NDN Blog

President Obama Announces Nuclear Deal with Iran

This morning, President Obama announced that the United States and its partners (P5 + 1) reached an agreement with Iran on its nuclear program. There will be much punditry and debate. For now, we encourage you to read the President's statement on the deal and this video of his speech.


Backgrounder: The GOP, Trump and Hispanics

With Donald Trump putting the issue of our changing demography front and center in the 2016 Presidential election, we’ve put together some of work in this area to help our community make better sense of it all.


"Donald Trump and the Cattle Car Caucus," Greg Sargent, Washington Post, 7/30/15. 

"Unintended consequences: Could Trump wake sleeping Latino vote?" Carla Marinucci, San Francisco Chronicle, 7/19/15. Marinucci writes on the impact of Trump on the GOP primary, coming from a historical perspective of how the GOP lost Latinos in California for a generation, and interviews Simon on the political fallout for the Republicans. 

"Poll finds Hispanic disapproval of Trump rhetoric on illegal immigrants," Dan Balz and Peyton Craighill, Washington Post, 7/16/15. 

Univision: The Latino Vote, Bendixen & Amandi International for Univision Noticas, 7/16/15. 

"How Durable Is The Democratic Advantage Among Latinos?" Greg Sargent, Washington Post, 7/7/15. Sargent interviews Simon on the Hispanic Vote and potential GOP tickets for 2016.

NDN Materials

Memo: On Immigration Enforcement, The GOP's Decade of Blocking Sensible Reform, Simon Rosenberg, 7/21/15.

Hispanic Uninsured Rate Plummets, Millions Gain Coverage, Corey Cantor, 7/15/15.

"Gallup: 1/4th of Hispanics adults gained insurance in the past 18 months thanks to the ACA," Simon Rosenberg, 7/10/15. 

NDN Memo on "Hispanic Unemployment Rate Bushes vs. Obama/Clinton," Corey Cantor, 7/7/15. As in the broader population, for Hispanics things have gotten far better under recent Democrats and far worse under recent Republicans.  

"The GOP's Hispanic Problem - The Hole Is Very Deep,"Simon Rosenberg, 5/5/15. While the GOP may be able to put a promising candidate on the ticket in 2016, the hole they've dug with Hispanic voters is very deep, and will be hard to dig out of next year.

"The State of Immigration in America," Simon Rosenberg, MSNBC, 01/18/15. After 50 years, it is time to declare Hispanic immigration into the US a success? 

""Thoughts on the New ICE Enforcement and Removals Report," 12/19/14. A  report released by ICE contains another year of data showing how Obama era policies have made our immigration system better and border safer.

"The Battle over Immigration Action is Just Beginning," Simon Rosenberg and David Leopold, MSNBC, 11/19/14.  Simon and David write about the steps that President Obama took to improve the US immigration system and the legal battles ahead.  

NDN Report on Central American Migrants, Obama Border/Immigration Enforcement Record, 7/18/14. NDN/NPI's report finds that the Obama Administration has made the border safer, the immigration system better while dramatically expanding trade with Mexico.  

Related Issues

"NDN Offers a Path Forward on Puerto Rico," Simon Rosenberg and Rob Shapiro, Fusion/Univision, 7/8/15. We tried to look beyond the short-term, limited fiscal measures at hand, and towards a longer term strategy for the Island that can help reverse its current, economic “death spiral.” 

"A New Day for the United States and Cuba," Simon Rosenberg, 12/17/14. The Obama Administration’s historic policy changes towards Cuba will be good for the US, the Cuban people and for the hemisphere.  

Classic Articles

""Forward, or Backward?" My Letras Libres Article on The Choice America Faces," Simon Rosenberg, Letras Libres, 10/25/12. The English language version of my major essay about the 2012 elections which originally appeared in the October issue of the Mexico City based Spanish language journal, Letras Libres.

"On Obama, Race, and the End of the Southern Strategy," Simon Rosenberg, Huffington Post, 1/8/08. Liberating American politics from the pernicious era of the Southern Strategy should be one the highest strategic priorities for left-of-center politics.

"The 50 Year Strategy: A New Progressive Era (No, Really!)" Simon Rosenberg and Peter Leyden, Mother Jones, 11/07. The article lays out a grand strategy for how today's Democrats could build a lasting electoral majority and today's progressives could seize the new media, build off new constituencies like Hispanics and the millennial generation, and solve the urgent governing challenges of our times.

Hispanic Unemployment Rate Bushes vs. Obama/Clinton

Having just finished a study looking at the economic performance of the last two Democratic and Republican Presidencies, we decided to take a similar look at how a particular group we have long studied, Hispanics in the United States, fared over the past generation.

As in the broader population, for Hispanics things have gotten far better under recent Democrats and far worse under recent Republicans. Using a very simple economic measure, the unemployment rate among Hispanics, the contrast is very clear:

H.W. Bush: Jan 1989 (8.6%), Jan 1993 (11.3%)
Clinton: Jan 1993 (11.3%), Jan 2001 (5.8%)
Bush: Jan 2001 (5.8%) Jan 2009 (10.1%)
Obama: Jan 2009 (10.1%) June 2015 (6.6%)

In both Bush Presidencies, the net effect of their policies was that millions of Hispanics lost their jobs. In both the Clinton and Obama Presidencies, millions of Hispanics gained jobs.

Admittedly, this is a simple analysis and we will be returning to this again in the coming months. We also include some graphs we think will be helpful in gaining a deeper understanding of the data. You can find a PDF version of this memo below as well.

Source for Data is Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Unemployment during the Great Recession and Recovery

Longer Term Looks at Hispanic Unemployment


Comparisons between Presidents


The Financial Troubles in Greece and Puerto Rico

In light of the major economic events occuring over the weekend in Greece and Puerto Rico, we compiled our recent works on these topics for use in the coming days.

Greece – Rob Shapiro has assessed the financial circumstances in Greece in a recent report, "How Greece Could Short-Circuit the U.S. Expansion." He says in part: "This crisis has unfolded in fits and starts for a long time, and the EU and the European Central Bank (ECB) have spent hundreds of billions of Euros trying to support those bond markets and strengthen the banking system. No one knows if it will be enough to stave off the worst-case scenario. But if a genuine crisis unfolds over the next month or so, everyone does know that European voters will never accept another bank bailout. And if Europe’s economy falls into a tailspin, the ECB will have little room to support and stabilize it by cutting interest rates."

Puetro Rico – Last fall, NDN was among the first organizations to raise the alarm bell about Puerto Rico, publishing a series of reports/essays and participating in meetings inside the Administration and on the Hill. We released a paper tackling Puerto Ricos' debt crisis: "To Reclaim Prosperity, Puetro Rico Should Adapt Ireland's Model for Modernization." Afterwards, Simon and Rob published additional analysis, writing an op-ed in Fusion/Univision (in both English and Spanish) and a follow-up op-ed in Roll Call.

NDN in the News – Summer 2015

Over the past few weeks, NDN has been featured in some of the nation’s biggest newspapers on a range of issues, including the debate over TPA and the President’s trade agenda, income inequality, the Latino Electorate, the 2016 Presidential Campaign, and more. Be sure to check back periodically as will be updating this with our latest press:

The Debate over the President's trade agenda:

2016 and Beyond

Other Press: 


Wages Rising in the US

This new data, highlighted by Matt Yglesias of Vox, is extremely important to describing one of the greatest challenges of the modern political era: wage stagnation. After many years in which the wages of the median worker barely moved, over the past 12 months we are finally seeing substantial gains that will be felt in the pockets of many American families.

We will have much more to say on this topic, but note that this chart seems to accompany the decrease in the unemployment rate. That means in addition to outperforming their GOP counterparts, the Democratic Presidents creating more jobs and bringing down deficits, wages have grown in both the Clinton and Obama Eras. 

Investing More, Smarter in Our Infrastructure

This week, the House of Representatives passed another extension in a series of short-term patches for the Highway Trust Fund. With Senate consent money will continue to flow, but the continued short extensions continue to damage America’s long-term competitiveness. The lack of a long-term investment plan delays on-going projects and does not give policymakers the opportunity to positively shape America’s infrastructure future.

More than seven years ago, then NDN Fellow Michael Moynihan wrote a paper entitled, “Investing in Our Common Future: U.S. Infrastructure.” This 2007 piece holds up incredibly well and focuses on the history of U.S. investment as well as the challenges we face in the 21st century for pulling together the politic-will to fund many of these projects. Do note that this piece was written before the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (“Stimulus”) was passed in 2009 as well as the drastic budget cuts that followed after debt-ceiling negotiations in 2011. Still, many of the proposals Moynihan argues for have yet to see passage or implementation in federal policy as of May 2015.

An excerpt:

“It is not just a matter of finding the funds to invest in upgrading our nation’s infrastructure, although the American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that raising America’s current overall infrastructure grade from a D to a B will cost $1.6 trillion. Just as important — if not more so — is restoring our national and political will to invest in a shared future. Each generation inherits a responsibility not only to maintain existing infrastructure but also to make the long-term investments vital to future economic growth. Today, with more wealth at America’s disposal than ever before, we are failing to make these commitments.

It was not always this way. Earlier generations faced far more pressing demands and found a way not only to sustain but also to expand the country’s roads, bridges, ports and schools. From groundbreaking investments such as universal education in the 19th century and the land grant schools that propelled advances in agriculture and technology, to the GI Bill that opened up college to working class Americans, to the National Highway System that connected a sprawling country, America has grown great on the strength of its national purpose. President John Kennedy’s pledge to send a man to the moon within a decade and our country’s success in doing so showed that America could lead the world in technology. And as recently as the 1990s, American leadership in developing information technologies and the Internet opened new markets and vistas for people everywhere. These investments were not inexpensive. But they paid for themselves many times over, creating the world’s wealthiest society.

Yet as we enter the 21st century, that sense of national purpose and pride, along with leadership in transportation, communications and education, all traditional hallmarks of American know-how, has diminished, as evidenced by our crumbling infrastructure. It is not a matter of whether we can afford the investments. Rather, it is a question of whether we can afford not to make them, given the key role that they play in economic growth and our nation’s daily life…”

You can read the rest of his paper here.

Backgrounder: Keeping the Internet Open and Free

For almost a decade NDN has been advancing the idea that the US governement needs to do more to ensure that the Internet stays open and free in an era of great opportunity and challenge.  As Congress takes up the issue of Internet governance this week, we wanted to share with you some of the highlights of our work in this area over the years: 

  • "The Digital Economy and Trade: A 21st Century Leadership Imperative," USTR's Amb. Robert Holleyman II, May 1, 2015. In an important policy speech at NDN, Deputy USTR Holleyman laid out the Obama Administration's negotiating principles for its 21st century trade agreements, and focused on the future of the Internet. 
  • Who Controls the Future of the Internet? Simon Rosenberg, February 6, 2015, US News & World Report. Getting the IANA transfer right is one of the most important things our government will do in 2015, and will be a test of our system.
  • Fighting to Keep The Internet Open and Free, October 18th, 2014 Jonathan Spalter and Simon Rosenberg, The Hill. Simon and Jon Spalter offer up a whole of government approach to keeping the Internet open and free in the years ahead. 
  • The Liberal Order Needs An Upgrade, September 23rd, 2014, U.S. News. Like an old building needing an upgrade, the liberal international order, now almost 70 years old, needs to go through a period of renewal and reform.  
  • Video: The Age of Possibility,  April 29th, 2011, Tisch College, Tufts University. Simon Rosenberg explores the notion that we are entering an era of unprecedented opportunity and possibility, and that more is possible today for the people of the world than ever before
  • A Laptop in Every Backpack, Simon Rosenberg and Alec Ross, NDN, May 1st, 2007. In a prescient paper, Simon and Alec argue for that America needs to put a laptop in every backpack of every child. This paper contains one of the earliest articulations of what became Secretary Clinton's "Internet Freedom" agenda. 

Op-Ed: Time for Congress to Embrace the Clean Power Plan

This article originally appeared in the Hill on May 7, 2015.  


In the early days of the 2016 race, climate change is already emerging as a divisive issue: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) argues that the science on climate change isn’t in. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), whose state is at great risk from rising sea levels, claims to not be a scientist to avoid culpability on the issue. Hillary Clinton wants to protect the Obama administration’s efforts on climate, while Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) believes they haven’t gone far enough. Meanwhile in Congress, Republican lawmakers have been busy attacking the EPA’s proposed new rules that aim to reduce U.S. carbon emissions—the Clean Power Plan. Instead of working to destabilize and nullify the plan, Congress should embrace the opportunity and help states prepare.

The Clean Power Plan aims to encourage innovation by allowing states to meet carbon reduction targets through various means, including by increasing energy efficiency; investing more in states’ clean energy portfolio; switching from higher carbon emitting power sources to lower-emitters like natural gas; upgrading infrastructure on older power plants to reduce emissions; and incentivizing collaboration between states to develop further reduction plans. This plan would make up the core of the Obama administration’s efforts to cut carbon emissions by 26 – 28 percent by 2025.

Congress should throw its support behind the EPA’s flexible, market-based climate proposal, as there are many convincing reasons to back the rules. The Clean Power Plan encourages states to invest in growing renewable energy industries, and implementing the plan will show America is a serious player on the international stage. Moreover, voters have been shown to support large-scale efforts to mitigate climate change.

According to a new ABC News poll, 59 percent of Americans want the next president to be one who favors government action to address climate change. 72 percent of Americans who are likely to vote in 2016 support an international agreement to cut greenhouse gases. Another recent poll from Stanford University dispels the myth that Republicans do not support fighting climate change: 48 percent of Republicans polled would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports fighting climate change, and 71 percent of those polled believe that failing to reduce carbon emissions will be an enormous problem in the long run. Among young voters, the causes of climate change are a settled issue. In addition, Americans across the political spectrum are very supportive of clean energy sources like solar, wind, and natural gas that could blunt harsher climate change. Congress should heed these voices when considering their stance on the new regulations.

Beyond being a solution to a problem many voters are worried about, the Clean Power Plan also offers states an opportunity to tap into a growing and exciting industry. While clean energy is no panacea, it creates new jobs, has the potential to bring cheaper energy prices, and has a smaller impact on the environment. Solar panel installations were at a record high in 2014 of 6.2 gigawatts, and look to be growing in the years ahead. The job market for solar has grown by 86 percent over the past five years to about 174,000 workers and could grow to over 210,000 at the end of 2015. Wind energy growth has been strong over the past decade, and is the largest non-hydro renewable generator of electricity. Over the past ten years, the costs of wind and solar have fallen greatly, and they are now more competitive with traditional forms of energy. A recent report by the NRDC also predicts the Clean Power Plan could result in 224,000 jobs by 2020.

Implementing the Clean Power Plan also allows America to re-claim its mantel of climate leadership on the international stage. After the U.S. failed to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, the Obama Administration has put the U.S. back in the driver’s seat. The Clean Power Plan nicely compliments America’s 2014 bilateral agreement with China, which constrained their future carbon emissions for the first time, and the Obama Administration’s pledge to cut carbon emissions from the federal government by 40 percent by 2025. These moves in tandem show aggressive leadership and give the U.S. international credibility in the lead up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Paris this December. We are in a better position to hold other countries accountable in submitting their carbon emission reduction plans, and more importantly live up to our own commitments over the next decade and onwards.

The Clean Power Plan is a strong framework that paves the way for further investment in clean energy, will improve standing abroad, reduce carbon emissions, and help solve a problem that many voters deem alarming. Instead of re-litigating old battles, Congress and our next president should embrace this opportunity to invest in the future of America’s energy economy.

Backgrounder: The President's Trade Agenda

As the debate on the President's trade agenda in Washington continues, we wanted to have one place to share all background resources for those who wish to get caught up. We hope you find these reports and pieces to be helpful:

Obama Administration Materials

  • Report: "Standing Up for the Environment: Trade for a Greener World," USTR, 5/21/15. 
  • Full Speech: "The World Wants What America Makes," Secretary John Kerry in Renton, Washington, 5/19/15. 
  • Full Speech: "An Open and Secure Internet: We Must Have Both," Secretary John Kerry in Seoul, Korea, 5/18/15.  
  • Blog: "Seizing Strategic Opportunity Through Trade", Caroline Atkinson, 5/7/15. 
  • Full Speech: "The Digital Economy and Trade: A 21st Leadership Imperative," Deputy USTR Robert Holleyman at NDN, 5/1/15.
  • Fact Sheet: "The Digital Dozen," USTR, 5/1/15.
  • Report: "The Economic Benefits of Trade," White House Council of Economic Advisors, 5/1/15.
  • Report: "The United States of Trade," USTR and U.S. Department of Commerce, 5/1/15. 
  • Transcript: "U.S. Trade Negotiations Aim to Raise Labor and Environmental Standards," Conversation with USTR Michael Froman at Council on Foreign Relations, 06/14/14.

The Path Forward

Noteworthy Op-Eds/Articles/Reports:

Other Useful Materials

Materials from NDN

NDN in the Press

Additional Important Websites

 If there are other articles you think should be added, email me at ccantor@ndn.org. We will update this regularly to include the latest information. 

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