Lee Hamilton served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years. He is currently a member of PSA’s Advisory Board and is the director of the Center on Congress at Indiana University. This article was originally published on Glen Rose Current.
The poisonous power of money in politics
Many trends in American politics and government today make me worry about the health of our representative democracy. These include the decline of Congress as a powerful, coequal branch of government, the accumulation of power in the presidency and the impact of money on the overall political process.
Tara Sonenshine advises World Learning and is currently a Distinguished Fellow at George Washington University. She served as a member of PSA’s Board of Directors and as former undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs.. The article was co-written by Patrice Hirsch Feinstein. The article was originally posted in Newsday.
To reach the top, girls need financial literacy
Women, take note. You are 50 percent of the population, but in America’s wealthiest companies you have only 18 percent of the top executive jobs.
That’s one eye-opener from researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s The Wharton School of business and the IE Business School in Madrid, published recently in the Harvard Business Review. To make us feel better, the study underscores that in 1980, female representation was zero — so 18 percent is an improvement.
Erica Fein is currently working with Women’s Action for New Directions as a nuclear weapons policy officer. She is an alumnus of PSA’s Congressional Partnership Program. This piece originally appeared on WAND’s tumblr page.
Still No Sanity in Nuclear Budgeting
The President’s budget release is a perfect time to think about our national priorities over the coming years: Do we want to invest in programs to keep America vibrant, well-educated, and healthy, or do we want a hollowed-out America where spending on expensive and unworkable weapons systems take precedent?
Lee Hamilton is co-chair of PSA’s Advisory Board and Director of the Center on Congress at Indiana University. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years. This article was originally posted in the Union-Bulletin.
Column: Hold the Congratulations for Congress
Now that Congress has its immense, $1.1 trillion bipartisan funding bill in hand, Capitol Hill is breathing easier. They ended the specter of a government shutdown for the moment, and funded the federal budget for most of the year. The media has been commending Congress for finally doing its job.
This praise works only in the context of recent history, however. The bill that congressional leaders produced is hardly a triumph. Instead, it’s another example of Congress’s stubborn determination to deal itself out of the budgeting process. Let me explain.
George Shultz is a PSA Advisory Board Member and a former secretary of labor, Treasury and state, and is a distinguished fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. This article was originally published in the Wall Street Journal.
The North American Global Powerhouse
Discussions of rising economies usually focus on Asia, Africa and the BRIC countries—Brazil, Russia, India and China. But what may well be the most important development of all is often overlooked: the arrival of North America as a global powerhouse. What’s going on?
The North American Free Trade Agreement was signed by U.S. President George H.W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Mexican President Carlos Salinas in 1992. It was ratified in the U.S. thanks to the leadership of President Bill Clinton in 1993. Since then, the integration of the three economies has proceeded at a sharp pace. Consider:
The three countries constitute around one-fourth of global GDP, and they have become each other’s largest trading partners. Particularly notable is the integration of trade. A 2010 NBER study shows that 24.7% of imports from Canada were U.S. value-added, and 39.8% of U.S. imports from Mexico were U.S. value-added. (By contrast, the U.S. value-added in imports from China was only 4.2%.) This phenomenon of tight integration of trade stands apart from other major trading blocks including the European Union or East Asian economies.
By Former Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) and Aaron Tucek. Aaron Tucek is a student at Emory University and Nunn serves as a PSA Advisory Board Member and co-chairman of The Concord Coalition. This Op-Ed originally appeared in The Telegraph.
A Generationally Balanced Deficit Agreement
The House and Senate have each passed their own budgets. The president has submitted a budget proposal of his own. And yet, as we close in on the mid-point of the year, no action has been taken to resolve the differences and agree on an overall fiscal plan for the nation. This would be an abdication of responsibility under any circumstances, but it is particularly so now.
The trajectory of our federal budget is not just fiscally irresponsible; it is immoral. Unless we fix our $17 trillion-and-growing national debt, young Americans stand to be the first generation in our history that will inherit a country worse than the one handed to its parents. Ours will be a country that can neither afford to keep the promises made in the past nor make crucial investments in the future. As a result, Millennials will face a future of even more debt, higher taxes, fewer jobs and a lower standard of living. But this dismal outlook does not have to be our destiny if lawmakers can summon the political courage necessary to put our fiscal house in order, and soon.
Leaders in Washington must take a generationally balanced-approach to reduce our federal deficit. That means tackling the true drivers of the debt, protecting high-value investments and asking for shared sacrifice from all Americans. Unfortunately, recent deficit reduction measures have largely failed on all three accounts.
Anthony Lake is the Executive Director of UNICEF and formerly on the PSA Advisory Board. This speech was originally given on July 8th in New York and then was published on the UNICEF website.
UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake’s remarks at an Inequalities Debate
NEW YORK, 8 July 2013 – “In February, to mark World Justice Day, the Secretary-General remarked that ‘we see far too many places where there are increasing opportunities for a few and only rising inequality for the many.’
These growing inequalities have many roots ― historical or geographic circumstance, long-held cultural prejudices and discrimination, ignorance of ― or inability to see ― a person’s true worth or talents.
But while the root causes are many, the damage is the same: women, children and families being left behind ― stepped over ― on the ladder of progress. Today, we live in a world where the top 20 per cent of the global population enjoys about 70 per cent of the total income and the bottom 20 per cent command a tiny 2 per cent. Two per cent.
We are hearing about some of these people today. An indigenous child denied nutrition out of prejudice and neglect. A girl forced to stay home to do chores while her brothers attend school. Families going without necessary vaccinations or health care for their children because they live in remote, hard-to-reach communities.
This is a global problem. A problem for all of us.
Marc Grossman is a Vice Chairman of The Cohen Group, a Henry Kissinger Senior fellow at Yale University and a former US Ambassador to Turkey. Tom Miller is a member of the PSA Board of Directors, President of the International Executive Service Corps, a former US Ambassador to Greece, and US Special Cyprus Coordinator. This article originally ran May 31, 2013, in FuelFix (A Houston Chronicle Publication).
Aphrodite’s possibility: Everyone wins in the eastern Mediterranean
With the violence spilling over the border into Turkey in the form of car bombs, the crisis in Syria surely topped the agenda when President Obama met Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week.
We hope they also took a few minutes to discuss the opportunity to make progress on one of the world’s most intractable problems – the division of Cyprus — by harnessing the discovery of a natural gas field about 100 miles south of Cyprus called Aphrodite. Getting that gas to market could revive the Cypriot economy, enhance Turkey’s relations with Israel and lay the foundations to end Cyprus’ division, a requirement for Turkey’s long-sought membership in the European Union.
Because of the collapse of Cyprus’s banking sector, experts estimate its GDP could shrink by 15% this year and another 15% in 2014. The EU’s first bailout plan initially created more controversy than confidence; it will take years for Cyprus’s GDP recover.
The Aphrodite field could change the trajectory of that recovery. There are press reports that Houston-based Noble Energy, the company that found Aphrodite in 2011, estimates that the field contains 142 billion to 227 billion cubic meters of gas worth $45 billion at current prices. (more…)
This is an excerpt from former Senator Richard Lugar’s April 9, 2013 Georgetown Public Policy Institute Whittington Lecture. He is a visiting professor at the institute and head of www.TheLugarCenter.org. This version was published in The Hill.
Budgets, Bipartisanship and Our National Security
With the release of his budget, President Obama must attempt reestablishing a closer working relationship with Congress that gives those members who are inclined toward bipartisanship some assurance that their sacrifices can lead to productive outcomes.
Such bipartisan cooperation – the suspension of the pursuit of political advantage in the interest of doing something necessary for our country — is necessary not only to achieve important national goals, but also to undergird national unity in the event of severe crises.
This cooperation depends both on congressional leaders willing to set aside partisan advantage and on administration officials who understand that the benefits of having the support of Congress is worth the effort and political capital it takes to secure that support.Both parties clearly recognize that enacting a long-term budget is important for our domestic welfare. Failing to construct a credible deficit reduction plan carries extreme risks, as markets and managers look for assurances that the United States is prepared to arrest the long-term fiscal spiral. Given the recent upheaval over Europe’s debt crises, further signs that the United States is incapable of addressing its fiscal situation could have dire consequences for the U.S. economy.
But we also should see budget deliberations as a national security priority, because our current economic posture leaves us highly vulnerable to both economic and national security disasters. The president should regard the conclusion of a comprehensive budget deal as central to his commander-in-chief duties. (more…)
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This article was written by Katherine Ehly and Matthew Hays, two Participants in PSA’s Congressional Partnership Program. All CPP articles are produced by bipartisan groups of Democrat and Republican Hill Staff who were challenged to develop opinion pieces that reach consensus on critical national security and foreign affairs issues.
The Need for US Leadership as China Continues to Exert its Influence in the South and East China Seas
In late 2011 the Obama Administration announced that it would increase America’s visibility in Asia. These efforts were described by the Administration as a “pivot” or “rebalancing” of U.S. military planning, foreign policy, and economic policy toward the region. Washington, however, has wrestled with how to engage the most prominent and powerful country in the region, China. With troops nearly gone from Iraq and drawing down in Afghanistan, this shift could not have come at a better time. As the region has grown more prosperous, the issue of sovereignty over the South and East China Seas has become intense with China exhibiting worrisome acts of aggression toward its neighboring countries. China, in attempting to control these waters, appears to be demonstrating its intent to exert dominance over the region.
All blog posts are independently produced by their authors and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of PSA. Across the Aisle serves as a bipartisan forum for productive discussion of national security and foreign affairs topics.