Think Tank Round-Up: Average American's Radar Edition.

In your latest TTR dispatch, we find the depressing news that fewer people are taking global warming seriously, a new "job sharing" policy that could help unemployment, some ideas to save energy and stop climate change, and an argument against the home buyer tax credit. Wonky!

  • Belief in Global Warming Cools.
    Fewer Americans see solid evidence of global warming, according to the latest survey from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. Results show slightly more than half of the population believes there is proof that global temperatures are rising – a 14 percent drop since 2008. The survey also finds that in terms of policy, the issue has barely registered on the average American’s radar. When asked what they knew about the cap-and-trade policy – which would limit carbon-dioxide emissions -- more than half of respondents had “heard nothing at all.” (In contrast, those who “had heard a lot” about it opposed emissions limits by two-to-one.) -- MH
  • A Tax Credit to Create Job Growth? [PDF] The Center for Economic and Policy Research is advocating for a tax credit to boost employment. Known as “job sharing,” companies would use tax dollars to keep salaries at current levels, while shortening hours worked by 5 percent. Demand would remain constant, encouraging companies to hire additional employees to keep up current work levels. According to CEPR, job sharing could create over 2 million jobs and is a politically feasible way to create jobs and offset predictions of high unemployment over the next several years. -- PL
  • Why wait on Congress to save energy? Do it yourself! This week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences presents recommendations for household actions that can immediately and rapidly reduce our carbon emissions. The authors analyze simple upgrades and behavioral adjustments that can reach a 20 percent household emissions reduction, 7.4 percent nationally, over the next 10 years. These are tips that we’ve heard for years: reduce your laundry temperatures, eliminate “stand-by” electricity, install better insulation and ventilation fixtures in your home, etc. But, due to the lack of policy attention and community prioritization, these lifestyles changes have yet to manifest large-scale. Seriously, folks, let’s do this. -- LL
  • Don't expand the homebuyer tax credit. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities argues that extending or expanding the $8,000 tax credit offered to first-time home buyers as part of the recovery act is a bad idea. As far as stimulus goes, home buyer tax credits turn out to be inefficient, and the IRS has trouble determining who is complying with its requirements. CBPP advises Congress to focus on unemployment insurance and fiscal aid to states, but if they must use this policy route, to only extend the credit for a limited time and restrict it to first-time home buyers. -- TF

-- TAP Staff

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