CFR Presents

Renewing America

Ideas and initiatives for rebuilding American economic strength.

Morning Brief: White House Announces Trade & Business Initiatives

by Jonathan Masters Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Obama administration elaborated on its plans for consolidating several government agencies, including the Department of Commerce and the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, stipulating that any proposed restructuring must save money or cut the size of government. In addition, the White House announced the official launch of, a virtual “one-stop shop” for businesses navigating government agencies. The president also released a memo increasing the authority of the Export Promotion Cabinet to “align interagency efforts” in advancing international trade. Read more »

Bridging the Divide over Deficit Reduction

by Jonathan Masters Monday, February 20, 2012
U.S. Capitol Building Courtesy Reuters

The Obama administration’s 2013 budget “blueprint” has revived debate over the sustainability of U.S. spending and the risks associated with a rising national debt. Long-term budget projections, particularly with ballooning entitlement spending, indicate the country faces insolvency over the next few decades unless appropriate fiscal reforms are put in place. Dozens of deficit reduction plans have been put forth by an array of private and public policy groups, but Washington has been unable to come together on this essential issue. Read more »

Competitiveness: How the United States Lost its Way

by Edward Alden Friday, February 17, 2012
The March 2012 cover of the Harvard Business Review. The March 2012 cover of the Harvard Business Review.

While it’s only February, I feel safe in making the following prediction: the new issue of the Harvard Business Review contains the most important thinking on the issue of U.S. competitiveness that will be published this year. It should be read in every corporate boardroom, by every member of Congress, by every senior official in the Obama administration, and by every economic adviser to the Republican presidential candidates. Read more »

Morning Brief: Systemic Approach Needed to Solve Competitiveness Problem

by Jonathan Masters Friday, February 17, 2012

The United States faces a multi-faceted competitiveness problem, writes Harvard Business School dean Nitin Nohria in the Harvard Business Review (HBR), and while one-off reforms in taxation, education, and other areas are helpful, what is needed is a “systemic, well-choreographed approach to creating positive change.” The new March issue of HBR draws on thought, leaders from Harvard and other organizations, and offers a detailed appraisal of U.S. competitiveness. Read more »

Morning Brief: Romney’s China Policy

by Jonathan Masters Thursday, February 16, 2012

In the Wall Street Journal, Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney writes that China’s embrace of state-capitalism and political repression should not become a model for the world. A Romney administration would likely deem China a “currency manipulator,” increase the U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific, and confront Beijing over human rights. Read more »

How, and How Not, to Debate The Budget

by Edward Alden Wednesday, February 15, 2012
U.S. Treasury Secretary Geithner testifies before the House Ways and Means Committee in Washington (Gary Cameron/Courtesy Reuters). U.S. Treasury Secretary Geithner testifies before the House Ways and Means Committee in Washington (Gary Cameron/Courtesy Reuters).

In our current political climate, the budget of the President is no longer a legislative proposal–it is merely an invitation to debate. And in the aftermath of the release of the budget Monday, we have seen some of the worst and some of the best that Washington can offer. Read more »

Morning Brief: Deal Reached on Payroll Tax Cut

by Jonathan Masters Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Washington lawmakers reached a tentative deal to extend the payroll tax cut (NYT) currently set to expire at the end of the month. The negotiated settlement would also extend unemployment benefits and prevent a large reduction in reimbursements for Medicare doctors. A vote on the bill is expected by Friday, when Congress adjourns for recess. Read more »

Morning Brief: Dissecting the White House Budget

by Jonathan Masters Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The president’s 2013 budget, while unlikely to advance legislatively, indicates the Obama administration’s priorities and issues they are keen to work on if elected for a second term, writes the Brookings Institution’s Isabel V. Sawhill. Primary themes in this budget include job creation, reducing the debt and deficits, revenue increases on the wealthy, but shying away from fundamental reform to taxes and entitlements. Read more »

Morning Brief: Obama Sends Budget to Congress

by Jonathan Masters Monday, February 13, 2012

U.S. President Barack Obama is sending a new budget to Congress this morning, one that looks to capture some $4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next ten years through a combination of both spending cuts and tax increases for wealthy Americans. The forthcoming proposal has been framed as a budget that balances the short-term imperative of economic recovery with long-term deficit reduction (CBS). Read more »

Attracting Chinese Investment: Here’s Where to Start

by Edward Alden Friday, February 10, 2012
Chinese yuan banknotes (Carlos Barria/Courtesy Reuters). Chinese yuan banknotes (Carlos Barria/Courtesy Reuters).

The Renewing America initiative has published today a new Policy Innovation Memorandum, “Fostering Greater Chinese Investment in the United States,” which looks at what the United States should be doing to attract greater foreign investment from China. The paper, by David Marchick of the Carlyle Group, a leading expert on FDI issues and the author of the book, U.S. National Security and Foreign Direct Investment, contains some striking figures. Read more »