Most Americans cannot help but be affected by the rapid economic growth in other economies around the world, particularly in India, Eastern Europe, and China. The fact that people around the globe may well be on their way toward improved living standards is encouraging, but it is also a clear reminder of increased economic growth and wealth creation by potential or actual competitors in the world market. Here at home, many Americans are rightfully concerned that greater participation in the global marketplace means that American workers and businesses will face more intense pressure and competition and potentially less economic opportunity if they are not successful.
Economic growth is driven by entrepreneurship and investment. While America has proven that it excels at both in the past, they are also deeply affected by decisions at every level of government. Excessive regulation, taxation, and deficit spending hurt the ability of American businesses to prosper.
This is evidenced by the United States’ 7.7% unemployment rate. High unemployment among young people is particularly troubling because these same people who are not in the workforce are not gaining skills or applying the knowledge they acquired through their education and professional training. The consequences of having so many young people disengaged from the workforce will undoubtedly last for years to come.
If we want America to keep its competitive edge, we must empower and incentivize businesses and the private sector. We must get rid of burdensome regulations that hurt businesses and their ability to expand, innovate, and create jobs. Federal spending needs to be reduced to restore confidence in American entrepreneurship, and taxes—on businesses as well as individuals—need to be cut in order to ensure economic prosperity.
By doing these things, we can ensure that more jobs will stay in America instead of being shipped overseas, which too often seem to be more attractive as places for businesses to set up shop. In the absence of American ingenuity, ongoing production, and products, our competitors will simply produce more products and services to answer the demands of markets and customers throughout the world—and remember: when this commerce and the resulting profits do not go to American interests and to grow our economy, it is American workers and businesses that suffer the consequences.
KEY QUESTIONS TO ASK — AMERICAN COMPETITIVENESS POLICY:
Here are some fundamental questions about American competitiveness to keep in mind as you read news articles, blogs, and Facebook posts, listen to speeches, or watch a commentator on television. These are also important questions to ask at an event or to pose to elected officials as they zero in on the core of an issue and whether or not what is being talked about or proposed will result in more economic opportunity and individual freedom for Americans.
Does what is being talked about or proposed:
- Free job creators and potential employers to be innovative and create jobs that meet their needs and the individual needs and interests of employees? Or does it just make it more difficult through government regulation and taxes?
- Make it easier for businesses to hire new employees here in America? Or does it force them to seek out cheaper labor costs and create jobs overseas?
- Promote free trade and the ability of businesses and individuals to engage openly in the marketplace? Or does it restrict free trade and deprive us of its economic benefits?
- Make it easier for employers to keep jobs here in the United States?
RELATED POSTS ON FACEBOOK AT “BEING AMERICAN” – AMERICAN COMPETITIVENESS POLICY:
Our “Being American” Facebook page has over a million fans! Take a minute to check out what we have posted on American competitiveness and read what fans from around the country—and even the world—think about the issue. If you would like to join the conversation but have not done so yet, do so now by becoming a fan of “Being American.”
America has lost 1.1 million jobs that existed in 2009, according to a report from Investor’s Business Daily. In just the last month, 150,000 more Americans left the workforce due largely to the lack of jobs, with July marking the 42nd consecutive month with unemployment above 8%, the longest stretch that unemployment has been that high since the Great Depression. LIKE this if you concerned that millions of Americans do not have job opportunities in this tough economy. (August 14, 2012)
About 90% of Americans support “Buy America” preferences, according to a survey commissioned by the Alliance for American Manufacturing and the United Steelworkers. An overwhelming majority of the respondents said that when buying products with our tax dollars, the US government should give preference to goods that were made in America. What do you think? Do you support “Buy America” initiatives? (July 23, 2012)
The average Canadian household is $40,000 richer than the average American household for the first time in recent history, according to a report from Toronto’s Globe and Mail. Stephen Marche, from Bloomberg, credits Canada’s more cautious, fiscally conservative government system with helping to increase Canada’s wealth. LIKE this if you think that President Obama and Congress need to reduce government spending and lower taxes in order to turn America’s economy around. (July 19, 2012)
President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus bill gave out millions of dollars to companies that ended up supporting and outsourcing jobs to other countries. Several companies purchased solar panels and other technology from China, rather than America, while a Texas wind-farm purchased Japanese wind turbines. Fisker, a Finnish car company, got a $500 million loan guarantee; however, all the jobs stayed in Finland. LIKE this if you think that American taxpayers’ money should not be used to support jobs in other countries. (July 18, 2012)
For the second time in two weeks, nuclear-capable Russian bombers were intercepted by American pilots in the Air Defense Zone near Alaska. The Russian bombers were conducting simulated attacks on “enemy” air defenses and strategic facilities. Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, a former Alaska commander for the North American Aerospace Defense Command, said that Russia appears to be testing the resolve of the Obama administration. Are you concerned that Russia is conducting military simulations so close to America? (July 11, 2012)
LINKS TO THINK TANK PAPERS AND OTHER DOCUMENTS:
Below are several links from a variety of perspectives on American competitiveness gathered from think tanks and/or official sources. While not exhaustive, they provide even more detail on the issue and the different perspectives in the debate about the next steps in addressing American competitiveness for the future. The Impact of Regulatory Costs on Small Firms
The annual cost of federal regulations in the United States increased to more than $1.75 trillion in 2008. Small businesses, which are defined as employing fewer than 20 employees, bear the largest burden of federal regulations – costing $10,585 per employee. This is 36% higher than the regulatory cost facing large firms (those employing 500 or more people). (Small Business Administration, September 2010) Read the entire article here.
Frontier Economics: Why Entrepreneurial Capitalism Is Needed Now More Than Ever
Predictions immediately following the collapse of the financial system were that the world would trend toward more regulation and oversight; the opposite has happened and will continue to happen because of the way the crisis unfolded. (Kauffman Foundation, April 2011) Read the entire article here.
Chinese Investment in the U.S.: $2 Trillion and Counting
China’s reported holdings of U.S. debt are lower than their actual holdings because China buys Treasury securities through other countries. The reported figure is about $900 billion, but the actual figure is almost certainly more than twice as high. (Heritage Foundation, March 2011) Read the entire article here.
Reining in America’s Regulatory Leviathan: America Gets a Second Chance
The American economy can thrive if regulations are repealed and people are able to start businesses, innovate, and hire more easily. A reduced government presence in the economy is the only effective way to stimulate economic activity. (Competitive Enterprise Institute, January 2011) Read the entire article here.