CFR Presents

Renewing America

Ideas and initiatives for rebuilding American economic strength.

Posts by Category

Showing posts for "Debt and Deficits"

Policy Innovation Memo: How to Stop the State Subsidy Wars

by Edward Alden
A Tesla Motors Inc Model X is seen at Tesla's introduction of its new battery swapping program in Hawthorne, California (Lucy Nicholson/Courtesy Reuters). A Tesla Motors Inc Model X is seen at Tesla's introduction of its new battery swapping program in Hawthorne, California (Lucy Nicholson/Courtesy Reuters).

The Renewing America Initiative is releasing today our new Policy Innovation Memo “Curtailing the Subsidy War Within the United States,” which I co-authored with Associate Director Rebecca Strauss. The problem is a vexing one. Governors and state governments quite rightly spend an enormous amount of time and energy trying to attract job-creating investments to their states. They think about how to get the right mix of tax policy, education, infrastructure and sensible regulation that will draw business to their states. They compete vigorously with other states, and other countries, to sell companies on the merits of locating in their state. All of this deserves applause. Read more »

U.S. Budget Deal: A Needed Step

by Renewing America Staff

While the new budget deal isn’t a grand bargain, it is a necessary first step, writes CFR’s Robert Kahn on his blog “Macro and Markets.” The deal won’t dramatically reshape spending over the next two years, but it will restore a sense of sanity to U.S. fiscal policy. Additionally, Democrats and Republicans both crossed former red lines, giving a sense of where the budget debate may head in the coming year.

Policy Initiative Spotlight: Questioning the Wisdom of Corporate Tax Incentives

by Steven J. Markovich
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 »

America the Reckless

by Michael Spence
The statue of Grief and History stands in front of the U.S. Capitol dome in Washington (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters). The statue of Grief and History stands in front of the U.S. Capitol dome in Washington (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters).

MILAN–The world’s developed countries face growth and employment shortfalls, while developing countries are confronting huge challenges in adapting to increasingly volatile capital flows while adjusting their growth patterns to sustain economic development. And yet America’s political dysfunction has come to marginalize these (and other) crucial issues. It is all very difficult to fathom. Read more »

The Renewing America Interview: Bill Bradley on Leadership and U.S. Tax Reform

by Jonathan Masters
(Courtesy Bill Bradley) (Courtesy Bill Bradley)

Months of relative calm on the U.S. fiscal front are set to end this month as Congress returns from summer recess, staring down the barrel of a possible government shutdown on October 1 (start of FY 2014), and another likely debt-limit fight shortly thereafter. Read more »

Critics Are Wrong About the Medicare Payment Board

by Renewing America Staff

For Bloomberg, CFR adjunct senior fellow Peter R. Orszag responds to growing opposition to the Independent Payment Advisory Board. Created as part of the Affordable Care Act, the purpose of the board is to create a process to tweak the evolving Medicare payment system in response to incoming experience and data, allowing for more flexible testing of new payment structures than turning to Congress for legislation. Orszag states that many critics do not grasp the core rationale for the program and do not realize it will allow them to actually reach their objective of shifting away from fee-for-service payment.

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 »

Learning About Growth from Austerity

by Michael Spence
U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaks in front of the "national debt clock" in New Hampshire, September 2012 (Brian Snyder/Courtesy Reuters.) U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaks in front of the "national debt clock" in New Hampshire, September 2012 (Brian Snyder/Courtesy Reuters.)

MILAN – In a recent set of studies, Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff used a vast array of historical data to show that the accumulation of high levels of public (and private) debt relative to GDP has an extended negative effect on growth. The size of the effect incited debate about errors in their calculations. Few, however, doubt the validity of the pattern. 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 »