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Renewing America

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Morning Brief: Pushing Free Trade Policy

by Jonathan Masters
January 30, 2012

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said that it has become increasingly difficult to sell Americans on the merits of free trade in the current economic climate. “Frankly, more and more Americans of all persuasions believe that we have swapped jobs for cheaper T-shirts and iPads,” said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The frank assessment comes as the World Trade Organization is still seeking to strike a global free trade deal (AFP) following ten years of stalled negotiations on the matter.

Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) and Stone Point Capital Chairman Stephen Friedman discuss rebooting the U.S. economy and trade policy, as well as global economic challenges in this CFR meeting.

International trade and investment. Read more from leading analysts on the debate over next steps in U.S. trade policy.

Infrastructure

GOP to Advance Keystone Pipeline

House Republicans look to push the controversial Keystone oil pipeline as part of their major infrastructure and energy bill (The Hill). The GOP’s American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act will aim to raise funds for improving U.S. infrastructure through increased energy production.

The Keystone XL pipeline debate shows the pitfalls of politics intruding on energy policy, says CFR’s Michael Levi. He reviews the pros and cons of the issue and proposes additional steps to bolster U.S. energy security.

Infrastructure. Read more on how upgrading the nation’s aging network of roads, bridges, airports, railways, and water systems is essential to maintaining U.S. competitiveness.

Debt and Deficits

U.S. Needs Tax Overhaul

President Obama’s tax reform proposals are “too timid,” says an editorial for the Financial Times, which argues he should seek to overhaul and simplify the system rather than increasing its complexity through targeted tax breaks. An effective policy would emphasize fiscal reform, broaden the tax base and eliminate tax loopholes, as well as allow the Bush tax cuts to expire, the newspaper said.

Debt and deficits. Read more from leading experts on the challenges in reducing U.S. debt.

Innovation

Google vs. Apple-Style Innovation

Google and Apple employ different models of innovation (NYT), said corporate and government innovation consultant John Kao at the World Economic Forum. Google uses a more “bottom-up approach” where customers are engaged in product design, while Apple’s more “top-down” system relies on the design intuition of its own personnel. Comparing both approaches, says, Kao, underscores the “archetypical tension in the creative process.”

Innovation. Read more on how the U.S. capacity to innovate could play a chief role in economic growth.

 

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  • Posted by theresurgenceofamerica

    The U.S. faces an uphill battle in its struggle to maintain economic superiority amidst the globalization (read offshoring) that’s occurring. In an interesting article in the NY Times not long ago the story at Apple illustrates many of the complexities and challenges that we face. I was very moved by this story and now realize the challenge to America is not just cheaper labor, but in many cases a more highly trained and nimble workforce for the task at hand. Cultural differences play a big role as well. How many Americans would work 12 hour days, 6 days a week and live at the factory’s dorm? Here’s a link to the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/business/apple-america-and-a-squeezed-middle-class.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

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