from Renewing America

Morning Brief: Remaking the U.S. Tax Code

February 27, 2012

Blog Post
Blog posts represent the views of CFR fellows and staff and not those of CFR, which takes no institutional positions.

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In the Financial Times, former U.S. Treasury Secretary and Director of the National Economic Council Lawrence Summers writes that 2013 is the year the U.S. tax code should undergo a major overhaul. "The Simpson-Bowles proposal for eliminating all tax expenditures and radically reducing tax rates provides an excellent starting point for discussion," he says.

Debt and Deficits

Obama's Fiscal Battle

U.S. President Obama's failure to endorse the findings of the Bowles-Simpson deficit commission in December 2010 not only undercut the promise of bipartisanship central to his 2008 campaign, writes Jackie Calmes for the New York Times, but may demonstrate a lack of leadership on one of the nation's biggest problems.

The Obama administration’s 2013 budget plan has revived debate over the sustainability of U.S. spending. This CFR Backgrounder outlines the competing policy paths on fiscal reforms and the global consequences for failing to bring down U.S. debt.

Debt and deficits. Read more from experts on the challenges in reducing U.S. debt.

Education and Human Capital

Controversy Over Teacher Ratings

The release of evaluations for some 18,000 New York City public school teachers has provided fresh grist for the national education reform debate. Advocates says the information provides an essential tool to assess teacher effectiveness (WSJ), while opponents, including teachers unions, fear the data has the potential to be misconstrued.

Education and human capital. An education system beset by falling student performance and a flawed immigration system threaten U.S. capacity to develop a competitive workforce. Experts spell out ways of improving education and immigration policies.

Innovation

Bell Labs and the U.S. Innovation Pedigree

Bell Laboratories, the former R&D subsidiary of AT&T, should serve as a model for U.S. innovation today, writes Jon Gertner for the New York Times. For much of the 20th century, Bell Labs was "the most innovative scientific organization in the world." Unlike Facebook's iterative strategy of "move fast and break things," Bell Labs embraced a conservative approach that "introduced new products and services slowly, and rarely cheaply."

Innovation. In the face of robust challenges from emerging markets such as India, Brazil, and China, the U.S. capacity to innovate could play a chief role in economic growth.

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