The Council on Foreign Relations recently sponsored an independent task force on “U.S. Trade and Investment Policy.” That task force, chaired by Tom Daschle and Andrew Card, just released its report. They also appeared on C-span to present their findings.
The task force’s own overview says (here):
One of the most effective ways to create good new jobs and reverse the income decline of the past decade is for the United States to “become a thriving trading nation,” concludes a new high-level Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)-sponsored Independent Task Force report on U.S. Trade and Investment Policy.
The report calls for the Obama administration and Congress to “adopt a pro-America trade policy that brings to more Americans more of the benefits of global engagement, within the framework of a strengthened, rules-based trading system.”
The growth of global trade and investment has brought significant benefits to the United States and to the rest of the world. But U.S. leadership on international trade has waned in recent years because of deep domestic political divisions over trade policy that arise largely from the very real economic difficulties too many Americans face, acknowledges the Task Force…..
They did make recommendations:
The Task Force calls for a new trade and investment strategy based on seven pillars:
A National Investment Initiative that would coordinate investment policies to create more high-wage, high-productivity jobs in the United States
A greater push to promote U.S. exports through more competitive export financing and a more active U.S. government role in supporting American overseas sales
A comprehensive worker adjustment and retraining policy
A new deal with Congress to give the president a mandate to negotiate trade-opening agreements with an assurance of timely congressional action
Professor, and blogger, Daniel Drezner comments on the recommendations that (here) “So, to sum up, all of the the good, innovative policy proposals are politically impossible right now.”
I share the task force’s perspective that many of the US’s biggest economic opportunities are abroad. That’s where the dynamic growth markets are. So, like them, I’m for the US, and Oregon, becoming more of a “thriving trading nation.” But, the problem, that continues to leave me dumbfounded by our national leaders, such as those on this task force, is that changes needed in our educational system are overlooked. I’ve not read the full report but I do not think it calls for strengthening foreign language and study abroad programs. If so, the task force report is as much part of the problem as any kind of solution. How can we sell more goods and services abroad if our workforce cannot speak the languages of those foreign markets or has not spent any time in those markets.
The report should have called for every school district in America to "Make a year of study abroad an option for high school." Without spending a dime more, the US could have tens of thousand of high school student studying abroad in the dynamic and growing markets.
We are shooting ourselves in our feet. The task forces report just shot another foot.