CFR Presents

Renewing America

Ideas and initiatives for rebuilding American economic strength.

Renewing America Progress Report: Federal Debt and Deficits

by Edward Alden Monday, September 8, 2014
CFR Renewing America Federal Debt Deficits Scorecard The CFR Renewing America Federal Debt and Deficits Scorecard

It’s not often that one hears the phrase “European steeliness.” But while the United States continues to punt its serious tax and spending problems ever farther down the field, Europe’s big economies have actually done something about fiscal challenges that were even bigger than those facing the United States. Read more »

Good and Bad Inequality

by Michael Spence Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Reginald Rounds Ferguson Missouri protests Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium Wyoming Reginald Rounds of Ferguson, Missouri protests during the opening reception of the Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming August 21, 2014 (David Stubbs/Courtesy Reuters).

Rising income and wealth inequality in many countries around the world has been a long-term trend for three decades or more. But the attention devoted to it has increased substantially since the 2008 financial crisis: With slow growth, rising inequality bites harder. Read more »

Policy Initiative Spotlight: How Canada Lets Local Governments Pick Immigrants

by Steven J. Markovich Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Canada flags Parliament Hill Ottawa Canadian flags line the road around Parliament Hill in Ottawa (Blair Gable/Courtesy Reuters).

Comprehensive U.S. immigration reform is dead.  More than a year after the U.S. Senate passed its reform bill, the House has not voted on comprehensive reform.  The upcoming mid-term elections will likely forestall further action—particularly after the primary defeat of House Majority leader Eric Cantor and the crisis on the Texas border. Read more »

How to Keep America’s Roads and Bridges from Crumbling

by Renewing America Staff Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Construction Tappan Zee Tarrytown New York Construction is seen under way on the Tappan Zee Bridge in Tarrytown, New York May 14, 2014 (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters).

Last week, President Obama announced an initiative to ramp up investment in the United States’s ailing infrastructure. The newly-established Transportation Investment Center is a one-stop shop at the Department of Transportation that connects state and local officials with tools to support private financing for infrastructure projects. In a new op-ed for Fortune, CFR Senior Fellow Heidi Crebo-Rediker argues that the program will help fill the ‘knowledge gap’ among state and local officials, and will facilitate greater private sector investment and more public-private partnerships, while still protecting taxpayers. Read more »

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 »