The New Center produces innovative, center-leaning ideas and analyses for topics ranging from health care and governance to economy and defense. We strive to find balanced solutions to America's toughest issues and bring nonpartisanship back to policy.
Why Buy American Usually Doesn’t Buy Us Much
Biden has laid out his “Build Back Better” economic agenda, which calls for massive domestic investment and a goal of reviving American manufacturing jobs, 5 million of which have been lost since 2000. Part of this agenda includes implementing new rules to encourage “Buy American” as well as mandates to create products that are “Made in the USA.” But do these policies actually deliver on their promises to spur the U.S. economy and job market?
Bring Labor Laws into the 21st Century
Nontraditional workers are less financially secure, have less health insurance, and are less prepared to retire compared to their traditionally-employed counterparts. But many of the solutions that policymakers in Washington have proposed either don’t solve these problems or would eliminate the flexibility and independence that many gig workers enjoy.
Can the New Congress Find Common Ground on Gun Safety?
If a group of Democratic and Republican members were interested in passing legislation in the 2021-2022 Congress that could meaningfully enhance gun safety in America, they should look to ideas that would actually reduce gun violence and could realistically become law.
Is the Post Office Really Broken? If So, How Do We Fix It?
The typically staid and boring business of moving envelopes across the country has become a source of heated national debate. Is the U.S. Postal Service fundamentally broken and bankrupt as some of its most strident critics in Congress suggest? Or would it be fine if Congress just made a few fixes to bad policies they passed over the years?
Beyond Social Security & Toward Real Retirement Security
Here’s the not-so-secret problem that will face the next president: Even if Social Security’s finances are shored up, the program still will not be equipped to meet anything close to the retirement needs of the 10,000 elderly Americans who will be retiring in the coming years. The scale of America’s gathering retirement challenge demands some creative thinking—and fast—on how to create a new framework for retirement security in the 21st century.
The Biggest Risk of Mail-In Voting? Not Fraud, But Logistical Chaos
In the 2020 election, there are legitimate concerns that state election systems might not be equipped to handle the deluge of absentee ballots. This issue brief examines the various challenges state election boards will face this year and discusses one way the federal government could ease these burdens and ensure the American people have confidence in the integrity of our election.
Why is Everyone in College Sports Getting Rich Except the Athletes?
Americans have been aware of the stark inequity between the people who run college sports and the kids who play them for years. But now, amid a pandemic that’s potentially putting college athletes at risk and renewed attention to broader issues of social justice, the NCAA’s stance that there should be a “clear line of demarcation between college athletics and professional sports” is looking increasingly untenable.
American Foreign Aid Policy in the Age of COVID-19
This New Center issue brief provides a brief primer on U.S. foreign aid policy in the context of COVID-19, what the public thinks of it, and shows why foreign aid shouldn’t be viewed as a luxury cost to shed, but an essential investment to keep America safe.
How Does the U.S. Beat China in the 21st Century Tech Race?
While the U.S. outpaced the world in previous tech innovations–from the creation of the first computers and the Internet–our future leadership in the Fourth Industrial Revolution is an open question. China has put the full weight of its government and state-owned banks behind an effort to build up “national champions” in key sectors, and the U.S. government has only started to fashion a coherent long-term response.
Nuclear Power: Could a New Atomic Age Solve Climate Change?
It’s time for an old energy innovation to become new again in America. An expansion of next-generation nuclear power may provide the best and most realistic path for America to protect our environment, expand our use of low-carbon energy, and sustain our economy in the years ahead.
Unaffordable Housing: Why Housing is So Expensive and What We Can Do About It
America has a housing problem that keeps getting worse. Too many working and middle-class Americans can’t afford a decent place to rent or buy. This policy paper explores the causes of the affordable housing crisis, obstacles in the way of solving it, and some short- and long-term solutions to promote new construction and make existing housing more affordable.
America’s 5G Moment of Truth
5G’s time has finally arrived, as it is becoming one of the most valuable tools in promoting American innovation and competitiveness in mobile technology. However, despite the growing importance of high-speed connectivity, the United States—which paced the world in developing so many other transformative technologies—is falling behind in the race to 5G.
Policing in America: Closing the Data Gap
Despite the attention on policing nationwide, we simply don’t have good enough data on how it is actually practiced in communities across the country. This issue brief identifies the specific areas in which more data collection and reporting could directly and indirectly improve policing—by holding police officers and departments accountable and allowing for objective policy analysis.
How Do We Sustain Historic Emissions Reductions Once the Lockdowns Lift?
What might an economically sustainable approach to emissions reduction look like? This New Center issue brief has some ideas on where to start, and explores how environmental and energy policy and politics are shifting during this historic pandemic.
Could Germany’s Kurzarbeit Come to America?
At least 20 million jobs have been lost since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, and millions more people are working reduced hours. Shouldn’t the historic government response from Washington buy us something better than the worst unemployment crisis since the 1930s, with millions of workers unsure when or if they’ll be able to go back to their old jobs?
The Next CARES Act: A Better, Faster Way to Deliver Aid
In this issue brief, The New Center explores what went wrong with the implementation of some of the current CARES Act programs to assist individuals and businesses, and what new programs could be considered in the next round of coronavirus relief legislation.
Centering on Coronavirus: Medical Supply Shortages
In this issue brief, The New Center outlines steps the federal government and states have taken to address supply shortages, and what America can and should do in the future to ensure access to critical medicines and supplies when we need them.
Centering on Coronavirus: The Expansion of Telehealth
In our June 18, 2020, installment of the Centering on Coronavirus issue series, The New Center looks deeper at recent regulatory changes to telehealth reimbursement policies, data privacy requirements, and cross-state licensing regimes that are revolutionizing health care delivery.
Centering on Coronavirus: Finding the Center on State and Local Aid
In this issue brief, published June 1, 2020, The New Center suggests the outlines of an urgent and common-sense bipartisan compromise that would keep states and localities afloat and keep frontline workers on the job now, while developing a more sustainable framework for state and local aid for future crises.
Centering on Coronavirus: The Digital Divide
Ensuring affordable broadband access for every household has never been more important for those working and learning from home. In this installment of the Centering on Coronavirus issue series, The New Center suggests closing the gap in internet connectivity among American households by combining short-term and immediate local solutions with long-term funding to improve affordability.
Centering on Coronavirus: Aiding Vulnerable Nonprofits
In our May 4, 2020 installment of the Centering on Coronavirus issue series, The New Center explores why the United States should let Americans deduct any charitable donations made between March 13 (the date of national emergency declaration) and July 15 on their 2019 tax return, instead of 2020.
Centering on Coronavirus: Diagnostic and Antibody Testing
In this issue brief, published April 27, 2020, The New Center explores how the United States got behind the testing curve and how we might still be able to correct our course and move toward a safe reopening of our economy.
Centering on Coronavirus: The Gig Economy
In our April 17, 2020 installment of the Centering on Coronavirus issue series, The New Center discusses the importance of the gig economy and the unique challenges of nontraditional workers in the fight against coronavirus.
Centering on Coronavirus: The Ventilator Shortage
In an issue brief published on April 10, 2020, The New Center discusses the importance of ventilators in the fight against coronavirus, what is causing their current shortage, and how governments and the private sector are responding to ensure as many people as possible have access to these life-saving devices.
Centering on Coronavirus: Voting During a Pandemic
“Voting During a Pandemic,” the second installment in The New Center’s “Centering on Coronavirus” policy series published on April 2, 2020, discusses the various implications of the coronavirus on our elections, how states have responded, and why a massive expansion of mail-in voting may be the only feasible way to conduct the November general election.
Centering on Coronavirus: Vaccine Development
Our first policy insight in the Centering on Coronavirus series, “Vaccine Development,” is focused on how the typical vaccine development process is being accelerated–technologically, bureaucratically, and financially–to meet this unprecedented challenge.
The Opioid Crisis
Since the 1990s, opioid deaths in America have quadrupled and opioid abuse has emerged as perhaps the country’s most serious public health crisis. Though recent efforts by legislators, doctors, and patients have striven to curb this epidemic, opioid-related overdoses still kill 130 Americans every day. We can, and should, be doing more.
Protecting America’s Public Lands
Today, federally protected land has grown to account for 640 million acres—or about 14% of the landmass of the entire country. And the love Americans have for public lands has grown with it. Yet America’s growing love for public lands isn’t reflected in how we treat them.
The Supreme Court: Depoliticizing the Judiciary
Citizens should be able to trust the court to provide equal justice under the law no matter who sits on the bench. Restoring trust in the Supreme Court requires structural changes to diminish the incentives for Congressional Democrats and Republicans to declare war with one another each time a vacancy occurs.
Increasing Voter Participation
The order of presidential primaries gives disproportionate influence to Iowa and New Hampshire. Many states still use outdated, vote-depressing ballot rules that should’ve gone decades ago. Here’s how to buck this trend, revamp voter turnout, and bring democracy back.
Economic Sanctions: 2019 Data and Trends
Economic sanctions have become a primary tool of national security and foreign policy for the Donald Trump administration, and are being used to a much greater extent than during the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. What has sanctions policy looked like in 2019, what is the purpose of sanctions, and are they achieving their intended goals? This New Center issue brief provides further insight.
Clearing the Path for New Parties
State laws discriminate against small parties and independents. Meanwhile, small parties struggle to capture votes when the public fears they’ll poach power from the major players. Politics doesn’t have to be this way. It’s time to break the two-party stranglehold with a careful review of the history books.
Letting the Parties Decide Who Represents Them
The current primary system has lost sight of the importance of the parties themselves in the nomination process, and it's time to bring it back. The answer to the question of saving American democracy might be to have a less directly democratic, more representative democratic leadership in our political parties.
Shaping the Market to Create a Clean Energy Future
This paper explores the economic forces and incentives that created our fossil-based economy, and how we can harness those same forces to unleash the potential of cleaner energy and climate change mitigation technologies.
The New American Dream: Alleviating the Student Debt Crisis
Higher education has never been more important for Americans looking to get a good job. Yet young people are pushing back many milestones of adulthood—like starting a family or buying a home—because they are buried under mountains of student debt.
Public Libraries for Bipartisanship
As political polarization hammers away at families, workplaces, and government, policymakers must think quickly and critically about ways to bring Americans back together. One solution lies in an oft-overlooked, time-honored American resource: U.S. public libraries.
Take on Big Tech: Protecting Privacy and Public Discourse
We've allowed private companies tremendous influence over our privacy and public discourse, but Washington and the tech industry have yet to settle on a sustainable or sensible framework for how to manage these concerns. This needs to change.
The New American Dream: Workforce Training Programs
By many measures, the U.S. economy is thriving. And yet, far too many American workers in far too many places are being left out and left behind due to underinvestment and poor performance from many workforce training programs that are funded.
Double Down on Federal R&D for Breakthrough Energy Technologies
Many breakthrough energy technologies have promise, but they are currently being held back by cost, scalability, and performance hurdles. Significant new federal R&D funding in these areas could accelerate the timeframe for innovators to clear these hurdles.
Infrastructure: A Tangle of Red Tape
Many of our bridges are 50-100 years old and our outdated facilities are polluting air and water. We can and must do better. America's decaying infrastructure is costing jobs, it is costing lives, and it is long past due for an overhaul.
Take on Big Tech: Promoting Competition
In the absence of serious anti-competitive scrutiny, big tech companies achieved total dominance of their respective markets and we're starting to see the consequences. It's time to re-evaluate American antitrust regulation for the information age.
Closing the Doctor Gap
The United States faces a significant provider shortage. While 2020 presidential contenders have already proposed several ideas for expanding health care access, they haven't discussed how the U.S. can ensure it has enough providers to deliver that care.
Big Tech: Public Discourse and Privacy
The vast reach of America's leading technology companies has given them tremendous influence over our public discourse and privacy, and it's time for Washington and the tech industry to settle on a sustainable and sensible framework for how to manage these concerns.
The Immigration Debate: The Poison Infecting Our Politics
What the American people want—and what Washington refuses to give them—is an immigration system that makes sense for the times we live in, provides security, and strengthens our country. It's time for Washington to fix the system and to drain the poison from our politics with an immigration deal forged in the center.