CFR Presents

Renewing America

Ideas and initiatives for rebuilding American economic strength.

The Sequester and the Closing Window for a Fiscal Bargain

by Renewing America Staff Thursday, January 31, 2013

The opportunity for Washington to strike a meaningful deal that addresses the nation’s long-term fiscal woes is fleeting, writes CFR’s Robert Kahn on his blog “Macro and Markets.” While the sequester showdown in the coming weeks will provide policymakers with yet another chance for fiscal compromise, both parties have signaled a willingness to let the sweeping budget cuts take effect March 1. Read more »

Policy Initiative Spotlight: Germany Lends a Hand to U.S. Workforce Development

by Jonathan Masters Wednesday, January 30, 2013
An employee works on a component for a turbine at the Siemens Energy plant in Charlotte, North Carolina (Chris Keane/Courtesy Reuters). An employee works on a component for a turbine at the Siemens Energy plant in Charlotte, North Carolina (Chris Keane/Courtesy Reuters).

Perhaps the most prized real estate at the annual State of the Union address is the first lady’s box, where, for over thirty years, persons of great distinction have been invited to sit and be recognized in the national spotlight. Foreign dignitaries, war heroes, renowned academics, innovators, and others of such esteem frequently receive the honor. Read more »

Immigration Reform: Five Years Later, Five Big Challenges

by Edward Alden Monday, January 28, 2013
A Student Immigrant Movement rally to support the DREAM Act on September 20, 2010 (openmediaboston/Flickr). A Student Immigrant Movement rally to support the DREAM Act on September 20, 2010 (openmediaboston/Flickr).

It has been more than five years since the last congressional effort at comprehensive immigration reform dissolved in acrimony. Since that time, the U.S. government has deported nearly 2 million unauthorized immigrants; a weaker economy and tougher border enforcement resulted in arrests of illegal crossers at the border with Mexico dropping from more than 850,000 to 327,000 annually, the lowest since the early 1970s; and skilled immigrants, facing long waits for green cards as well as the diminished opportunities of a weaker economy, are no longer coming to the United States in the numbers they once did. Read more »

America’s Real Problem Is Healthcare

by Renewing America Staff Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A comprehensive deal to put the United States on a sustainable fiscal path, one that includes both tax and entitlement reform, has thus far proved elusive for policymakers. As Washington gears up for a series of heated budget battles in 2013, former White House budget director and CFR Senior Fellow Peter Orszag notes how improving value in healthcare can both shore up Treasury’s bottom line and shield U.S. workers from the effects of globalization. Read more »

Education Lessons: As Obama Begins Second Term, Big Gains May Come in Small Steps

by Edward Alden Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Students arrive by bus on the first day of school at Joplin High School in Joplin, Missouri (Eric Thayer/Courtesy Reuters). Students arrive by bus on the first day of school at Joplin High School in Joplin, Missouri (Eric Thayer/Courtesy Reuters).

U.S. students are now graduating from high school at the highest rate since good records began being kept in the mid-1970s, according to new data released today by the National Center for Education Statistics. Read more »

The Renewing America Interview: San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee on Pension Reform

by Jonathan Masters Thursday, January 17, 2013
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee speaks at his election day party in San Francisco, November 2011 (Robert Galbraith/Courtesy Reuters). San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee speaks at his election day party in San Francisco, November 2011 (Robert Galbraith/Courtesy Reuters).

When he took over as San Francisco’s interim mayor in January 2011, Ed Lee seemed like just the reluctant warrior the city needed to tackle its fiscal woes. He hadn’t run for office since his bid for high school senior class president, and had no aspirations to break the forty-year trend when his caretaker mayorship expired the following January. “I didn’t care about future office, I just wanted to do what was right for the city,” he told me in a recent phone conversation. Read more »

Technology and the Employment Challenge

by Michael Spence Wednesday, January 16, 2013
A worker checks vehicles at a Ford car plant in Craiova, Romania (Bogdan Cristel/Courtesy Reuters). A worker checks vehicles at a Ford car plant in Craiova, Romania (Bogdan Cristel/Courtesy Reuters).

MILAN – New technologies of various kinds, together with globalization, are powerfully affecting the range of employment options for individuals in advanced and developing countries alike – and at various levels of education. Technological innovations are not only reducing the number of routine jobs, but also causing changes in global supply chains and networks that result in the relocation of routine jobs – and, increasingly, non-routine jobs at multiple skill levels – in the tradable sector of many economies. Read more »

No Good Choices: Why A Short Term Debt Limit Extension Is on the Table

by Renewing America Staff Monday, January 14, 2013

Both political parties seem to be posturing ahead of the coming showdown over the nation’s borrowing limit, which Congress will need to raise toward the end of February. While the White House has said it will not negotiate over the debt limit, many House Republicans have threatened a default if major spending cuts are not enacted. Read more »