America must once again start at home. For a limited time, it will be able to transition its economy to generate sustainable prosperity from deep pools of demand and underutilized capital. Once America commits, with its credibility on the mend and its economy as a wind at its back, it must then lead a new global partnership of major economies to adapt the international order. The halting logic of unwieldy climate negotiations will be supplanted by harnessing the greater force of economic self-interest: The United States will have to work with its partners to forge, implement, and verify a durable transition framework among the world's major economies.
Throughout the transition, America will have to build and strengthen capable partners to provide basic security assurances. Political boundaries will only change through a transparent process of self-determination; global commons will remain open and secure; and sovereignty will be limited only by the responsibility to protect.
This isn't going to be easy. To achieve all this, Washington must redesign its institutions of governance, consistent with the U.S. Constitution, to ensure that government has the appropriate authorities and capabilities, and no more, to implement this strategy at home and abroad.
U.S. Economic Policy
The primary tools of traditional macroeconomic management -- managing the money supply on the one hand and budgetary stimulus or austerity on the other -- are no longer sufficient to generate economic growth.
Central bankers in the United States and abroad are calling for politicians to step up with broader economic policy. Economists from Bernanke to New York Times columnist Paul Krugman agree that the predominant factor driving long-term unemployment is weakness in aggregate demand. Fortunately, due to large-scale demographic shifts over the past 20 years, the United States is sitting astride three vast pools of it. It is now imperative to design a new economic engine to exploit this demand while restoring America's fiscal health.
Walkable communities: The first pool of demand is homegrown. American tastes have changed from the splendid isolation of the suburbs to what advocates are calling the "five-minute lifestyle" -- work, school, transit, doctors, dining, playgrounds, entertainment all within a five-minute walk of the front door. From 2014 to 2029, baby boomers and their children, the millennial generation, will converge in the housing marketplace -- seeking smaller homes in walkable, service-rich, transit-oriented communities. Already, 56 percent of Americans seek this lifestyle in their next housing purchase. That's roughly three times the demand for such housing after World War II.
The motivations are common across the country. Boomers are downsizing and working longer, and they fear losing their keys in the car-dependent suburbs. Millennials were raised in the isolated suburbs of the 1980s and 1990s, and 77 percent never want to go back. Prices have already flipped, with exurban property values dropping while those in walkable neighborhoods are spiking. Yet legacy federal policies -- from transportation funding to housing subsidies -- remain geared toward the Cold War imperative of population dispersion and exploitation of the housing shortage, and they are stifling that demand.
Regenerative agriculture: To meet rising population and income levels, the world needs to increase global food production by 60 percent by 2050, and 100 percent of that new total will need to be regenerative -- restoring our soils and cleaning our waterways in the process. For the American farmer, the increase in demand is already translating to record prices, but the heartland is held back from capturing the additional gain from regenerative methods -- up to three times the profits per acre and 30 percent higher yields during drought -- because of federal policy set in 1972.
It is time to restore America's heartland. Instead of depleting soils and polluting rivers, the country will adopt modern methods that will bring more land into cultivation, keep families on the land, and build regional food systems that keep more money circulating in local economies.