Blog Background

Basic Brief

Basic Brief

A very brief, very high level introduction to the topic area.

An invitation to engage with the Briefing Book, with explicit requests to provide feedback; this must be very clear as to the mechanisms for feedback, and open ended as to the kinds of feedback needed.

Current State with Background

How we got here

It's important that community members understand the history of a particular Priority in the US, including the stakeholders, meaningful regulatory/legislative factors, perspectives, and comparison to other countries. This section must give context for how we got where we are now, and/or the statistics that are pertinent (in the case of Infrastructure, this might include miles of road/highway, telecom details, and financial factors; in Education, it might include the number of children educated, completion rates, and metric details).

The popout below should include pertinent statistics about the area - not unlike the list at the beginning of Harper's.

Are you onboard? Join the movement:

Who are the stakeholders?

Those who impact, and are impacted by, problems and solutions

This section will provide a very brief summary of the major groups who are stakeholders in this Priority area.


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Federal Government

The Federal Government drives the very high level conversation in Education (for example). Because some funding at the local level is driven by governmental programs, engagement at the federal level is essential. Further, the Federal Government is instrumental in legislation driving local programming through programs such as No Child Left Behind.

State Government

Similarly to the scenario described at the Federal level, state Boards of Education drive funding and educational programming.

Local Government

Unfortunately for many students, the rubber hits the road at the local level - municipalities are responsible for ensuring appropriate educational experience for local students. They are also responsible for complying with state and federal regulations, often with woefully insufficient funding.

What's at stake?

Bringing jobs back home

95% of the world’s customers and 80% of total purchasing power is overseas. A “Fortress America” approach to the economy just isn’t viable – and never has been. Our future prosperity is inexorably tied to the degree we can tap into the global markets. Already 38 million Americans are in jobs related to international trade – that’s one in every five. This number must grow – in fact increasing our role in the international economy is the key to ensuring future generations have the economic opportunities they deserve. Our future prosperity depends on leveling the playing field for U.S. businesses and making sure we reestablish leadership in delivering the high value added products and services the world needs. This isn’t just the path to job growth, but what will foster the higher paying, exciting careers our citizens need to realize the American Dream. If we get this right it won’t trigger the “race to the bottom” in earnings and working conditions that many understandably fear, but to a better and more stable world.

What's holding up progress?

We face two fundamental challenges to progress on trade. First, our ability and commitment to making American trade competitiveness a top national priority. Our governance process has been fine-tuned to address the narrow interests of large and well-funded special interests – which makes it hard to take on the big issues like tax policy, education and infrastructure that are holding us back. This process has also resulted in a highly complex and bureaucratic business environment that hampers and can even derail small to medium sized firms seeking to expand abroad. Breaking out of this cycle won’t be easy, but is possible with a broad based and passionate coalition. This coalition must bring together the business sector, the public sector and mainstream citizens and forge a comprehensive, strategic approach to U.S. trade policy. Second, opening up global markets isn’t something that can be done unilaterally and often requires years of negotiation. Here patience paired with resolve is essential – as is leading by example. Right now our politicized approach to global trade isn’t giving us the high ground and moral authority to drive further reform and liberalization. Too often we come across as a house divided against itself which undermines our credibility abroad and makes securing investment in the U.S. a tougher sell.

Follow the link images below for a variety of perspectives on Global Trade.

What are the core
issues & challenges?

A multifaceted approach to reform

  • Economic Foundations
  • Attract Global Players
  • Small & Medium Firms
  • Open Global Markets
  • Level Playing Field
  • The same core capabilities and resources that foster economic efficiency and effectiveness at home will serve us competing around the world. These include good schools, solid infrastructure and skilled workers.
  • While the items in #1 above are the cornerstones, we can also make sure that America is more competitive vis-a-vis tax policy, capital access and streamlined regulation
  • These dynamic players aren’t looking for a hand out, but could really benefit from a hand up now and then. Today they’re facing the same complexities large companies experience, but without the resources to navigate them. These smaller firms are our engines for innovation and job creation and we need to streamline their access to global markets.
  • Lots of progress has been made in lowering barriers to trade around the world, but much more needs to be done. Major treaties are being pursued right now with the European Union and the 12 Asian Trading Partners covered by the Trans-Pacific Partnership. They constitute major opportunities, but must be realized in a way that’s an authentic win for workers and corporations. If they are – they should prove springboards to further progress.
  • Reaching agreements is one thing – making sure they are honored in letter and spirit is quite another. Progress has been made, but some of our trading partners continue to game the system and thereby hurt American businesses and workers. On issues ranging from currency manipulation to intellectual property protection to industry subsidies we need to stand our ground more firmly.

How can you help move
the nation forward?

A call to every American

Without your help and the support of citizens like you we’ll never move far enough or fast enough on generic things. What can you do today to help?

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