CFR Presents

Renewing America

Ideas and initiatives for rebuilding American economic strength.

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.

Renewing America Progress Report: Corporate Tax Policy

by Edward Alden Friday, April 11, 2014
The CFR Renewing America Corporate Tax Scorecard The CFR Renewing America Corporate Tax Scorecard

The Renewing America initiative is publishing today the latest in our Progress Report and Scorecard series, “Standard Deductions: U.S. Corporate Tax Policy.” This is one of those rare issues on which there is actually something of a broad consensus in Washington–corporate taxes, most Republicans and Democrats agree, should be low enough to attract investment, high enough to raise a reasonable share of federal revenues, and reasonably immune to tax avoidance strategies by companies. Read more »

President Obama Should Fix the H-1B Program on His Own

by Edward Alden Monday, April 7, 2014
Members of the audience listen to U.S. President Barack Obama as he participates in an event on immigration reform in San Francisco, November 25, 2013. (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters) Members of the audience listen to U.S. President Barack Obama as he participates in an event on immigration reform in San Francisco, November 25, 2013. (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters)

With House Republicans increasingly looking like they will again block immigration reform this year, pressure is growing on President Obama to use his executive authority to block further deportations of most unauthorized immigrants. I have an additional suggestion: use that same executive authority to expand admission of highly-educated temporary migrants to help boost the U.S. economy. Read more »