Such an agenda would be a means of conveying traditional commitments held by economic conservatives, such as free enterprise, individual liberty, individual responsibility, and economic opportunity, as well as specific concrete responses to real economic challenges. It should be a vehicle for providing solutions.
This does not mean reversing the Trump-era party focus on the working class. But that means connecting real policy with pro-worker rhetoric.
Movement to the Labor Party
These policies should include expanding federal income subsidies such as the earned income tax credit. This can reduce poverty and increase employment by increasing the economic benefits of working. Conservatives can introduce supply-side reforms in the commercial childcare sector to lower prices, expand access to services and make it easier for parents to work.
A well-designed worker training program that combines occupation-specific skills training, “soft skills” development, and wraparound services such as life skills training and job placement and retention services can generate substantial and long-term returns. figuring out how to expand these programs should be a top priority for pro-worker parties.
Longer school days and a longer school year will help counteract the devastating effects of pandemic learning losses due to closed classrooms and online education. Improving the skills of today’s students will enable tomorrow’s workers to be more productive and earn higher wages.
There is room in this agenda to drown out the populist and anti-elitist itch. Employer power in the labor market, non-compete clauses in employment contracts, and restrictions on professional licenses all favor incumbents and large companies over workers. These barriers to opportunity should be weakened.
To sustain economic growth, the United States needs more workers, including foreign-born workers. Reasonable people can disagree about the appropriate number of green cards and work visas that the United States should issue each year, but Trumpian nationalism demonizes immigrants, effectively turning them into the Statue of Liberty. It holds up a sign that says “immigrants do not need to apply”. This reduces America’s status as the destination of choice for many of the world’s most ambitious, risk-tolerant and hard-working people.
Conservatives should be optimistic, not afraid of the future.
Beyond worker-specific policies, conservatives should support policies that promote long-term prosperity. This should not focus on deficit-financed personal income tax cuts, but on revenue-neutral tax reforms that increase economic efficiency and reduce “shadow spending” like mortgage interest deductions. should guess. high-income households.
Expiring provisions in Trump’s 2017 tax law that encourage business investment should be extended to boost productivity, wages and economic growth. Conservatives need to support additional incentives for corporate R&D and federal support for basic research to foster innovation and new inventions that foster lasting prosperity.
Maintaining a fixation on industrial policy, protectionism, and manufacturing jobs will not produce the results needed for lasting political victory. More importantly, they do not lead to long-term prosperity or address the pressing problems facing workers and households.
Building walls are enough. Substantial rhetoric and symbolism is enough. Nostalgia for an imaginary past is enough. Conservatives need to embrace the importance of economic growth, not downplay it. They should be encouraged to participate in economic life rather than indulge in victimization narratives. Conservatives should be optimistic, not afraid of the future.
Michael R. Strain is Director of Economic Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute.