The Bernard L. Schwartz Initiative on Economic Policy
The Bernard L. Schwartz Initiative on American Economic Policy is committed to advancing an agenda for economic growth and national prosperity. The initiative’s work is primarily dedicated to proposing and advancing new ideas that foster long-term U.S. growth and job creation. These ideas focus on ways to enhance America’s global competitiveness by making investments in innovation, infrastructure, and pro-business policies. In support of its mission, the initiative develops and advocates policy proposals, and periodically hosts events and briefings for key decision makers.
Do transportation projects ever come in on budget? Rarely. In fact, 9 out of 10 cost more than expected. And when one project goes over budget, it shrinks the pot of money available for improvements elsewhere. At a time when America must compete to attract business, and deferred maintenance is causing headaches in our communities, we must learn how to complete more infrastructure upgrades with fewer dollars spent. Our new proposal sets forth commonsense changes to federal infrastructure programs that would prevent cost overruns and allow us to build more with less.
This new report highlights the “top plays” that China uses to protect its favored firms from U.S. import competition. These include “enhancing performance” through illegal subsidies, “stealing the play” by robbing valuable American ideas, and “running out the clock” on China’s long-promised market reforms. To counter China’s playbook, American needs a new China game plan that goes beyond countering unfair currency manipulation—a plan that will use aggressive trade enforcement, stricter rules and strong allies to help America’s exporters and workers go on offense and score more business in China’ lucrative and growing market. INFOGRAPHIC
In the age of Netflix, no one hires a VCR repairman, and travel agents, typists, and telemarketers are quickly becoming jobs of the past. In “Priming Today’s Workers for Tomorrow’s Jobs,” we explain how small adjustments to Workforce Investment Act programs can ensure our training efforts equip workers with up-to-date skills for growing industries. As we look to set unemployed workers on promising career paths, we must bring federal workforce training into the 21st century. Current training programs are preparing men and women for today’s jobs, but not necessarily tomorrow’s. And without changes to ensure that the programs we’re funding focus on future labor market demands, some training graduates may be left out in the cold.
In Third Way & the Breakthrough Institute’s new report, “Manufacturing Growth,” we argue that manufacturing isn’t dying, it’s changing. And it’s still vital to American job creation and prosperity. The new manufacturing doesn’t take place on your father’s factory floor. Instead of operating a machine press, today’s manufacturing worker needs a variety of new skills to engage in high-tech processes in industries from aerospace to biotech. These activities create good jobs, drive innovation, and make an economy globally competitive. Other nations have robust pro-manufacturing policies, and as our report shows, it’s time for the U.S. to catch up.
America faces two serious, competing financing challenges: a $2.2 trillion infrastructure shortfall that is a drag on competitiveness and job creation, and a $1.5 trillion annual budget deficit that hinders our ability to make the strategic investments necessary for economic growth. “Five Reasons Why BUILD is Better,” explains how the financing mechanism in the BUILD Act can address both by stretching taxpayer dollars to tap a potential $1 trillion in private money to upgrade our nation’s infrastructure.
America’s economic future will hinge on how fast and well we move people, goods, power, ideas. The American Society of Civil Engineers has awarded the nation’s overall infrastructure a grade of D, and there is significant concern that it cannot adequately support future growth. The need to upgrade our infrastructure is clear, but the cost of doing so will be high and the system Congress uses to finance projects is often too political and wasteful. By reforming a politicized system, leveraging private capital, and enhancing funding discipline, a National Infrastructure Bank will support job creating investments that lay a foundation for enduring economic growth. The National Infrastructure Bank would accomplish its mission by using taxpayer funds to leverage private infrastructure investment through loans, guarantees, and other financial tools. Projects would be selected by an independent board based on merit and demonstrated need as determined by criteria including economic benefit, job creation, and sustainability.