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Renewing America

Ideas and initiatives for rebuilding American economic strength.

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The Case for Allowing U.S. Crude Oil Exports

by Renewing America Staff

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.

Why Are So Many College Graduates Driving Taxis?

by Renewing America Staff

In his Bloomberg column, CFR Adjunct Senior Fellow Peter Orszag discusses recent research that finds that though an unprecedented number of American college graduates are employed in jobs that don’t require a college degree, the wage premium enjoyed by college degree-holders persists. Orszag states that if some of the researcher’s conclusions are correct–that the movement of these high-skilled workers into lower-skilled jobs is bringing down wages for manual workers even more–the value of a college degree could at least be found in avoiding this wage depression.

Can Government Play Moneyball?

by Renewing America Staff

Director of the Congressional Budget Office Peter Orszag and director of the White House Domestic Policy Council John Bridgeland both left office flabbergasted by how blindly the federal government spends money. In the Atlantic, they propose that the “moneyball” formula employed in baseball—whereby data-intensive analysis of what skills players actually contribute most replaced traditional beliefs and biases—can be readily applied to tame the federal budget.

Fiscal Malaise

by Renewing America Staff

The fact that U.S. fiscal policy has moved out of the media spotlight is both good news and bad news, writes CFR’s Robert Kahn on his blog “Macro and Markets.” While it’s good there is some general optimism that the next round of fiscal cliffs will be navigated with little disruption to the economy, the growing pessimism about the chances of a grand fiscal bargain is discouraging. Kahn highlights several factors that might be contributing to this dynamic, including a better economic backdrop and debt limit fatigue. Read more »

How to Fix America

by Renewing America Staff

In the Foreign Affairs article, “Can America Be Fixed?” (January/February 2013), CNN’s Fareed Zakaria makes the case that the American democratic system has been growing increasingly dysfunctional since the 1970s but has masked underlying problems through a series of temporary solutions and lucky breaks. After the financial crisis, the system is now more dysfunctional than ever, he writes, and policymakers should summon past successful policy initiatives to get back on track. Read more »

U.S. Debt Ceiling: A Plan to Kick the Can?

by Renewing America Staff

House Republicans are looking at legislative options that would couple a hike in the federal debt ceiling, likely due in the fall, with progress on corporate tax reform, writes CFR’s Robert Kahn on his blog “Macro and Markets.” However, significant disagreement between the two parties on major policy points, including on rate levels and the taxing of foreign profits, would probably preclude a grand bargain in the coming months, he says. Read more »

Medicare Should Pay for Patients, Not Treatments

by Renewing America Staff

Washington should take steps to encourage the recent deceleration in U.S. health-care costs, and two new bipartisan plans (one from the Brookings Institution and the other from the Bipartisan Policy Center) may point policymakers in the right direction, writes former director of the Office of Management and Budget Peter Orszag in a Bloomberg column. Read more »

Fiscal Revisionism

by Renewing America Staff

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

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 »