CFR Presents

Renewing America

Ideas and initiatives for rebuilding American economic strength.

What’s Stopping Robust Recovery?

by Michael Spence Friday, November 22, 2013
People walk past screens at the bourse in Madrid, as they are reflected on the surfaces of tables (Andrea Comas/Courtesy Reuters). People walk past screens at the bourse in Madrid, as they are reflected on the surfaces of tables (Andrea Comas/Courtesy Reuters).

MILAN – The growth map of the global economy is relatively clear. The U.S. is in a partial recovery, with growth at 1.5 to 2 percent and lagging employment. Europe as a whole is barely above zero growth, with large variations among countries, though with some evidence of painful re-convergence, at least in terms of nominal unit labor costs. China’s growth, meanwhile, is leveling off at 7 percent, with other developing countries preparing for higher interest rates. Read more »

New Zealand Offers Lessons for the U.S. Housing Bubble

by Renewing America Staff Monday, November 18, 2013
New Zealand resident Brett Plumer nails a national flag to his house in Auckland (Bogdan Cristel/Courtesy Reuters). New Zealand resident Brett Plumer nails a national flag to his house in Auckland (Bogdan Cristel/Courtesy Reuters).

The Federal Reserve may have lessons to learn from New Zealand about managing a mortgage market. In an op-ed for Bloomberg, CFR Adjunct Senior Fellow Peter Orszag explains that by imposing limits on high loan-to-value mortgages, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand is helping to manage housing prices.

The High Stakes in Regional Trade Talks

by Renewing America Staff Friday, November 15, 2013
European Union chief negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero (left) and U.S. chief negotiator Dan Mullaney (right) address a joint news conference during the second round of EU-US trade negotiations for Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership in Brussels November 15, 2013 (Francois Lenoir/Courtesy Reuters). European Union chief negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero (left) and U.S. chief negotiator Dan Mullaney (right) address a joint news conference during the second round of EU-US trade negotiations for Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership in Brussels November 15, 2013 (Francois Lenoir/Courtesy Reuters).

International trade negotiations are at a crucial stage. The multilateral front, with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its center, is facing a foundational crisis. In a new expert brief, The High Stakes in Regional Trade Talks, Jaime Zabludovsky Kuper and Sergio Gómez Lora explain that the future of international trade, at least in the short and medium term, depends heavily on the outcome of regional agreements such as the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Foreign Student Numbers Growing: The Good News and the Missed Opportunities

by Edward Alden Tuesday, November 12, 2013
A student walks along Boston University's campus in Boston, Massachusetts (Jessica Rinaldi/Courtesy Reuters). A student walks along Boston University's campus in Boston, Massachusetts (Jessica Rinaldi/Courtesy Reuters).

While it is easy to despair at the many failings of the U.S. political process, it is important sometimes to celebrate the amazing resilience of American society. My cause today is the latest annual Open Doors report from the Institute of International Education, which examines foreign students studying at American universities and U.S. students studying abroad. The encouraging news is that last year nearly 820,000 international students attended U.S. colleges and universities, a record high and an increase of 7 percent over the previous year. New enrollments were up 10 per cent. That’s nearly a million smart young people who will either remain in the United States after they graduate and strengthen this country, or return home and bring with them the values and skills they learned at some of the world’s greatest schools. Read more »

Policy Initiative Spotlight: Questioning the Wisdom of Corporate Tax Incentives

by Steven J. Markovich Friday, November 8, 2013
The shuttered General Motors Willow Run Powertrain plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan, June 2012 (Jeff Kowalsky /Courtesy Reuters). The shuttered General Motors Willow Run Powertrain plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan, June 2012 (Jeff Kowalsky /Courtesy Reuters).

Many states and cities offer a variety of tax incentives (credits, exemptions, deductions) to businesses with the aim of spurring growth and job creation, but few carefully analyze the costs and benefits. Some recent research has brought the wisdom of corporate tax breaks into question, and several states are considering reforms to assess the public value of their programs. Read more »

What’s Behind Obama’s Push to Attract Foreign Businesses?

by Rebecca Strauss Wednesday, November 6, 2013
U.S. President Barack Obama at the SelectUSA 2013 Investment Summit (Courtesy Reuters). U.S. President Barack Obama at the SelectUSA 2013 Investment Summit (Courtesy Reuters).

Last week the Obama administration hosted the first-ever national summit showcasing the United States as an attractive place to do business, part of a newish initiative called SelectUSA. The event was sold out. In attendance were hundreds of representatives from foreign companies along with U.S. local and state government officials looking to attract their business. The speaker lineup was stacked to impress. President Obama and the secretaries of Commerce, Treasury, and State all separately graced the podium. Panels were filled with big-time CEOs from companies like Dow, Caterpillar, and Walmart. The event’s message: the United States is “open for business” and the Obama administration is serious about it. Read more »