How to Revive the Economy, Op-ed

The opening quote in Ron Kitchen’s book Community Capitalism is “The best social program in the world is a well-paying job with health care benefits and a retirement program (Ewing Kauffman).” struck me hard in light of the constant negative or trivial din in the media.

The top story almost every night on the news since 2007, wow 5 years now, is the Great Recession. I find it sickening that few politicians and leaders in the private sector are voicing good ways to revive the economy. Have you heard many creative ideas? Have you read or even heard of any great books about this?  Where is all of the intellectual capital our country has in providing leadership?

Part of the problem is the media, they only like to report bad news, stories about celebrities, what the presidential candidate said yesterday (picking apart every sentence with a panel of experts – how boring) and sports. We’ve heard enough about the Queen’s Diamond celebration, John Travolta, Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman, or the sport that you follow. We know the jobs report isn’t good, ObamaCare is going to cost trillions, the world economy is stagnating and other bad economic news, in fact we are fed daily dosages of this negative news. This creates an aura of fear that will actually retard the recovery, how you might ask?, just wait…

Actually the US economy isn’t as bad as it may seem on the nightly news. A lot more people are back to work now than in the last few years. The stock market is recovering, although with bumps. Interest rates to borrow are the lowest in over 50 years. The Dollar is stronger than many foreign currencies. Fewer houses are going into foreclosure. Is there a lot of suffering out there still, yes.  Still pain, but reason for hope, not fear.

The solution isn’t political (although that would help, and I will get to that). The solution is leadership. Leadership in business, academia and the pulpit. Lastly leadership from the media. What do the leaders need to talk about? The answer is capitalism, entrepreneurship, and hard work. Taking risks on starting new businesses, learning new things, taking on new jobs to pay off debt so that you are financially free to consider starting a new business. Pushing through fear and taking risks.

Is the economy going to take time to recover, yes. But the answer isn’t tax policy (although tax incentives would help new and existing business, and a more fair and less complicated tax system would be nice). The answer isn’t more entitlement programs, although a lot of people really need them, but we have to careful putting too many people into a dependence relationship on government, since it only creates long-term adult children living in the spare bedroom. Yes health care costs and availability needs to be better, but can be fixed easily through insurance pools, greater efficiency (simplification) and limits on law suits. The answer isn’t more regulations, although it might be good to have better oversight of Wall Street to prevent the next debacle.

I am more hopeful than ever, the future landscape is bright for our country. This recession is shaking things up, and creating space and opportunity for a new wave of business start-ups. These will create many new jobs, that have the potential to lead the world to a new era of prosperity. Pain causes fear, but for some, it breaks them free from where they were headed, into new areas of personal development. In the coming decade I expect to see ground breaking innovations that will come out of this, that we can barely imagine now.

The answer to reviving the economy is focusing on job and business creation, and education. More bi-partisan politics and government spending in those areas, business and job creation through tax incentives both for businesses and venture capitalists, and the media focus more on great business and community revival like featured in “Community Capitalism.”

There are surely more ideas on how to revive our economy, what ideas do you have?