CFR Presents

Renewing America

Ideas and initiatives for rebuilding American economic strength.

Fiscal Revisionism

by Renewing America Staff Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Following the controversy sparked by errors found in Harvard professors Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff’s This Time is Different that has played a central role in supporting austerity policies in the debate over deficit reduction, CFR senior fellow Robert Kahn responds to the question of how the work’s revision changes the landscape for macroeconomic policy, if at all. Read more »

Why American Education Fails

by Renewing America Staff Monday, April 29, 2013

Despite great reform efforts, U.S. students still remain in the middle of the pack in international test scores. Comparing education systems around the world in a new Foreign Affairs article, assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education Jal Mehta writes that many of the nations that rank highest internationally “owe their success to approaches that are in many ways the inverse of the American one.” Read more »

Policy Initiative Spotlight: Multiyear Budgeting

by Steven J. Markovich Friday, April 26, 2013
President Obama's FY 2014 budget proposal is released (Gary Cameron/Courtesy Reuters). President Obama's FY 2014 budget proposal is released (Gary Cameron/Courtesy Reuters).

The U.S. budget process has become increasingly dysfunctional, a large factor in Standard and Poor’s downgrading the U.S. sovereign credit rating in 2011. Budgets were always passed for each fiscal year from 1977 to 1998, but in the thirteen fiscal years since, Congress has failed to adopt a budget five times, including for FY 2013. A continuing resolution—a stopgap spending measure—was passed in late March to fund discretionary programs of the federal government through the end of September, the last month of the 2013 fiscal year. Read more »

Let the Free Market Not Bureaucrats Build Bridges

by Renewing America Staff Wednesday, April 24, 2013

From 1990 to 2006, the UK financed five times as many public-private partnerships to improve transportation infrastructure as the United States did. With low interest rates and high unemployment, the timing is presumably right to invest in improvements to the United States’ decaying transportation infrastructure. Read more »

CFR’s Global Governance Report Card: A Mismatch Between Demand and Supply

by Edward Alden Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Chinese students pose for the photo with a globe during a campaign to mark World Earth Day (China Daily/Courtesy Reuters). Chinese students pose for the photo with a globe during a campaign to mark World Earth Day (China Daily/Courtesy Reuters).

This week the Council on Foreign Relations released its first Global Governance Report Card. Using input from fifty leading experts, the report card grades the response of the international community and the United States to six big challenges requiring multilateral cooperation: global warming, nuclear proliferation, violent conflict, global health, transnational terrorism, and financial instability. Read more »

A Fine Start on Immigration Reform

by Edward Alden Friday, April 19, 2013
Members of the Senate "Gang on Eight"--Dick Durbin (R-FL), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), John McCain (R-AZ), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC)--are pictured during a news briefing on Capitol Hill to discuss their proposed immigration bill (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters). Members of the Senate "Gang on Eight"--Dick Durbin (R-FL), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), John McCain (R-AZ), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC)--are pictured during a news briefing on Capitol Hill to discuss their proposed immigration bill (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters).

The immigration bill introduced in the Senate this week – all 844 pages – is not a perfect piece of legislation. But it is the most serious effort in many years to create an immigration system that would better serve U.S. economic needs, strengthen the rule of law, and enhance security. Read more »

Is This What Energy Independence Looks Like?

by Renewing America Staff Thursday, April 18, 2013

A new report from the Energy Information Administration offers insight into the potential for the United States to achieve “energy independence” over the next twenty or so years. A great number of things would need to come together, explains CFR’s Michael Levi on his blog “Energy, Security, and Climate,” including improved vehicle efficiency, less driving, more natural gas powered transportation, advancements in biomass fuels, and increased production from shale gas and tight oil wells. Read more »

Our Long-Term Unemployment Challenge (In Charts)

by Renewing America Staff Wednesday, April 17, 2013

With the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting the latest non-farm employment rate to be 7.6 percent, lagging employment remains a central challenge for policymakers.

In this post on his blog Macro and Markets, CFR’s Robert Kahn examines long-term unemployment trends and how they stack up to the current recovery through a series of charts. Kahn finds that we are witnessing a dismal exacerbation of the usual recovery in employment, putting the spotlight on improving structural and fiscal policies aimed at helping the unemployed rebuild skills and find jobs.

Battleground Budget

by Michael Spence Monday, April 15, 2013
House Budget Committee member Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) displays a copy of U.S. President Barack Obama's FY2014 budget proposal on April 10, 2013 (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters). House Budget Committee member Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) displays a copy of U.S. President Barack Obama's FY2014 budget proposal on April 10, 2013 (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters).

MILAN – The world’s developed economies, of which the United States is by far the largest and systemically most important, face a range of difficult political and social choices. President Barack Obama’s proposed U.S. budget acknowledges and addresses those choices and tradeoffs directly and fully for the first time in the post-crisis period. Obama’s proposal is an important, honest, and politically courageous document. The debate that follows will largely determine whether the United States shifts toward a strong, inclusive, and sustainable pattern of growth and employment, and how the burden of moving to such a path will be shared by Americans of various ages, educational levels, incomes, and wealth. Read more »

U.S. Budget Policy: Problem Solved?

by Renewing America Staff Friday, April 12, 2013

The Obama administration’s long-term budget projection estimates government debt as a share of GDP will remain stable until 2050, then decline, and in seventy-five years place the U.S. federal government in a net creditor position equal to around 60 percent of GDP. This is a more optimistic projection than produced by the Congressional Budget Office and independent commissions studying deficit reduction. Read more »