CFR Presents

Renewing America

Ideas and initiatives for rebuilding American economic strength.

The Distributional Challenge

by Michael Spence Tuesday, December 31, 2013
A pedestrian looks at an electronic board displaying various stock prices outside a brokerage in Tokyo (Yuya Shino/Courtesy Reuters). A pedestrian looks at an electronic board displaying various stock prices outside a brokerage in Tokyo (Yuya Shino/Courtesy Reuters).

Assessing the recent past and looking forward to the near term is a natural end-of-year exercise. When it comes to the global economy in 2013 and 2014, it may well be a necessary one as well.

In the past year, systemic risk declined. Europe came together around the need to stabilize the eurozone, with the European Central Bank and Germany playing the leading roles. Read more »

2013 By the Numbers: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

by Edward Alden Monday, December 30, 2013
The numbers "2013" are illuminated atop 1 Times Square (Gary He/Courtesy Reuters). The numbers "2013" are illuminated atop 1 Times Square (Gary He/Courtesy Reuters).

As 2013 fades into 2014, it seems like a good time to do a quick performance check on the United States. CFR’s Renewing America initiative is premised on the understanding that the United States’ ability to influence world events rests on a robust, competitive economy. While any given year is at best a snapshot in a very long game, some of the numbers from this year are nonetheless quite striking (and more on the positive side than not). And so, with apologies to Clint Eastwood, my snap assessment. Read more »

With TPP and TTIP, U.S. and EU Reassert Control Over Rules of Global Trade

by Edward Alden Thursday, December 19, 2013
U.S. President Barack Obama listens as European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso speaks after an economic summit at the White House in Washington (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters). U.S. President Barack Obama listens as European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso speaks after an economic summit at the White House in Washington (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters).

Never again. That was the sentiment I remember hearing over and over from developing country officials following the tumultuous completion of the Uruguay Round negotiations in 1993 that led to the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) two years later. Once again, most of them believed, the United States and the European Union had dictated the final terms of a global trade agreement and forced it down the throats of the rest of the world. These countries were determined to have far more say in the shape of any future deals. Read more »

U.S. Budget Deal: A Needed Step

by Renewing America Staff Wednesday, December 11, 2013

While the new budget deal isn’t a grand bargain, it is a necessary first step, writes CFR’s Robert Kahn on his blog “Macro and Markets.” The deal won’t dramatically reshape spending over the next two years, but it will restore a sense of sanity to U.S. fiscal policy. Additionally, Democrats and Republicans both crossed former red lines, giving a sense of where the budget debate may head in the coming year.

Why We Don’t Have the Aviation Infrastructure We Need…and What to Do About It

by Guest Blogger for Edward Alden Monday, December 9, 2013
An American Airlines jet passes the air traffic control tower on the runway at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), California (Patrick T. Fallon/Courtesy Reuters). An American Airlines jet passes the air traffic control tower on the runway at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), California (Patrick T. Fallon/Courtesy Reuters).

The following post was written by Greg Principato, who was President of Airports Council International–North America, the trade association representing U.S. and Canadian airports, from 2005-2013. He was also Executive Director of the National Commission to Ensure a Strong Competitive Airline Industry (Clinton Administration) and a member of the Secure Borders and Open Doors Advisory Committee (George W. Bush Administration). Read more »

Renewing America Progress Report: U.S. Trade and Investment Policy

by Edward Alden Thursday, December 5, 2013
The CFR Renewing America Trade and Investment Scorecard The CFR Renewing America Trade and Investment Scorecard

The Renewing America initiative is releasing today a new Progress Report and Infographic Scorecard, “Trading Up: U.S. Trade and Investment Policy,” which looks at the challenges and accomplishments of the Obama administration in international trade policy. As I wrote in an op-ed for Reuters today, “The Obama administration has quietly embraced the most ambitious agenda on trade and investment liberalization in the past two decades.” Read more »

America’s Place in the World: It Depends on Where You Stand

by Edward Alden Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Airline tycoon Richard Branson and former U.S. vice-president Al Gore hold a globe in central London (Kieran Doherty/Courtesy Reuters). Airline tycoon Richard Branson and former U.S. vice-president Al Gore hold a globe in central London (Kieran Doherty/Courtesy Reuters).

Are Americans becoming more isolationist? That appears to be the top-line conclusion from a fascinating new poll released this week by the Pew Research Center and my organization, the Council on Foreign Relations, called America’s Place in the World 2013. In the survey, 52 percent of Americans said that the United States should “mind its own business internationally,” the highest percentage since the question was first asked in 1964, and up from just 30 percent a decade ago. Read more »

Space Exploration and U.S. Competitiveness

by Steven J. Markovich Tuesday, December 3, 2013
With the Earth in the background, the SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo craft is seen as it is grappled by the International Space Station's Canadarm2 robotic arm (Photo provided by NASA/Courtesy Reuters). With the Earth in the background, the SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo craft is seen as it is grappled by the International Space Station's Canadarm2 robotic arm (Photo provided by NASA/Courtesy Reuters).

The Space Race of the 1960s spurred groundbreaking investments in research and education, inspiring a generation of Americans to enter the fields of science and engineering. These investments not only propelled the United States to preeminence in space exploration, but also planted the seeds for future innovation and economic competitiveness in many industries. A new backgrounder, Space Exploration and U.S. Competitiveness, explores the advancements produced by the U.S. space program, and discusses the challenges and opportunities that the program faces today.

What’s Stopping Robust Recovery?

by Michael Spence Friday, November 22, 2013
People walk past screens at the bourse in Madrid, as they are reflected on the surfaces of tables (Andrea Comas/Courtesy Reuters). People walk past screens at the bourse in Madrid, as they are reflected on the surfaces of tables (Andrea Comas/Courtesy Reuters).

MILAN – The growth map of the global economy is relatively clear. The U.S. is in a partial recovery, with growth at 1.5 to 2 percent and lagging employment. Europe as a whole is barely above zero growth, with large variations among countries, though with some evidence of painful re-convergence, at least in terms of nominal unit labor costs. China’s growth, meanwhile, is leveling off at 7 percent, with other developing countries preparing for higher interest rates. Read more »

New Zealand Offers Lessons for the U.S. Housing Bubble

by Renewing America Staff Monday, November 18, 2013
New Zealand resident Brett Plumer nails a national flag to his house in Auckland (Bogdan Cristel/Courtesy Reuters). New Zealand resident Brett Plumer nails a national flag to his house in Auckland (Bogdan Cristel/Courtesy Reuters).

The Federal Reserve may have lessons to learn from New Zealand about managing a mortgage market. In an op-ed for Bloomberg, CFR Adjunct Senior Fellow Peter Orszag explains that by imposing limits on high loan-to-value mortgages, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand is helping to manage housing prices.