CFR Presents

Renewing America

Ideas and initiatives for rebuilding American economic strength.

Policy Initiative Spotlight: NYC Zoning and Competitiveness

by Jonathan Masters Tuesday, July 30, 2013
View of Midtown Manhattan from the Empire State Building, New York, NY (Courtesy Flickr). View of Midtown Manhattan from the Empire State Building, New York, NY (Courtesy Flickr).

The debate over skyscrapers and their place in the American city has endured for over a century, and New York City has often led the conversation. In 1913, the Equitable Life Assurance Society unveiled its controversial proposal to build a hulking new corporate headquarters in lower Manhattan after its former Wall Street home—the “city’s first skyscraper”—dramatically burned down. Completed just two years later, the new 1.4 million square foot, 40-story neo-classical colossus blocked the sun like few other man-made structures of its day. Read more »

Jobs, Skills, and Employment: Building a Better Workforce

by Edward Alden Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Apprentice iron worker George Vacheresse pauses during a class in Wheeling, West Virginia. Vacheresse was a steel worker for seventeen years but decided to retrain after watching layoffs erode the workforce at his machinist shop (Jason Cohn/Courtesy Reuters). Apprentice iron worker George Vacheresse pauses during a class in Wheeling, West Virginia. Vacheresse was a steel worker for seventeen years but decided to retrain after watching layoffs erode the workforce at his machinist shop (Jason Cohn/Courtesy Reuters).

There is a chicken-and-egg problem in the U.S. labor market. With the U.S. economy still down some 2.4 million jobs from its peak in January 2008, U.S. employers should be enjoying a buyer’s market for skilled workers. And yet employers report that they are struggling to fill open jobs – at last count there were 3.83 million job openings, close to a five-year high. As Thomas Hilliard of the Center for an Urban Future writes in his new Renewing America working paper, Building the American Workforce, “an alarming number of Americans lack the skills and education credentials needed to compete for decent-paying jobs in an economy transformed by globalization and accelerating technological change.” Read more »

Some Reasons for Optimism on the U.S. Economy

by Edward Alden Wednesday, July 17, 2013
The 2013 A.T. Kearney Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index. The 2013 A.T. Kearney Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index.

Two reports that came out today left me feeling more optimistic than I have in some time about the prospects for the U.S. economy. The first was an annual survey by A.T. Kearney that asks foreign executives which country in the world offers the most attractive investment opportunities. The United States topped the list for the first time since 2001. Read more »

Getting to Yes on Transatlantic Trade

by Renewing America Staff Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The United States and the European Union should create a new global regulatory blueprint through the just-launched Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations, CFR Senior Fellow for Global Health, Economics, and Development Thomas J. Bollyky and Columbia Law School’s Anu Bradford write in their new Foreign Affairs article, “Getting to Yes on Transatlantic Trade.” In an era of global supply chains, disparate and overlapping regulatory policies are the central hindrance to greater trade between the U.S. and the EU. If TTIP negotiators focus on sectors in which the two share similar trade and regulation goals, the agreement could serve as a necessary foundation for future transatlantic and global trade cooperation.

The Case for Allowing U.S. Crude Oil Exports

by Renewing America Staff Monday, July 8, 2013

In an era of rising U.S. oil production, long-standing restrictions on crude oil exports no longer serve U.S. interests, CFR Fellow for Energy and National Security Blake Clayton argues in this Renewing America Policy Innovation Memorandum, The Case for Allowing U.S. Crude Oil Exports. Export restrictions reduce the value of U.S. crude oil, costing the country a potential $15 billion in lost revenue annually. Allowing the market to work freely would stimulate U.S. production, advance U.S. foreign policy goals and demonstrate the U.S. commitment to freer trade, without jeopardizing energy security.

The U.S.-EU Spying Fiasco: Why Commercial Espionage is a Bad Idea for the United States

by Edward Alden Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Security cameras near the main entrance of the European Union Council building in Brussels (Francois Lenoir/Courtesy Reuters) Security cameras near the main entrance of the European Union Council building in Brussels (Francois Lenoir/Courtesy Reuters)

When I was a young reporter in 1993 covering the final days of the Uruguay Round world trade negotiations in Geneva, I got a strange phone call in my hotel room from one of the lobbyists for a big U.S. engine manufacturer. The question of whether government subsidies for aircraft engines would be restricted under the new World Trade Organization rules was one of the big, outstanding issues for the United States and the European Union nearing the end of the negotiations. The U.S. companies – Pratt & Whitney and General Electric – were worried that new rules favored by the EU to curb subsidies could restrict their ability to spin off commercial products from work on Pentagon military contracts, and benefit rival Rolls-Royce, the UK engine maker. Read more »

Policy Initiative Spotlight: Adaptive Education

by Steven J. Markovich Monday, July 1, 2013
A first grade student listens during a computer lesson in school (Courtesy Reuters). A first grade student listens during a computer lesson in school (Courtesy Reuters).

If many technology startups and established education firms have their way, the future of education will more closely resemble a one-on-one private tutor than a traditional schoolhouse classroom with a single teacher lecturing to twenty-five students seated in neatly arranged desks. These firms are developing tools for adaptive education, an approach that analyzes data in real-time to tailor a lesson to each student’s needs and strengths, to reinforce concepts not fully absorbed, and deploy techniques effective for that particular student. Read more »