A rising tide floats all boats is the concept behind the Republican leadership’s approach to improving our economy. What you have to ask yourself is, does this theory hold in practice? Is it a lack of economic potential that keeps the big blue cities and the urban poor from benefiting from the benefits of society in general? Or is it by Democrat design?
Reihan Salam & Rich Lowry authored an article titled “The Party of Work” for National Review Online (MARCH 17, 2014) in which they argued for a change in focus.
“As some party leaders are beginning to realize, Republicans have been overinvested in debt reduction as an agenda item and in entrepreneurship as an ideal”
This is a good observation and they go on to outline what they see as a solution that “Float all boats”
They should extol work and demand it; they should advance a broad job-creation agenda and narrowly tailored measures for the long-term unemployed; and they should fight every government disincentive to work.
A good enough definition of an attainable objective but as we know the devil is in the details.
The article goes on and refers to two
“Even in good economic times,” Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield of the Heritage Foundation write, “the average poor family with children has only 800 hours of total parental work per year — the equivalent of one adult working 16 hours per week. The math is fairly simple: Little work equals little income, which equals poverty.” In Expanding Work Programs for Poor Men, Lawrence M. Mead, a professor of politics at New York University, observes that the worklessness problem persisted even during the tight labor markets of the late 1990s. Worklessness contributes to poverty when we are at the peak of the business cycle as well as the trough.
So much for the theory that a rising tide floats all boats. Even when tight labor markets exist, the problems persisted. The question is why? Is it because the poor are shiftless and lazy because they do not have a bachelors degree and can’t become Electrical Engineers, or a Doctorate in math for Computer engineer? After all we keep spending more and more money per student and high school drop out rates and decreasing labor force participation shows that a large percentage of the population doesn’t get into and through college. Of course, the latest economic reality is that even for those that do graduate only about half find jobs. So what is their solution?
The authors make a couple of suggestions which I will summarize here.
- “Tax reform, and particularly cuts in taxes on business investment, has great potential as a spur to job creation”
- “on a smaller scale, Republicans should, of course, oppose anything that tends to reduce jobs or lock people out of the job market, from restrictions on carbon emissions to occupational-licensing requirements at the local level.”
- “targeted policies to address the labor-market challenges facing workers stuck at the bottom. One important step would be to reduce the minimum wage for long-term-unemployed workers.”
- “…allow for a work-friendly simplification of the way in which people are phased out of <subsidy>program”
- One of “two countervailing big proposals for a new version of welfare reform” One }restore the badly eroded federal work requirement in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and extend it to other means-tested programs} or “replacing today’s complex welter of low-income programs with a state-administered safety net for poor Americans who are not working and a direct federal wage subsidy for those who are”
Why this approach won’t work.
The obvious fact is some or all of these ideas were implemented during that “tight labor market of the 1990’s” that was referenced earlier. The tight labor market that proved the even in a tight labor market joblessness persists. But the real reason this won’t work is in this statement here “on a smaller scale, Republicans should, of course, oppose anything that tends to reduce jobs or lock people out of the job market, from restrictions on carbon emissions to occupational-licensing requirements at the local level.”
“Small Ball in a Big Way”.
The reason that the Democrats own the big blue cities is because Democrats have made it a large scale effort to eliminate any industry, jobs or opportunity that they don’t directly control or benefit from through regulation.
The only way to turn the economy around is to address the needs of those people willing to work, not willing to be an executive, or licensed professional. In other words, the people who use their minds, there backs and their skilled hands to build, shape, fashion, fabricate, assemble, distribute, deliver, maintain and install the resources, raw materials and finished goods America used to manufacture and services these industries required.
For that Republicans must be willing to go toe to toe with Democrats in the big cities that will throw everything at them they can find. Democrats will fight any effort to undermine there control, think Bull Conner, with more sophisticated methods. No individual can stand up alone against the Democrats response. We need allies in the big cities and they need lawyers, guns and money.
- Lawyers, because it is the laws, the regulations, the authority of the Democrats to regulate and control that is really being fought.
- If not guns at least support and protection, in the form of numbers, power, and if needed armed security assistance. We also need our own version of Al Sharpton, someone that can bring a crowd and influence political behavior.
- Money, because our allies in this battle are not who you would expect. Money to sustain the battle, and money for advertising, promotion and ground game to win the hearts and minds of the people the Democrats take for granted. And because the Democrats own the banks that do business in the cities, we need money to fund industrial investment.
Today we have the best chance of gutting the coalition that supports big blue city Democrats that we have had in my life time. The tide is changing. There are a lot of recent college graduates living in the communities in major cities looking for a change. Republicans can squander this opportunity for short term gains in the national legislature, or they can expose capitalize on the opportunity that Barrack Obama has given them by exposing the Democrats as liars and charlatans of the oppressive and segregationist DixieCrats types and defeat them in detail.
What we gain by focusing on restoring the industrial might of our big cities.
- Reducing Democrat political power. Yes, we are talking about changing the course of big blue cities. Restoring industry to these centers of industrial history. Who benefits, immigrants mostly, and the working class poor. And of course more jobs means more opportunities for union employees, though not guaranteed opportunities. Three groups that have more in common with Republican values then Democrat oppression. There are so many polls that indicate that large numbers of minorities, and private sector union workers support Republican ideals.
- Reduce or eliminate structural joblessness. Restoring America’s industrial base puts the “high school and some college” group on the path to prosperity. Turning them from a drain on our resources into a driver of our economic growth.
- Restoring big industry that drove our economy for centuries. The industrial centers were the heart of industrialized America, but the benefits were felt through out the country. The raw materials and machine tools, parts and services including transportation, provided good jobs including private sector union jobs throughout all regions.
- Collateral Benefits means more jobs and the return of more industrial The regulatory barriers that must be lifted to achieve this change of direction will bring additional industry to our country. We have cheap energy, plentiful labor (I don’t count computer scientists), money, markets and transportation. The only reason we don’t have more industry is we have made it unwanted. It is unwanted, by Democrats. There are also benefits to being industrial independent, and a producer, not just a consumer of goods.
- The right thing to do. I will defer to Reihan Salam & Rich Lowry to summarize one point we agree on 100%
The party could do worse than to take inspiration from this statement of Lincoln’s in 1861: “Whatever is calculated to advance the condition of the honest, struggling laboring man, so far as my judgment will enable me to judge of a correct thing, I am for that thing.” He was on the way to Washington, to take leadership of a party of work.
Federalist, Conservative and Republican, in that order.