Just a reminder: elections this year don’t occur only for U.S. president. A plethora of other important elections are taking place nationwide for federal, state and local offices. And, at every level, any politician worth his or her salt better have an economic plan to help all the people.
In late February, the Brookings Institution — the Washington think tank respected by both conservatives and liberals — issued such a general plan for most of the population: “Remaking Economic Development – The Markets and Civics of Continuous Growth and Prosperity”. Its author: Amy Liu, VP and Director of Brookings’ Metropolitan Policy Program.
Liu’s plan is designed for U.S. cities and metro areas, where most people live and most jobs are created. As the plan states:
The goal: To put a regional economy on a trajectory of higher growth (growth) that increases the productivity of firms and workers (prosperity) and raises standards of living for all (inclusion), thus achieving deep prosperity—growth that is robust, shared, and enduring.
She lists five “action principles”: (1) set the right goals; (2) grow from within; (3) boost trade; (4) invest in people and skills; (5) connect place, i.e. local communities and regional opportunities.
We’re specifically interested in Number 4: invest in people and skills. This means more than just appropriating money. It also means creating an environment for young people to be educated in the pursuit of happiness: growing creatively, leading them to choose companions, partners and work that enlarge their given skills and therefore benefit the community.
In short, every human needs to keep pursuing education and growth throughout life, whether college, trade schools or self-education. [pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Every human needs to keep pursuing education and growth[/pullquote] This author welcomes a book by Dr. Tony Armstrong: Educating Angels: Teaching for the Pursuit of Happiness. It’s published by Parkhurst Brothers, Publishers, where I worked as editor a few years earlier. Dr. Armstrong’s book offers a guide to respecting students and guiding them to discover happy, productive lives.
We’re also concerned about how newly elected officials and community leaders might apply specifics to a portion of Brookings’ general goal: raising the “standards of living for all (inclusion)”. Here are just three specific areas where voters should challenge candidates to work and raise standards of living:
- Removing from our young the burden of college loan debt, now at over $1 trillion. It’s affecting the young’s ability to invest in homes and new families, and causing a destructive wear on psyches.
- Turning corporate greed away from buybacks of stock to raising employee incomes and benefits, which have been stagnant or fallen in recent decades. And creating full-time jobs which lead to increased production and company growth, rather than part-time jobs which filter any profit to executives and stockholders, and not sharing it with employees.
- Repairing and sustaining infrastructure, thus avoiding major tragic problems like the lead-poisoning of water in Flint, Michigan and other areas.
These are only three of America’s many problems, major ones we outlined following the November 2014 elections in our column, “As U.S. Austerity Deepens, Prepare for Revolution”. As you read it, consider which issues directly affect you, your family and others in your community.
We need candidates and public officials who value the worth of the individual and community over the worth of the corporation and career. And we need an electorate who demands it of their elected officials.
Consider these points as you get organized, educated and active yourselves – positively affecting the outcome of this year’s November elections. Oh, and vote!