The Huffington Post
March 10, 2015
I recently came across several profiles in The Huffington Post’s series “All Work, No Pay: The False Promise of the American Economy.” I strongly disagree that the promise of America is false, but the moving profiles of Americans struggling to make it in today’s economy do tell an important story.
Throughout the analyses in this series, I noticed three themes highlighted with frequency: that the recovery isn’t reaching most people, that the economy is rigged in favor of a select few, and that the American dream is slipping away. I am writing to share my thoughts on these three themes, and to explain how I believe conservative reforms will create opportunity for all.
Regarding the first theme, it is true that the economic recovery is not reaching most Americans. Despite improvements in unemployment numbers, wage growth is stagnant, GDP growth is tepid at best, and economic production continues to lag — all with devastating effects for the middle class and those hoping to reach it.
Regarding the second theme, it is true that our economy is sometimes rigged in favor of a select few. This is the inevitable result of a big government that has extraordinary power over the private economy. When government grows, it benefits those who can afford lobbyists to influence Congress and who can pay lawyers and accountants to help navigate complex tax and regulatory codes.
Regarding the third theme, it is true that the American dream is slipping out of reach for too many Americans. Our leaders have failed to realize that our current economic crisis is not the result of a routine economic downturn but an ongoing structural change to the very nature of our economy. Globalization and technological progress are transforming every industry in America, yet the policies and institutions overseen by our federal government remain stuck in the 20th century.
The profiles in this series illustrate how the current approach has trapped our people. They are trapped by a higher-education system built when only a small percentage of Americans needed college degrees, they are trapped by economic policies designed before we had to compete with other countries for jobs, and they are trapped by anti-poverty programs designed in the 1960s that fail to equip the poor with the tools they need to rise.
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