People are tired of economic uncertainty. The lingering and anemic U.S. economy is putting an extraordinarily heavy burden of financial stress on individuals and the American family.
We are told that 88.4 million Americans are out of work. For many Americans, "making ends meet" has become a monthly or even weekly way of life. In fact, income is growing slower than inflation during this weak recovery period.
We are told that Washington borrows 40 cents on every $1 that is spent. Clearly, we are desperately in need of pro-growth economic measures to recover from these sluggish economic times. To some, the economy appears to be stuck in neutral. So called "central planning" is stymieing individual entrepreneurship which, in the past, made America a powerhouse of ingenuity.
We are told that today, over half of all American families live paycheck to paycheck. Unemployment is a major concern and those that do actually have jobs are finding that their wages are rising more slowly than are the prices they pay for goods and services. The financial condition of the average American family continues to decline.
For example, according to recent polls, "jobs and the economic condition" is the number one concern of American families and of individuals. To make ends meet, many Americans are going into even deeper debt. Hope is beginning to wane, financial stress is on the increase, and frustration seems to prevail.
Many recent college and high school graduates, senior citizens, and middle aged folks from urban, suburban, and rural households are troubled. These matters are unnerving all age groups.
It was John Locke who said: "What worries you, masters you." From scanning news stories and from conversations with multi-aged groups, the following comments surfaced to the top: "I am tired of putting most of the few dollars I have, in my vehicle's gas tank"; "I am tired of paying mortgage payments on our house which is worth less now, than when I bought it." And college students have noted, "We are about to graduate with a degree with no jobs out there, and we have huge college loans on which we need to start repaying."
And parents of growing families commented: "the children's shoes are getting too small, their trousers don't fit, hand me down clothes are getting worn out, there are dental, medical, tax bills, and heating and utility costs are on the increase."
Scores of distressed senior citizens commented: "We had hoped to have something in our savings to leave for family, but now, it is nearly all gone."
Many middle aged folks commented, "Food costs, taxes, insurance bills, medical bills, are all on the increase and there is no way to put anything into savings or put anything away for our youngsters' education." And, there is employment uncertainty of the security of the two or three part- time-jobs that many hold.
We are told by well respected economists and financial experts, that we must focus on a long-term strategy to get our economy moving again. By that, they mean a pro-jobs, a pro-growth economic strategy for our private sector economy. As they said, "there is government growth, but there is very little private sector growth in the recovery, According to these experts, by building the best possible business climate ... it will stimulate private investment that will stimulate entrepreneurship, ingenuity and growth.
This growth will stimulate job creation by businesses - both small and large establishments across our economy. We need to build a strong business climate for long term growth. Also, we are told, government needs to control spending and to live within our means. We need a comprehensive strategic policy for energy independence. All three of these strategies go into the right kind of long-term, comprehensive approach that this country needs desperately to get our economy growing again and to get people back to work in good paying, secure, and hope- filled jobs of employment.
Economists and business persons tell us that business need to know what is the long-term tax policy. "Right now" they said, "we have a tax policy that is unclear."
So how does one who, as a businessperson, go out and start making investments when you don't know what the tax policy is going to be down the road. We are told that, "We need tax reform." And we need a serious look at the incredible regulatory burden. How does one go out there and make an investment, get a business going, hire people if you don't know what the regulatory requirements are going to be? These are the comments from active business entrepreneurs.
We need to reduce these stifling burdens of questionable governmental intrusions on business, industry, and individuals. We need to pass trade agreements so that our companies can sell not just here in the United States, but so they can sell globally. If you look at the history of our country, that is how we have grown this economy. That is how we have become the most dynamic economic engine in the world. It's through entrepreneurship, that American ingenuity has flourished and individuals have found success. It was President John F. Kennedy who said it well: "Our problems are people-made, therefore they must be solved by people. And man can be a s big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings." Therein is the hope of the people of this and future generations! And that is how I see it From this perspective.
Dr. Robert L. Heichberger is professor emeritus at the State University of New York at Fredonia and distinguished professor at Capella University in Minneapolis. Send comments to: Rheich@aol.com