default on U.S. debt. “You hope it doesn’t happen, but hope is not a strategy – so you prepare for it,” Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America, the nation’s second-biggest lender, said in a television interview. The doomsday planning is a reaction to a lack of progress in talks between President Joe Biden and House Republicans over raising the US$31.4 trillion debt ceiling – another

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Migrant deaths in Mexico put spotlight on US policy that shifted immigration enforcement south

Raquel Aldana, University of California, Davis The fire-related deaths of at least 39 migrants in a detention facility in Ciudad Juarez, just across the U.S. border with Mexico, will likely be found to have had several contributing factors. There was the immediate cause of the blaze, the mattresses apparently set alight by desperate men in the center to protest their imminent deportation. And then there is the apparent role of guards, seen on video walking away from the blaze. But as an expert on immigration policy, I believe there is another part of the tragedy that can’t be overlooked: the

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The Biden administration has called for protecting mature US forests to slow climate change, but it’s still allowing them to be logged

Beverly Law, Oregon State University and William Moomaw, Tufts University Forests are critically important for slowing climate change. They remove huge quantities of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere – 30% of all fossil fuel emissions annually – and store carbon in trees and soils. Old and mature forests are especially important: They handle droughts, storms and wildfires better than young trees, and they store more carbon. In a 2022 executive order, President Joe Biden called for conserving mature and old-growth forests on federal lands. Recently Biden protected nearly half of the Tongass National Forest in Alaska from road-building and logging.

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Why Tennessee’s law limiting drag performances likely violates the First Amendment

Mark Satta, Wayne State University On March 2, 2023, Tennessee became the first state to enact a law restricting drag performances. This law is part of a larger push by Republican lawmakers in numerous states to restrict or eliminate events like drag shows and drag story hours. These legislative efforts have been accompanied by inflammatory rhetoric – not grounded in fact – about the need to protect children from “grooming” and sexually explicit performances. Tennessee Republican Sen. Lindsey Tichenor, the legislation’s lead sponsor, claimed, “This bill is pro-children. For some reason, people want this type of content in front of

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Overclassification overkill: The US government is drowning in a sea of secrets

David Cuillier, University of Arizona The U.S. faces far more threats to its national security than from spy balloons or classified documents discovered in former and current presidents’ homes. About 50 million more threats every year. That’s the estimated number of records annually classified as confidential, secret or top secret by the U.S. government. The U.S. has an overclassification problem, which, experts say, ironically threatens the nation’s security. Those in the intelligence field, along with at least eight special commissions through the decades, acknowledge the security risk of nearly 2,000 workers processing tens of millions of classified records each year,

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