CFR Presents

Renewing America

Ideas and initiatives for rebuilding American economic strength.

How Inequality Found a Political Voice

by Michael Spence Tuesday, November 1, 2016
A voter peels off an "I Voted" sticker after voting (Chris Keane/Reuters).

MILAN – It took a long time for widening inequality to have an impact on politics, as it suddenly has done in recent years. Now that it is a central issue, national economic priorities will need to shift substantially to create more equitable, inclusive economies and societies. If they do not, people could embrace explosive alternatives to their current governments, such as the populist movements now sweeping many countries. Read more »

A Muslim Travel Ban and the U.S. Economy

by Edward Alden Friday, October 7, 2016
U.S. Customs and Immigration officers await travelers (Mike Blake/Reuters).

Republican candidate Donald Trump has said that, if elected, he would use the expansive powers of the president to block foreign Muslims from traveling to the United States. As an alternative, he has suggested he might block all travel from countries “compromised by terrorism.” Again, this would be well within his powers as president. This week, his vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence said Trump no longer favored either approach, though Trump himself has not suggested any softening. Read more »

Restoring Support for International Trade

by Guest Blogger for Edward Alden Tuesday, October 4, 2016
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speak at their first presidential debate (Mike Segar/Reuters).

This is a guest post by John Veroneau, partner at Covington & Burling LLP and former deputy U.S. trade representative. He was also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations Independent Task Force on U.S. Trade and Investment Policy. Read more »

Escaping the New Normal of Weak Growth

by Michael Spence Friday, September 30, 2016
Euro banknotes and a calculator are placed on a currency graph and ticker (Dado Ruvic/Reuters).

MILAN – There is no question that the recovery from the global recession triggered by the 2008 financial crisis has been unusually lengthy and anemic. Some still expect an upswing in growth. But, eight years after the crisis erupted, what the global economy is experiencing is starting to look less like a slow recovery than like a new low-growth equilibrium. Why is this happening, and is there anything we can do about it? Read more »

A Winning Trade Policy for the United States

by Edward Alden Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Semi trucks line up to pick up shipping containers at the Port of Long Beach (Bob Riha Jr./Reuters).

The Renewing America initiative is releasing today a new paper entitled, “A Winning Trade Policy for the United States,” co-authored by myself and CFR adjunct senior fellow Robert Litan. The paper is the first of two that will look at new directions for U.S. trade policy at a time when American support for the global trading system is under challenge as rarely seen before. Read more »

Apple’s European Tax Bill: Time to Pay Up and Play by the Rules

by Edward Alden Thursday, September 1, 2016
A sign is seen outside the Apple Store in Covent Garden in London (Toby Melville/Reuters).

Apple and its allies in the U.S. Treasury and Congress would have you believe that this week’s ruling by the European Commission that the company must pay some $14.5 billion in taxes owed to Ireland and other governments is an assault on one of America’s most innovative and successful companies. Read more »

How to Fight Secular Stagnation

by Michael Spence Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Construction workers work on a taxiway bridge for airplanes (Kai Pfaffenbach/ Reuters).

MILAN – Much of the world, especially the advanced economies, has been mired in a pattern of slow and declining GDP growth in recent years, causing many to wonder whether this is becoming a semi-permanent condition – so-called “secular stagnation.” The answer is probably yes, but the question lacks precision, and thus has limited utility. There are, after all, different types of forces that could be suppressing growth, not all of which are beyond our control. Read more »

Finding a TPP Alternative is Becoming a Priority

by Edward Alden Thursday, August 4, 2016
Delegates protesting against the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement (Mark Kauzlarich/Reuters).

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, the landmark trade agreement linking the United States, Japan and 10 other Asia-Pacific countries, looks set to become the biggest casualty of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The path for congressional approval was at best a narrow one already, but the growing election-year controversy over the TPP looks to have choked it off entirely. For America’s economic partners in Asia, it is time to start looking for a plan B. Read more »

Growth in a Time of Disruption

by Michael Spence Wednesday, July 27, 2016
A man walks past various currency signs (Yuya Shino/Reuters).

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA – Developing countries are facing major obstacles – many of which they have little to no control over – to achieving sustained high growth. Beyond the headwinds generated by slow advanced-economy growth and abnormal post-crisis monetary and financial conditions, there are the disruptive impacts of digital technology, which are set to erode developing economies’ comparative advantage in labor-intensive manufacturing activities. With the reversal of these trends out of the question, adaptation is the only option. Read more »

GOP Has Abdicated Leadership on Homeland Security

by Edward Alden Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani speaks at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 18, 2016. (Mike Segar/Reuters).

“Homeland Security” was an idea largely conceived and implemented by the Republican Party. But at the opening night of the Republican convention in Cleveland, built around the theme of “Make America Safe Again,” it was depressingly clear that the GOP has forgotten everything that it learned during the years following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. That memory loss could have serious and damaging consequences for the United States. Read more »