CFR Presents

Renewing America

Ideas and initiatives for rebuilding American economic strength.

Renewing America Progress Report: Corporate Tax Policy

by Edward Alden Friday, April 11, 2014
The CFR Renewing America Corporate Tax Scorecard The CFR Renewing America Corporate Tax Scorecard

The Renewing America initiative is publishing today the latest in our Progress Report and Scorecard series, “Standard Deductions: U.S. Corporate Tax Policy.” This is one of those rare issues on which there is actually something of a broad consensus in Washington–corporate taxes, most Republicans and Democrats agree, should be low enough to attract investment, high enough to raise a reasonable share of federal revenues, and reasonably immune to tax avoidance strategies by companies. Read more »

President Obama Should Fix the H-1B Program on His Own

by Edward Alden Monday, April 7, 2014
Members of the audience listen to U.S. President Barack Obama as he participates in an event on immigration reform in San Francisco, November 25, 2013. (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters) Members of the audience listen to U.S. President Barack Obama as he participates in an event on immigration reform in San Francisco, November 25, 2013. (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters)

With House Republicans increasingly looking like they will again block immigration reform this year, pressure is growing on President Obama to use his executive authority to block further deportations of most unauthorized immigrants. I have an additional suggestion: use that same executive authority to expand admission of highly-educated temporary migrants to help boost the U.S. economy. Read more »

The Real Problem With the ‘Doc Fix’

by Renewing America Staff Monday, March 31, 2014
Doctor Stephen Hippler treats patient Don Roth at his office in Peoria, Illinois (Jim Young/Courtesy Reuters). Doctor Stephen Hippler treats patient Don Roth at his office in Peoria, Illinois (Jim Young/Courtesy Reuters).

After failing to find a permanent solution, Congress is poised to pass another one-year patch to prevent major cutbacks to doctors who treat Medicare patients. In a new column for Bloomberg View, CFR Adjunct Senior Fellow Peter Orszag argues that healthcare providers are already anticipating a shift toward a system based on value of care, not volume of services. A responsible Congress would pass permanent legislation clearing the path for that shift.

We Don’t Know If Our Patent System is Working

by Rebecca Strauss Thursday, March 27, 2014
A woman tries the silver colored version of the new iPhone 5S after Apple Inc's media event in Cupertino, California September 10, 2013 (Stephen Lam/Courtesy Reuters). A woman tries the silver colored version of the new iPhone 5S after Apple Inc's media event in Cupertino, California September 10, 2013 (Stephen Lam/Courtesy Reuters).

“Innovation” is a hot buzzword in Washington. In a city gripped by partisanship, being pro-innovation is something everyone can agree on. One of the most direct ways the federal government participates in the innovation economy is through the legal protection of tangible innovations themselves, or patents. Yet incredibly, no one has a good grasp of whether the U.S. patent system is doing what it was intended to do—promote innovation. Read more »

How President Putin Has Given a Boost to U.S.-EU Trade Talks

by Edward Alden Tuesday, March 25, 2014
U.S. President Barack Obama participates in a G7 leaders meeting in the Hague March 24, 2014 (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters). U.S. President Barack Obama participates in a G7 leaders meeting in the Hague March 24, 2014 (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters).

When President Obama first announced his trip to Europe two months ago, the main topic was supposed to be trade, particularly the difficult ongoing negotiations to form a new Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). But when he meets Wednesday in Brussels for the first U.S.-European Union summit in more than two years, most of the discussion will be about Ukraine and the Russian annexation of Crimea. Read more »

An Easy Way to Get Smarter on Infrastructure Finance

by Rebecca Strauss Thursday, March 20, 2014
Vehicles drive on the new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay bridge in San Francisco, California September 2, 2013 (Stephen Lam/Courtesy Reuters). Vehicles drive on the new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay bridge in San Francisco, California September 2, 2013 (Stephen Lam/Courtesy Reuters).

“The United States has an infrastructure investment problem,” so starts CFR Senior Fellow Heidi Crebo-Rediker’s compelling new policy innovation memo released yesterday. As we lay out in our report on federal transportation policy, the country should be spending one-third more than current levels just to be able to maintain the infrastructure we alrady have. Using more private money is one way to plug the gap. But many state and local governments, who are responsible for paying for and managing most of the nation’s infrastructure, do not have the expertise of using innovative financing structures that share risk, channel private money effectively, and give taxpayers value for money. Read more »

Politics-Proof Economies?

by Michael Spence Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Federal workers demonstrate for an end to the U.S. government shutdown on the west front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, October 13, 2013 (Jonathan Ernst/Courtesy Reuters). Federal workers demonstrate for an end to the U.S. government shutdown on the west front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, October 13, 2013 (Jonathan Ernst/Courtesy Reuters).

This post was co-authored with David Brady, Deputy Director and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and Professor of Political Science at Stanford University.

MILAN–Governments’ inability to act decisively to address their economies’ growth, employment, and distributional challenges has emerged as a major source of concern almost everywhere. In the United States, in particular, political polarization, congressional gridlock, and irresponsible grandstanding have garnered much attention, with many worried about the economic consequences. Read more »

Investor-State Arbitration in Trade Agreements: A Bad Idea?

by Edward Alden Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Dan Ikenson at the CATO Institute has just published a must-read policy memo on the issue of including investor-state arbitration in trade agreements. With President Obama’s ambitious trade agenda stalled in Congress, Ikenson suggests a radical, but to my mind rather sensible, move to break the impasse–drop the provision from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and future U.S. trade agreements. Read more »

After Two Decades, American Trade May Finally Get a Needed Upgrade

by Guest Blogger for Edward Alden Wednesday, February 26, 2014
China Shipping containers lie on the dock after being imported to the U.S. in Los Angeles (Lucy Nicholson/Courtesy Reuters). China Shipping containers lie on the dock after being imported to the U.S. in Los Angeles (Lucy Nicholson/Courtesy Reuters).

This is a guest post by Robert Maxim, research associate, competitiveness and foreign policy, for the Council on Foreign Relations Studies program.

In 1989 the government of Singapore launched an innovative improvement to its trade infrastructure. The project, known as TradeNet, was a “single window” system that allowed exporters and importers to file trade documents and pay government fees through an electronic one-stop shop. Read more »

Overshooting in Emerging Markets

by Michael Spence Thursday, February 20, 2014
Chinese banknotes are seen at a vendor's cash box at a market in Beijing February 14, 2014 (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Courtesy Rueters). Chinese banknotes are seen at a vendor's cash box at a market in Beijing February 14, 2014 (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Courtesy Rueters).

Until relatively recently, countries’ so-called middle-income transitions were largely ignored–in part because what was supposed to be a transition often became a trap. A few economies in Asia–particularly Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan–sailed through to high-income status with relatively high growth rates. But the vast majority of economies slowed down or stopped growing altogether in per capita terms after entering the middle-income range. Read more »