We’ve seen it all before. Today Vice President Biden gave a speech calling for more infrastructure investment, but without offering a way to pay for it. We heard the same from President Obama this past July, May and February. While the message echoes over and over again, not much in the way of actual policy is changing. Now that we are nearly six years deep into the Obama administration, it is becoming clearer that Obama’s transportation legacy is sizing up to be a disappointment. His initiatives have fallen flat or were obstructed by Congress, and he (along with Congress) has done little to solve the fundamental problem of federal transportation policy—finding the revenue to pay for all the infrastructure investment he’s calling for. Read more »
The Council on Foreign Relations has released this week the new report of the Independent Task Force on North America, and for anyone familiar with the long history of efforts to deepen economic integration in North America, the adjectives that probably best describe the report are “pragmatic” and “realistic.” The Task Force, co-chaired by Robert Zoellick, the former World Bank chief and veteran of several Republican administrations, and General David Petraeus, the former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, urges a series of measures to improve security and boost the economic fortunes of all three countries in an increasingly competitive global market. (I served as an “observer” on the Task Force, which meant I participated in the discussions but was not asked to endorse the report or its recommendations.) Read more »
Discussions of inequality often focus on the pay gap between executives and lower-level employees. However, in a new column for Bloomberg View, CFR Adjunct Senior Fellow Peter Orszag highlights new research showing that variation in salaries across different companies is actually the largest driver of inequality. This finding may help explain the decline in job-related mobility among Americans. Once a worker finds a high-paying company, they are less likely to leave. This limits opportunities for workers in lower-paying companies to make a move into a higher-paying one, and therefore decreases the incentives to move across state lines to find a new job.
Washington policymakers can be forgiven for focusing on the low-hanging fruit when it comes to corporate tax reform. When Congress hasn’t managed any kind of major reform since 1986, we should probably be happy with any tax reform progress, no matter how small. Read more »
It’s not often that one hears the phrase “European steeliness.” But while the United States continues to punt its serious tax and spending problems ever farther down the field, Europe’s big economies have actually done something about fiscal challenges that were even bigger than those facing the United States. Read more »
Comprehensive U.S. immigration reform is dead. More than a year after the U.S. Senate passed its reform bill, the House has not voted on comprehensive reform. The upcoming mid-term elections will likely forestall further action—particularly after the primary defeat of House Majority leader Eric Cantor and the crisis on the Texas border. Read more »
Last week, President Obama announced an initiative to ramp up investment in the United States’s ailing infrastructure. The newly-established Transportation Investment Center is a one-stop shop at the Department of Transportation that connects state and local officials with tools to support private financing for infrastructure projects. In a new op-ed for Fortune, CFR Senior Fellow Heidi Crebo-Rediker argues that the program will help fill the ‘knowledge gap’ among state and local officials, and will facilitate greater private sector investment and more public-private partnerships, while still protecting taxpayers. Read more »
Conventional wisdom holds that Congress is more polarized than the American people as a whole. However, in a new column for Bloomberg View, CFR Adjunct Senior Fellow Peter Orszag explores evidence showing that voter preferences may have long been misread. Congressional districts that are moderate on average may not actually contain large densities of moderate voters. Instead, there may be a similar number of partisan Democrats and Republicans, with only a small moderate minority.
The United States faces enormous challenges created by an increasingly dynamic and competitive global economy. This blog offers a portal to the Renewing America initiative, which sponsors research, analysis, policy ideas, and dialogue on how best to revitalize the country's economic strength and build the foundations for future prosperity and influence.
Renewing America examines the major domestic challenges facing the United States that have significant consequences for national security and foreign policy.
This interactive timeline outlines the evolution of U.S. immigration policy after World War II.