Congressional Research Service. June 15, 2012.

The practice of granting a company’s employees options to purchase the company’s stock has become widespread among American businesses. Employee stock options have been praised as innovative compensation plans that help align the interests of the employees with those of the shareholders. They have also been condemned as schemes to enrich insiders and avoid company taxes. [PDF format, 20 pages].

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Congressional Research Service. May 10, 2012.

Foreign direct investment in the U.S. declined sharply after 2000, when a record $300 billion was invested in U.S. businesses and real estate. In 2010, according to U.S. Department of Commerce data, foreigners invested $236 billion in U.S. businesses and real estate. Foreign direct investments are highly sought after by many state and local governments that are struggling to create additional jobs in their localities. While some in Congress encourage such investment to offset the perceived negative economic effects of U.S. firms investing abroad, others are concerned about foreign acquisitions of U.S. firms that are considered essential to U.S. national and economic security. [PDF format, 11 pages].

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Rising Gasoline Prices 2012

On March 15, 2012, in Economy, Energy, by editor1

Congressional Research Service. March 1, 2012. 

Average national gasoline prices have increased by $0.46 to $3.78 per gallon between the end of December 2011 and the end of February 2012. Higher gasoline prices burden the budgets of households and businesses. Higher gasoline costs can increase indebtedness or reduce spending on other goods and services. Many of the policies that may address rising gasoline prices are long term. This report briefly covers several short-term options that have been considered by policy makers: Strategic Petroleum Reserve Release, Gasoline Tax Holiday, Relaxing Fuel Specifications, Restricting Refined Products Exports, Limit Financial Speculation, Diplomatic Measures. [PDF format, 16 pages].

Center for American Progress. January 2012.

Investment in research and development is a significant driver of technological progress and economic growth, particularly in high-wage developed countries. The United States spends more than any other nation in the world on research and development, or R&D, but its relative position (measured by the share of such investment in national income) has been falling even as other countries increase their investments in research. In this report, the authors examine the role of the credit in federal government support for R&D, evaluate the credit’s performance in realizing its objectives, and make recommendations to simplify, modify and strengthen its effectiveness. [Note: contains copyrighted material]. [PDF format, 69 pages].

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U.S. Department of Commerce. January 2012.

The report serves as a call to arms, highlighting bipartisan priorities to sustain and promote American innovation and economic competitiveness. The report was mandated as part of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010, which was signed into law by President Obama in January last year. The report addresses a diverse range of topics and policy options, including: tax policy; the general business climate in the U.S.; barriers to setting up new firms; trade policy, including export promotion; the effectiveness of federal research and development policy; intellectual property regimes in the U.S. and abroad; the health of the manufacturing sector; and science and technology education. [PDF format, 160 pages].

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