CFR Presents

Renewing America

Ideas and initiatives for rebuilding American economic strength.

Do-Nothing Congress Is Your Fault

by Renewing America Staff Thursday, July 17, 2014
Protest Government Shutdown Congress Los Angeles California Marcia Noboa, 65, protests against the government shutdown and potential cuts to Social Security and Medicare outside the Federal Building in Los Angeles, California (Lucy Nicholson/Courtesy Reuters).

Conventional wisdom holds that Congress is more polarized than the American people as a whole. However, in a new column for Bloomberg View, CFR Adjunct Senior Fellow Peter Orszag explores evidence showing that voter preferences may have long been misread. Congressional districts that are moderate on average may not actually contain large densities of moderate voters. Instead, there may be a similar number of partisan Democrats and Republicans, with only a small moderate minority.

Immigration Reform Is Happening

by Renewing America Staff Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Immigration reform Murietta refugee vigil William Bello, 16, listens to speakers at a vigil in support of refugee children and their families in Murrieta, California July 9, 2014 (Lucy Nicholson/Courtesy Reuters).

In a new piece for Foreign Policy, CFR Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies Shannon O’Neil argues that, despite federal inaction, immigration reform is happening at the state and local levels. In 2013 alone, 45 of the 50 state legislatures passed over four-hundred immigration-related laws and resolutions. O’Neil notes that although a small number were bills that made life more difficult for undocumented immigrants, many others were designed to integrate them more easily into local communities. However, while this push is having real and positive effects for local economies, the wider immigration problem cannot be solved without federal action, she explains.

Congress’s Job Training Overhaul: A Modest Step in the Right Direction

by Guest Blogger for Edward Alden Thursday, July 10, 2014
Ironworker apprentices welding skills Wheeling West Virginia Ironworker apprentices (L-R) Ian Welshhans, Daniel Truax and Jason Taylor practice their welding skills during a class at the Ironworkers Local 549 training facility in Wheeling, West Virginia (Jason Cohn/Courtesy Reuters).

This is a guest post by Robert Maxim, research associate, competitiveness and foreign policy, for the Council on Foreign Relations studies program.

Any bill that receives the support of both Ted Cruz and Harry Reid is notable in its own right. When that bill takes steps to streamline the complex web of U.S. worker training programs, it is a genuine achievement for a Congress that gridlocks on even the most mundane tasks. Read more »

Born in 1988. Sorry

by Renewing America Staff Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Graduating student Abel Charron hire me mortar board USC School Cinematic Arts commencement University Southern California Graduating student Abel Charron displays a "Hire me" sign written on his mortar board before USC School of Cinematic Arts commencement (Mario Anzuoni/Courtesy Reuters).

Can the year you are born dictate how much you make or how healthy you are? In a new column for Bloomberg View, CFR Adjunct Senior Fellow Peter Orszag explains how individuals who enter the workforce during times of high unemployment have lower wages and poorer health outcomes than those who began working in better economic conditions. Most notably, this pattern affects members of the same generation who were born only a few years apart. Over the course of a career, this can result in some workers earning up to $100,000 less than others of the same generation.

The GOP’s Tunnel Vision on the Export-Import Bank

by Edward Alden Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Republican McCarthy Scalise Boehner Export Import Bank leadership elections Newly elected House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks to the media with new Republican Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (L) and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R) after House Republican leadership elections on June 19, 2014 (Jim Bourg/Courtesy Reuters).

Ask which of the two congressional parties is more in favor of free trade, and the answer is easy: the Republicans. If President Obama succeeds in concluding the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations this year, he will rely on GOP votes, including Tea Party Republicans, to get the deal through Congress. His own Democratic Party is strongly opposed. Read more »

A Conversation on the President’s Trade Agenda with Michael Froman

by Renewing America Staff Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Yesterday, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman visited the Council on Foreign Relations to discuss President Obama’s trade agenda. In a conversation with former U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky, Ambassador Froman highlighted the strategic importance of ongoing U.S. trade negotiations, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the Information Technology Agreement (ITA). Read more »

Toward a Progressive Tax Policy

by Renewing America Staff Thursday, June 5, 2014
Occupy Wall Street protester Federal Hall New York Stock Exchange New York A lone Occupy Wall Street protester sits in front of Federal Hall, across the street from the New York Stock Exchange, in New York (Brendan McDermid/Courtesy Reuters).

The “global wealth tax” suggested by Thomas Piketty in his book Capital in the Twenty-First Century is a utopian-style suggestion to reconstruct the global tax structure. In a new column for Bloomberg View, CFR Adjunct Senior Fellow Peter Orszag suggests two more practical reforms that could make the U.S. tax system more progressive: establishing a progressive consumption tax and changing the U.S. estate tax into an inheritance tax.

Why Have Americans Stopped Moving?

by Renewing America Staff Thursday, May 29, 2014
flag for-sale sign Capitol Hill Washington A U.S. flag decorates a for-sale sign at a home in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington (Jonathan Ernst/Courtesy Reuters).

Many state-level policymakers propose lowering income taxes to lure people from other states. In a new column for Bloomberg View, CFR Adjunct Senior Fellow Peter Orszag explains that income tax rates are not a major driver of interstate migration. Rather, people move to find warmer weather, cheaper housing, and, most importantly, better jobs.

Labor’s Digital Displacement

by Michael Spence Thursday, May 22, 2014
3D printer sculpture Hanover Germany A 3D printer produces a sculpture at the CeBit computer fair in Hanover, Germany (Fabrizio Bensch/Courtesy Reuters).

Digital technologies are once again transforming global value chains and, with them, the structure of the global economy. What do businesses, citizens, and policymakers need to know as they scramble to keep up? Read more »