CFR Presents

Renewing America

Ideas and initiatives for rebuilding American economic strength.

What the Trade and Minimum Wage Debates Have in Common

by Edward Alden Tuesday, April 5, 2016
California Governor Jerry Brown (C) signs a bill hiking California's minimum wage to $15 by 2023 (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters). California Governor Jerry Brown (C) signs a bill hiking California's minimum wage to $15 by 2023 (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters).

The election-year debates over trade and the minimum wage would appear to have little to do with each other. The growing concern over trade, on the one hand, has focused mostly on the impact of global competition on U.S. manufacturing, sectors in which most employees make far more than the minimum wage. The historic move by California and New York this week to raise their minimum wages to $15, on the other hand, will mostly boost pay for restaurant and retail workers – sectors that do not face international competition. Read more »

Free Trade at Risk in This Year’s U.S. Campaign

by Edward Alden Monday, March 28, 2016

A video posted on YouTube last month captured everything that working-class Americans fear about global trade. In the footage from a cellphone camera, an executive from Carrier, a division of United Technologies, addresses agitated employees at the company’s Indiana plant, which employs 1,400 people making furnaces and other heating equipment. Read more »

Economics in a Time of Political Instability

by Michael Spence Thursday, March 24, 2016
German metal workers  bang drums after they walked out from their day shift in a warning strike (Kai Pfaffenbach/ Reuters). German metal workers bang drums after they walked out from their day shift in a warning strike (Kai Pfaffenbach/ Reuters).

This article was co-authored with David Brady, Deputy Director and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and Professor of Political Science at Stanford University. 

MILAN/STANFORD – Over the last 35 years, Western democracies have seen a rapid rise in political instability, characterized by frequent shifts in governing parties and their programs and philosophies, driven at least partly by economic transformation and hardship. The question now is how to improve economic performance at a time when political instability is impeding effective policymaking. Read more »

India’s Landmark WTO Challenge to the United States

by Edward Alden Tuesday, March 15, 2016

In the midst of a xenophobic U.S. presidential campaign in which candidates in both parties have harangued China and Japan over their trade policies, and leading Republicans have called for a “great wall” to keep out immigrants from Mexico and Central America, one country has quietly refused to take it any longer. Read more »

Immigration and the 2016 Campaign: The Sad Legacy of Speaker John Boehner

by Edward Alden Friday, March 11, 2016
Former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters). Former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters).

There has been a great deal of ink spilled on the question of who or what is to blame for the meteoric rise of Donald Trump in the Republican Party. The alleged culprits include everything from wage stagnation to cable news to talk radio to political correctness run amok. Read more »

China’s Volatile Growth

by Michael Spence Tuesday, March 1, 2016
An electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Shanghai, China. (Aly Song/Reuters). An electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Shanghai, China. (Aly Song/Reuters).

This article was co-authored with Fred Hu, Chairman and Founder of Primavera Capital Group, a China-based global investment firm.

MILAN – Uncertainty about China’s economic prospects is roiling global markets – not least because so many questions are so difficult to answer. In fact, China’s trajectory has become almost impossible to anticipate, owing to the confusing – if not conflicting – signals being sent by policymakers. Read more »

How America Stacks Up: Our New Book on Economic Competitiveness and U.S. Policy

by Edward Alden Monday, February 1, 2016
Cover Photo: The unmanned Falcon 9 rocket (Scott Audette/Reuters). Cover Photo: The unmanned Falcon 9 rocket (Scott Audette/Reuters).

The Renewing America initiative is delighted to release our new ebook How America Stacks Up: Economic Competitiveness and U.S. Policy. The book is based on detailed evaluations of how the United States compares to other advanced economies in setting policies that help create success in a highly competitive global economy. And we have tried to present the material in an accessible way for busy readers, with the main conclusions highlighted in a series of visual infographics. Read more »

Visa Overstays: A Footnote on What Congress Can Do

by Edward Alden Thursday, January 21, 2016

Judging from the reaction to this week’s release of the first DHS report on the number of foreign travelers overstaying their visas, one would think this was fresh and damning evidence for critics who claim that America’s borders are wide open and that the administration is woefully failing to enforce the law. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) called a hearing on the issue Wednesday, to denounce the administration’s “refusal” to build a biometric system to track all departures. “If we do not track and enforce departures, then we have open borders,” he said. Read more »

Visa Overstays and Illegal Immigration: Finally, Some Real Numbers

by Edward Alden Wednesday, January 20, 2016
A traveler has his passport scanned as he passes through U.S. Customs and Immigration (Mike Blake/Reuters). A traveler has his passport scanned as he passes through U.S. Customs and Immigration (Mike Blake/Reuters).

After several years of promising, the Department of Homeland Security this week finally delivered its first report documenting the number of “visa overstays” — travelers to the United States who come on a legal visa but then fail to leave when the lawful duration of their stay expires. The good news is that roughly 99 percent of all visitors comply and go home when they are supposed to; the bad news is that, with more than 40 million visitors last year, the one percent who didn’t go home still adds up to nearly 500,000 overstayers. Read more »

The Keystone Pipeline May be Dead, But Here’s How it Could Blow up the TPP

by Edward Alden Thursday, January 7, 2016
A depot used to store pipes for Transcanada Corp's planned Keystone XL oil pipeline is seen in Gascoyne, North Dakota November 14, 2014. (Reuters Photographer/Reuters). A depot used to store pipes for Transcanada Corp's planned Keystone XL oil pipeline is seen in Gascoyne, North Dakota November 14, 2014. (Reuters Photographer/Reuters).

So much for the U.S.-Canada honeymoon. With the election in October of the new Liberal prime minister Justin Trudeau, both Washington and Ottawa had hoped to put behind them several years of poor relations that had been soured largely by a single issue – President Obama’s dithering and then final rejection in November of the Keystone XL pipeline to bring Canadian tar sands oil to refineries in the U.S. Midwest and the Gulf Coast. Obama was so delighted to see the backside of Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper – an ardent supporter of the pipeline – that he quickly invited Trudeau for a state dinner in Washington in March. Read more »