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Council on Foreign Relations State and Local Officials Bulletin
April 2012

Spotlight on State Treasurer of North Carolina Janet Cowell

Janet Cowell, state treasurer of North Carolina, is working to ensure that her state rebounds from the manufacturing decline that has affected much of the United States' labor force. Treasurer Cowell is at the forefront of economic development in North Carolina, maintaining conservative debt management practices, and creating solid economic development policies that keep North Carolina in secure financial standing. Listen to her discuss the effect the manufacturing decline has had on the state and the way North Carolina is moving forward.

Bridging Politics to Build Roads

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(Young/Courtesy Reuters)

 

Transcending partisan politics, in this new CFR Policy Innovation Memorandum, Scott Thomasson looks at congressional roadblocks preventing infrastructure investment and offers pragmatic solutions for how the United States can move forward. As a way to increase private investment for infrastructure projects, he recommends that Congress removes the regulatory shackles that prevent states from entering into innovative financing arrangements. He advocates greater flexibility for pursuing alternative financing options, a streamlined regulatory approvals system, and a robust federal financing program.

 

To Frack, Or Not To Frack

In this New York Times panel, CFR's Michael Levi debates the wisdom of fracking for natural gas. Levi makes the case that arguments over fracking are not being waged in the halls of Washington, but are being fought and won in local communities. He posits that while natural gas is doing great things for the climate right now, looking forward we will run into problems if necessary and transparent legislations are not put in place. Watch the Video »

Rising Prices at the Pump--Who Is To Blame?

View the Energy, Security, and Climate blog where CFR experts examine the science and foreign policy behind climate change, energy, and nuclear security. Before you weigh in on who is to blame for the rising price of gas, read CFR Fellow for Energy and National Security Blake Clayton's Foreign Affairs piece, "In Defense of Oil Speculators." Join the Conversation »

"Volcker Rule" Won't Solve the Problem

CFR Director of International Economics Benn Steil argues that to avoid another crisis, the United States needs a better approach to bank regulatory reform. The rule, originally proposed by former U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, which would ban proprietary trading by commercial banks, fails to address the "heart of the problem that fueled the financial crisis: excessive debt, particularly of the short-term variety." According to Steil, the "Volcker rule" misdiagnoses the risks banks pose to the financial system and instead advocates for controls on bank leverage. Read more »