from Renewing America

Morning Brief: Corporate Tax Reform Loses Momentum

President Obama, Vice President Biden, House Speaker Boehner and House Majority Leader Cantor meet in the Presidential Oval Office on July 20, 2011 to discuss the debt ceiling. (White House Handout/Courtesy Reuters)

May 4, 2012

President Obama, Vice President Biden, House Speaker Boehner and House Majority Leader Cantor meet in the Presidential Oval Office on July 20, 2011 to discuss the debt ceiling. (White House Handout/Courtesy Reuters)
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Blog posts represent the views of CFR fellows and staff and not those of CFR, which takes no institutional positions.

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The Financial Times argues that despite a perceived growing consensus among both parties that corporate tax reform would raise U.S. competitiveness, the upcoming election and other fiscal priorities will delay progress. Politicians tend to avoid sensitive issues such as eliminating corporate tax breaks in an election year. Even after votes are cast, corporate tax reform is unlikely to be a priority as policymakers wrangle over the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, and the automatic spending cuts that emerged from last years’ debt ceiling compromise.

Most lawmakers agree corporate tax reform is an important step in improving U.S. global economic competitiveness, but a debate over rate levels and taxes on foreign profits of U.S. multinationals remains unresolved. This CFR backgrounder examines the issue.

Corporate regulation and taxation. Read more from top economists and business experts on solutions for addressing corporate tax reform.

Education and Human Capital

Disabilities Shrank U.S. Labor Force

Since the start of the recession, the U.S. workforce has shrunk; economists estimate a quarter of the 2 percentage point decline in the labor participation rate is due to the rising ranks of disabled (Bloomberg). The number of workers receiving Social Security Disability Insurance has risen 22 percent since December 2007. According to experts, this pattern is typical for recessions: “Impediments to work are compounded for people with disabilities when the economy turns sour and there are simply fewer jobs and greater competition for the jobs that remain.”

New Report Supports Common Core’s Math Curriculum

Education Week reports that William Schmidt, an education professor at Michigan State University, will publically release a study today supporting the new math curriculum of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The research found the new standards to be closely aligned with the best standards of high achievement countries. Researchers also determined that states with standards similar to the proposed CCSS ones tended to have better math scores.

The new report of the CFR Independent Task Force on U.S. Education Reform and National Security highlights the importance of CCSS and asserts that fixing the nation’s underperforming K-12 schools is critical to economic competitiveness and national security.

Education and human capital. Read more from experts discussing ways to improve U.S. education and immigration policies.


Facebook Targets Market Cap of $96 Billion

Facebook’s regulatory filing for its May initial public offering (IPO) has a target valuation of $76 to $96 billion (WSJ). A valuation in this range would raise $11.8 billion for Facebook, and give the leading social network the largest IPO in U.S. history, with a market capitalization similar to established firms such as Amazon, Hewlett-Packard, and McDonald’s. While Facebook touts its growth potential, its growth may be slowing.

Innovation. Read more on how the U.S. capacity to innovate could play a chief role in economic growth.


Californian Farmers Prepare to Battle Bullet Train

California’s High Speed Rail Authority Board certified the final environmental impact report for the initial Merced-to-Fresno section of the planned bullet train, which would link Los Angeles and San Francisco by 2028. The Los Angeles Times expects Central Valley farming interests to battle the project in court, arguing the rail line would seriously disrupt agriculture. A prolonged legal fight could delay the start of construction planned for later this year.

Lawmakers continue to debate the costs and benefits of investment in the U.S. rail network, with high speed rail a key issue. This CFR Backgrounder summarizes the historical development of freight and passenger rail as well as policy concerns and options facing lawmakers.

Infrastructure. Read more on how upgrading the nation’s aging network of roads, bridges, airports, railways, and water systems is essential to maintaining U.S. competitiveness.

The Morning Brief is compiled by Renewing America contributor Steven J. Markovich.

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