CFR Presents

Renewing America

Ideas and initiatives for rebuilding American economic strength.

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.

The High Stakes in Regional Trade Talks

by Renewing America Staff Friday, November 15, 2013
European Union chief negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero (left) and U.S. chief negotiator Dan Mullaney (right) address a joint news conference during the second round of EU-US trade negotiations for Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership in Brussels November 15, 2013 (Francois Lenoir/Courtesy Reuters). European Union chief negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero (left) and U.S. chief negotiator Dan Mullaney (right) address a joint news conference during the second round of EU-US trade negotiations for Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership in Brussels November 15, 2013 (Francois Lenoir/Courtesy Reuters).

International trade negotiations are at a crucial stage. The multilateral front, with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its center, is facing a foundational crisis. In a new expert brief, The High Stakes in Regional Trade Talks, Jaime Zabludovsky Kuper and Sergio Gómez Lora explain that the future of international trade, at least in the short and medium term, depends heavily on the outcome of regional agreements such as the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Foreign Student Numbers Growing: The Good News and the Missed Opportunities

by Edward Alden Tuesday, November 12, 2013
A student walks along Boston University's campus in Boston, Massachusetts (Jessica Rinaldi/Courtesy Reuters). A student walks along Boston University's campus in Boston, Massachusetts (Jessica Rinaldi/Courtesy Reuters).

While it is easy to despair at the many failings of the U.S. political process, it is important sometimes to celebrate the amazing resilience of American society. My cause today is the latest annual Open Doors report from the Institute of International Education, which examines foreign students studying at American universities and U.S. students studying abroad. The encouraging news is that last year nearly 820,000 international students attended U.S. colleges and universities, a record high and an increase of 7 percent over the previous year. New enrollments were up 10 per cent. That’s nearly a million smart young people who will either remain in the United States after they graduate and strengthen this country, or return home and bring with them the values and skills they learned at some of the world’s greatest schools. Read more »

Policy Initiative Spotlight: Questioning the Wisdom of Corporate Tax Incentives

by Steven J. Markovich Friday, November 8, 2013
The shuttered General Motors Willow Run Powertrain plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan, June 2012 (Jeff Kowalsky /Courtesy Reuters). The shuttered General Motors Willow Run Powertrain plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan, June 2012 (Jeff Kowalsky /Courtesy Reuters).

Many states and cities offer a variety of tax incentives (credits, exemptions, deductions) to businesses with the aim of spurring growth and job creation, but few carefully analyze the costs and benefits. Some recent research has brought the wisdom of corporate tax breaks into question, and several states are considering reforms to assess the public value of their programs. Read more »

What’s Behind Obama’s Push to Attract Foreign Businesses?

by Rebecca Strauss Wednesday, November 6, 2013
U.S. President Barack Obama at the SelectUSA 2013 Investment Summit (Courtesy Reuters). U.S. President Barack Obama at the SelectUSA 2013 Investment Summit (Courtesy Reuters).

Last week the Obama administration hosted the first-ever national summit showcasing the United States as an attractive place to do business, part of a newish initiative called SelectUSA. The event was sold out. In attendance were hundreds of representatives from foreign companies along with U.S. local and state government officials looking to attract their business. The speaker lineup was stacked to impress. President Obama and the secretaries of Commerce, Treasury, and State all separately graced the podium. Panels were filled with big-time CEOs from companies like Dow, Caterpillar, and Walmart. The event’s message: the United States is “open for business” and the Obama administration is serious about it. Read more »

The Renewing America Interview: Jon Huntsman on the Wisdom of Boosting U.S.-China Economic Ties

by Jonathan Masters Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman (Courtesy Reuters). Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman (Courtesy Reuters).

Later this week the U.S. Department of Commerce will host its inaugural SelectUSA Summit, an annual convention intended to promote overseas investment in the United States. The sold-out, two-day forum will connect international businesses with U.S. economic development leaders at the federal, state, and local levels. With lingering high unemployment in the wake of the financial crisis, the White House has made attracting foreign investment and insourcing jobs a top economic priority. Read more »

What Is Wrong With American Business?

by Edward Alden Friday, October 25, 2013
A street sign for Wall Street hangs in front of the New York Stock Exchange (Lucas Jackson/Courtesy Reuters). A street sign for Wall Street hangs in front of the New York Stock Exchange (Lucas Jackson/Courtesy Reuters).

It was Vladimir Ilyich Lenin,  an astute student of the system he was determined to destroy, who is purported to have said: “The capitalists will sell us the rope by which we will hang them.” After reading the Washington Post story this week on corporate political donations to Republicans, it seems he may have been on to something. Read more »

Student Loans and U.S. Prosperity

by Steven J. Markovich Monday, October 21, 2013
A student walks on the campus of San Francisco State University (Robert Galbraith/Courtesy Reuters). A student walks on the campus of San Francisco State University (Robert Galbraith/Courtesy Reuters).

Sticker shock was rampant among many freshmen in the class of 2017. The annual price of a private four-year university is now edging toward $60,000. As a result, federal student loans will play a key role in allowing millions of students to afford college. However, as CFR Contributing Editor Steven J. Markovich notes in his new Renewing America backgrounder Student Loans and U.S. Prosperity “many graduates are concerned about encountering a weak job market and the consequences that lingering debt may have on their financial futures.”

Washington’s Gridlock and Foreign Investment

by Guest Blogger for Edward Alden Friday, October 18, 2013
A 100 yuan banknote is placed next to $100 banknotes (Petar Kujundzic/Courtesy Reuters). A 100 yuan banknote is placed next to $100 banknotes (Petar Kujundzic/Courtesy Reuters).

Thilo Hanemann is Research Director at the Rhodium Group, an economic research firm based in New York. Jacob Kirkegaard is leader of Rhodium Group’s advanced economies practice and a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Read more »

America the Reckless

by Michael Spence Thursday, October 17, 2013
The statue of Grief and History stands in front of the U.S. Capitol dome in Washington (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters). The statue of Grief and History stands in front of the U.S. Capitol dome in Washington (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters).

MILAN–The world’s developed countries face growth and employment shortfalls, while developing countries are confronting huge challenges in adapting to increasingly volatile capital flows while adjusting their growth patterns to sustain economic development. And yet America’s political dysfunction has come to marginalize these (and other) crucial issues. It is all very difficult to fathom. Read more »