Trump’s plan for more and better jobs
More school choice, less federal regulation and competitive business taxes offer a brighter future
Good jobs are still too scarce, and the country needs President Trump’s trade, budget and tax reforms to restore opportunity, accountability and the American dream. The recent economic recovery has produced about 185,000 jobs a month. That’s substantially less than during the Reagan and Clinton expansions, and not enough to put most Americans into good paying positions. Headline unemployment may be 4.4 percent, but millions are standing on the sidelines. President Obama broadened access to Medicaid and food stamps to include childless adults who are neither in school nor seeking employment. Among working age adults, abuses appear widespread in the Social Security disability system.
Overall, we have gone from assisting the jobless to paying for unemployment.
Two percent growth is not enough to turn things around, but the revolution in robotics and artificial intelligence offers opportunities to propel productivity and living standards.
The next generation of Boeing jetliners will be assembled with more robots — moving and fixing components into place. What people are left will be greatly assisted, for example, by Google Glass and software that aid in assembling the complex wiring and programming of cockpits.
Lyft and Uber bring cars to patrons but eliminate the dispatchers. They handle millions of passenger requests with computers and sophisticated software, and can pay drivers a significantly larger share of passenger fares than do traditional limousine services.
These raise fears of job losses, but labor saving innovations are as old as the crossbow and the wheel. Historically, economies responded by moving workers into new jobs and emerging industries — as agriculture mechanized, workers moved to manufacturing and then to services. As breakthroughs in productivity translated into higher incomes, those boosted demand for the products of farms, factories and service providers making these transitions more manageable.
New technologies are creating large new employers — for example, Alphabet, Facebook and Tesla. However, the economy is not creating enough new jobs, not because we are investing too much in robots and artificial intelligence, but because America is not investing enough in them.
We are losing out to competitors like Germany and China, which feature more business friendly regulatory and tax regimes, and are putting up new facilities and modernizing more quickly. Too often, American companies that come up with great products do a lot of production and design work offshore. Foreign government policies compel businesses to locate assembly, source components or establish R&D in their markets to gain access for their products. The challenges General Motors and Apple face in China are notable examples.
Still, many of our problems are home grown.
Too many Americans simply don’t qualify for the skilled positions that pay high wages in a globalized, technologically-advanced economy. U.S. manufacturers can’t find enough skilled workers to meet demand, and high schools are not adequately preparing students for post-secondary technical programs or college work. Enter the Trump economic program.
Experience with work requirements for welfare and other social assistance programs indicates that cutting federal spending by imposing similar requirements for food stamps, Medicaid and other programs would encourage more folks to seek training and employment and reduce poverty.
The president’s budget seeks to give parents more opportunities to move children from failing to more successful public schools and greater access to vouchers for charters schools. Cutting funding for the politically correct bureaucrats at the Department of Education who meddle in local school and college affairs is a classic example of less equals more. Renegotiating international trade agreements — as Commerce Secretary Ross and Special Trade Representative Lighthizer have been tasked to do — are critical steps for opening foreign markets to American companies that have been forced to transfer jobs and technology instead of exporting. Rolling back unnecessary regulations and corporate tax reform to lower rates to levels competitive with other industrialized countries—and applying those rates to the majority of American businesses that are organized as limited liability corporations but pay tax through the personal income tax system—would favorably alter the financial calculations about whether to employ more workers in the United States or move activities offshore. We should be clear there is no silver bullet. Reforming entitlements, more school choice, less federal regulation and more competitive business taxes would work together to better ensure all Americans a brighter future.