Economic Crisis

Globalization Initiative

NDN's Globalization Initiative was established to promote economic growth and restore broad-based prosperity in our globalized economy. Chaired by Dr. Robert Shapiro, Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs under President Bill Clinton, the program works to address the structural changes affecting the American and global economies. NDN argues that a "lost decade," marked by declining household incomes, remains the most important factor in the American economy and politics.

Our agenda for addressing the structural changes inherent in the era of globalization includes three key components: modernizing our healthcare and energy policies, investing in 21st century skills and infrastructure, and accelerating innovation across the economy. NDN also continues to play a major role in the debate over how to best manage the Great Recession and fosters dialogue around renewing the national consensus on global economic liberalization.


Papers and Memos

A New, Progressive Economic Strategy for America released 5/11: By Robert J. Shapiro
Written over a series of weeks in April 2010, this collection of four pieces lays out a new economic strategy for America that creates broad-based prosperity and addresses the America's great economic challenges in the era of globalization.

 
Building on recent struggles in Congress to do more for the economy than pass the extension of unemployment insurance, NDN outlines a political and policy framework to take steps in 2010 that promote near-term job creation and economic growth.

 
In this white paper, Globalization Initiative Deputy Policy Director Jake Berliner describes the rise of new economic powers and the challenges and opportunities they are presenting the American and global economies.

 
Keeping the Focus on the Struggle of Everyday People: 2010 Edition 1/26/10: By Simon Rosenberg
This memo argues that the nation would benefit from a shift to economic rhetoric and policy geared towards the struggle of everyday Americans. 
Simon argues that the second generation Obama narrative must be a strategic response to the most significant transformation taking place in the world today, what Fareed Zakaria has called the “rise of the rest.” While the true scope of this transformation is only really becoming apparent now, it leaves our new President with the historic opportunity, and tremendous responsibility, to craft a comprehensive strategic response to this global “new politics” of the 21st century.
 
A Lost Decade for Everyday Americans 12/17/09:  By Jake Berliner
In this paper, Jake Berliner, Deputy Policy Director of NDN's Globalization Initiative, argues that everyday Americans are at the end of a “lost decade” and explains the still misunderstood causes of the virulence of the recession.

The Key to the Fall Debate: Staying Focused on the Economy 9/03/09: By Simon Rosenberg
The last few months have not been good ones for Democrats, but there is a road map for how they can get back on track, and it revolves around staying relentlessly focused on the economy and the struggle of every day people.
 
A Stimulus for the Long Run 11/14/08: By Simon Rosenberg and Robert J. Shapiro
Congress and President-elect Obama can use the stimulus not only to create more jobs, but to do so in ways that will drive the development of a 21st century economic infrastructure.

This narrative setting essay argues that leaders must do more to staunch the foreclosure crisis, which was at the heart of the financial meltdown.

The Idea-Based Economy and Globalization 1/23/08: By Robert J. Shapiro
U.S. companies and workers lead the world in developing and applying new intellectual property, a critical advantage in innovation that policymakers should seek to advance in the age of globalization.

Investing in Our Common Future: U.S. Infrastructure 11/13/07: By Michael Moynihan
Michael Moynihan looks at the current state of public investment in infrastructure and proposes a set of measures to restore our national political will and improve funding mechanisms to rebuild and advance U.S. infrastructure.

This presentation details the results of extensive polling conducted by NDN and Benenson Strategy Group in October of 2007 on the American public's opinions about globalization and the changing economy.

NDN Poll: Americans’ Views of the Present and Future Economy - Anxiety and Opportunity 11/6/07: By Pete Brodnitz
NDN, a progressive think tank and advocacy organization, completed a national survey on the economy and globalization on October 15th. This memo is the second of two memos outlining key findings and analysis from the poll.

NDN Poll: Clamoring for Change, Persistent Pessimism, Democrats Dominating on Economic Issues
11/2/07: By Pete Brodnitz
NDN, a progressive think tank and advocacy organization, completed a national survey on the economy and globalization on October 15th. This is the first of two memos outlining key findings and analysis from the poll.

Tapping the Resources of America’s Community Colleges: 7/26/07: By Robert J. Shapiro
Young Americans are increasingly adept at working with computers, but many American workers still lack those skills. Here, we propose a direct new approach to giving U.S. workers the opportunity to develop those skills.

We can address the challenges of the 21st century economy without sacrificing the benefits of globalization and technological advance, principally by expanding public investments in critical areas and reforming health care and energy policies.
 
A Laptop in Every Backpack 5/1/07: By Simon Rosenberg
We believe that America needs to put a laptop in every backpack of every child. We need to commit to a date and grade certain: we suggest 2010 for every sixth grader.
 
Voters Deliver a Mandate for a New Economic Strategy 11/10/06: By Simon Rosenberg
The American people want the new Democratic majorities in the House and Senate to focus and pursue an aggressive strategy to help them and their families get ahead.
 
Crafting a Better CAFTA 6/9/05: By Simon Rosenberg
We believe that an agreement with Central America is so important to how Americans approach the 21st century that we must commit ourselves to help negotiate and pass a better CAFTA.

Major Events

Growing the Next Economy 12/7/11
On Wednesday, December 7th, NDN hosted the Director of Multi-State Initiatives in the Office of Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber and Karl Agne, a partner at GBA Strategies, for a lunchtime discussion about bottom up economic growth, accelerating the ideas that work, and creating the Next Economy. Joining us were 

A Look at Current Global & Domestic Economic Challenges 7/26/11
On Tuesday, July 26th NDN hosted a morning conversation about the economic challenges facing America and the world featuring views from the United States Senate, House and the British House of Commons.

Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco J Sanchez at NDN 4/26/11
On Tuesday, April 26, NDN hosted Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco J Sanchez. Sanchez was joined by NDN Globalization Initiative Chair and former Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs Dr. Robert Shapiro.

National Economic Council Deputy Director Jason Furman on Winning the Future 2/22/11
Following the release of the President's budget, Jason Furman, the Principal Deputy Director of the National Economic Council joined NDN for a discussion of the budget, the economy, and the President's strategy to make America competitive in the global economy of the 21st century.

Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs Robert Hormats on Global Economic Challenges 11/15/10
On November 15, NDN hosted Under Secretary of State for Economic, Energy, and Agricultural Affairs Robert Hormats for an important address on global economic challenges.

US Ambassador to the OECD Karen Kornbluh on Jobs for the Future 7/27/10
On July 27, NDN hosted the United States' Ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Karen Kornbluh. Ambassador Kornbluh, who previously served as Senator Barack Obama's Policy Director and as Deputy Chief of Staff at the Treasury Department, discussed a wide range of issues in creating "Growth and Jobs for the Future," from youth unemployment, to innovation, to U.S. engagement at the OECD.

On Wednesday, June 16, NDN hosted a speech by Congressman Ron Kind (WI-3), Vice-Chair of the New Democrat Coalition and Co-Chair of the NDC Task Force on Innovation and Competitiveness. Kind spoke about the value of innovation to the American economy and the recently released New Dem Agenda for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Kind was joined by NDN President Simon Rosenberg.

Fred Hochberg, Chairman and President of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, Speaks at NDN. 6/10/10
On June 10 NDN hosted a speech from the Chairman and President of the Export-Import Bank, Fred Hochberg, on the National Export Initiative and the work of the Export-Import Bank. NDN Globalization Initiative Chair Dr. Robert Shapiro moderated a discussion and Q&A following the Chairman's remarks.

Senator Mark Warner on Economic Competitiveness and Innovation 3/18/10
On Thursday, March 18, Senator Mark Warner joined NDN to address America's economic competitiveness in a rapidly changing global economy. He discussed the role of innovation in creating prosperity and offered his perspective on the Senate's work to craft a new economic strategy for America, which includes reforming the nation's health care and financial sectors.

FCIC Chairman Phil Angelides on “Examining Our Financial Past to Secure Our Economic Future” 2/2/10
On Tuesday, February 2, NDN hosted an address from Phil Angelides, Chairman of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. Formerly the Treasurer of the State of California, Mr. Angelides has been charged by Congress to lead the effort examining the causes of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. He discussed the commission's work, which began in earnest in February with much anticipated hearings. NDN Globalization Initiative Chair Dr. Robert Shapiro introduced Mr. Angelides and opened the event with contextual remarks.

Blogs

Visit the Globalization Initiative blog for more of our ongoing work.

Visit Globalization Initiative Chair Robert Shapiro's blog.

Visit Globalization Initiative Deputy Policy Director Jake Berliner's blog.

The Globalization Initiative was established to promote economic growth and restore broad-based prosperity in our globalized economy, with a focus on modernizing economic policy, investing in workers and students, and accelerating innovation.

First Priority Is to Set Priorities

As President-elect Barack Obama turns to the enormous challenges facing the nation, his first priority will be to set his priorities. Already, there are more urgent problems than any president could tackle successfully in a single term, and even more will almost certainly emerge. Moreover, he now will have to lead in ways he did not have to as candidate, by taking real and contentious actions. His historic, landslide election will give him greater, initial political capital than any president since Ronald Reagan. Even so, capital gets spent, and a president’s power and influence are finite, so he will have to choose precisely where he intends to focus all that capital, power and influence.

The lead items on his domestic agenda must be the nation’s financial and economic crisis. That will require, first, steps to slow housing foreclosures. He has pledged to initiate a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures, but that would be only a first, modest step. He also could also create a new fund to lend tide-over funds to homeowners facing foreclosure after the 90 days are up, and while Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac work out a responsible plan for them to renegotiate the terms and interest rates on the mortgages of homeowners in distress. He also can help banks get credit flowing again with a temporary, reduced tax rate on an estimated $700 billion in profits now held abroad by the foreign subsidiaries of American companies.

That step also could provide a measure of stimulus for an economy currently entering what is likely to be a long, nasty recession, and addressing the recession also must be one of President Obama’s first priorities. Tax rebates won’t work, since most Americans would most likely save any new checks rather than spend them. So Washington will have to jumpstart the nation’s additional spending, with a new spending package of $200 billion to $250 billion. And President Obama should focus most of it on the long-term investments he called for during the campaign, including grants to digitize health care records and provide access to computer training for current workers, and new supports to modernize the electricity grid and accelerate the development and spread of alternative energy. On top of that – and grants to cash-strapped states so they can avoid large cuts in their Medicaid programs and their workforces – the new president should focus the infrastructure piece of his stimulus on creating a national infrastructure financing bank and initiating new commitments for low-polluting light rail systems in major metropolitan areas.

The president will also hear demands and pleas for a new regulatory framework for the financial sector. That task is clearly a necessary and urgent one, but getting it right will be a long, complex process. His best move would be to create a national, expert commission with a mandate to figure it out over the next six months and report back to the nation.

The president’s serious priority-setting can only really begin once he addresses those emergencies – and it won’t be easy. The stimulus measures can be the first steps toward meeting his pledge to help build a more energy-efficient and climate-friendly economy. And since he will have to choose, the rest of that agenda should probably take lower priority than health care reform. One reason is that while the recession will cut energy prices and energy use with no help from Washington, for at least a time, it will only worsen out health care problems. The recession will further increase the numbers of people without coverage, perhaps by millions, without making a dent in the steady, sharp increases in health care costs that will continue to cut into jobs and wages. And any further delay will only make it all worse. It’s time to carry out his plans to make coverage much more nearly universal, and tie those extensions to a hard-nosed program of cost controls that will require hospitals and clinics to adopt the best practices of the country’s most cost efficient medical centers.

This will leave President Obama with plenty to tackle in the second half of his term. That can be the time to take further steps to help make America more climate friendly and energy efficient. It also has to be the time to build on the cost-control lessons from health care reform and finally address the serious and treacherous business of reforming Medicare and other entitlement spending for tens of millions of Baby Boomers.

And if President Obama can make real progress in these priority areas over his first term, it will almost certainly earn him an even bigger national landslide for a second term. 

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