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.
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.
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.