CFR Presents

Renewing America

Ideas and initiatives for rebuilding American economic strength.

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 »

Toward a Progressive Tax Policy

by Renewing America Staff Thursday, June 5, 2014
Occupy Wall Street protester Federal Hall New York Stock Exchange New York A lone Occupy Wall Street protester sits in front of Federal Hall, across the street from the New York Stock Exchange, in New York (Brendan McDermid/Courtesy Reuters).

The “global wealth tax” suggested by Thomas Piketty in his book Capital in the Twenty-First Century is a utopian-style suggestion to reconstruct the global tax structure. In a new column for Bloomberg View, CFR Adjunct Senior Fellow Peter Orszag suggests two more practical reforms that could make the U.S. tax system more progressive: establishing a progressive consumption tax and changing the U.S. estate tax into an inheritance tax.

Why Have Americans Stopped Moving?

by Renewing America Staff Thursday, May 29, 2014
flag for-sale sign Capitol Hill Washington A U.S. flag decorates a for-sale sign at a home in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington (Jonathan Ernst/Courtesy Reuters).

Many state-level policymakers propose lowering income taxes to lure people from other states. In a new column for Bloomberg View, CFR Adjunct Senior Fellow Peter Orszag explains that income tax rates are not a major driver of interstate migration. Rather, people move to find warmer weather, cheaper housing, and, most importantly, better jobs.

Labor’s Digital Displacement

by Michael Spence Thursday, May 22, 2014
3D printer sculpture Hanover Germany A 3D printer produces a sculpture at the CeBit computer fair in Hanover, Germany (Fabrizio Bensch/Courtesy Reuters).

Digital technologies are once again transforming global value chains and, with them, the structure of the global economy. What do businesses, citizens, and policymakers need to know as they scramble to keep up? Read more »

Policy Innovation Memo: How to Stop the State Subsidy Wars

by Edward Alden Monday, May 12, 2014
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 »

How to Fill the Skills Gap: Bring Back Apprenticeships

by Guest Blogger for Edward Alden Thursday, May 8, 2014
Yaun Smith, a senior, talks about his class's assembly line to make a s’more as a class project as part of the Project Lead the Way class at Bradley Tech High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Darren Hauck/Courtesy Reuters). Yaun Smith, a senior, talks about his class's assembly line to make a s’more as a class project as part of the Project Lead the Way class at Bradley Tech High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Darren Hauck/Courtesy Reuters).

This is a guest post by Robert Maxim, research associate, competitiveness and foreign policy, for the Council on Foreign Relations studies program.

Manufacturing is growing in the United States, but many companies claim that they face a “skills gap.” These companies have unfilled vacancies, but say that unemployed workers and recent high school graduates do not have the technical knowledge needed to fill them. Read more »

Obama’s Critical Moment on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

by Edward Alden Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe talks to U.S. President Barack Obama during the opening session of the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague March 24, 2014 (Yves Herman/Courtesy Reuters). Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe talks to U.S. President Barack Obama during the opening session of the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague March 24, 2014 (Yves Herman/Courtesy Reuters).

What does President Obama actually want from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), his administration’s signature trade negotiation with 11 Asia-Pacific countries? During his visit to four countries in the region this week, we may finally get an answer to that question. And it says something about how closely he has played his cards on the issue that it’s rather hard to predict the outcome. Read more »

Driverless Cars

by Steven J. Markovich Friday, April 18, 2014
A monitor in the back seat displays sensor readings and other information in a driverless car at the Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Laboratory at Stanford University (Kevin Bartram/Courtesy Reuters). A monitor in the back seat displays sensor readings and other information in a driverless car at the Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Laboratory at Stanford University (Kevin Bartram/Courtesy Reuters).

Driverless cars promise great benefits such as fewer accidents, elimination of drunk driving, better utilization of existing highways, and letting commuters work or relax while en route. The technology has developed rapidly over the past decade, aided by research grants from multiple governments and competitions funded by the U.S. military. While several automakers have announced plans to bring cars with limited autonomous capabilities to the market by 2020, there is still a need for a clear legal framework that ensures self-driving vehicles are safe while setting appropriate limits for manufacturer’s liability. A new backgrounder, Driverless Cars, explores this emerging technology, the challenges that remain, and its benefits, which have been estimated at over a trillion dollars annually for the U.S. economy.